I Choose Not To Walk On the Wildside

I’ve rarely been wild in all of my life. It’s not so much that I think of myself as being above risky behavior. It’s that I don’t like the way such things turn out. Probably the craziest I have ever been was to get drunk a few times. I hated the way I felt the next morning. I really don’t like having headaches and feeling nauseated. I get migraines and I don’t need to chemically induce that horrid aching by putting so much alcohol in my body that I get the exact same symptoms. I’d rather enjoy a drink or two and then call it a day. Besides, I’m what is known as a cheap drunk. It does not take much for me to be dancing on the table and giggling uncontrollably. 

I suppose control is my middle name. I like to be in charge of what is happening to me as far as it possible. I’ve had my share of unexpected illnesses, accidents and tragedies. I don’t want to be guilty of bringing them on myself. I proceed through life with caution, a trait that I suppose began when I was still a child.

I wasn’t always that way. In fact, I used to puzzle my mother with my tendencies to push the envelope. Then my father died, a person who also liked to try absurdly dangerous things. My mother had all but predicted his untimely death in a car crash or some other accident because of how careless he was. He was an adventurer and believed in the idea of living life to the hilt. After he died I saw how difficult it was for my mother, and I swore to myself that I would not become another reason for her to worry. I became cautious to the extreme. Whenever I smelled trouble I went home. 

Besides, I always tended to be that person who gets caught doing bad things. I don’t know why I was so vulnerable to detection but it never failed that my improprieties would be revealed and I would have to face the consequences. Only one time did I get by with being disobedient and that was a close shave. 

The kids in my neighborhood loved to hang out in a big drainage area near the bayou that ran through my neighborhood. My mother was concerned that I might get hurt if I accompanied them, so she absolutely forbade me to ever go inside the huge tunnel that dumped run off from the streets into the a big sewer. It was not until I had been tempted multiple times that I finally gave in to my curiosity and went with my buddies to the forbidden place. 

I was having a great time and thinking how absurd my mother was to think that there was any danger in what I was doing when I slipped on an accumulation of algae and fell into the running water. I managed to right myself quickly, but my all white clothing was covered with green slime and I had scratched my shins as well. I was certain that I would be in deep trouble when I went home. Since running away was not an option in my mind, I had to eventually go to my house and face the music.

When I got there my mother was gone. She had left a note on the kitchen table letting me know that she was going to run some errands and then visit her sister for a bit. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. I Immediately shed the evidence of the dirty clothes and combined them with a load of towels that needed to be washed. I ran a cycle praying that no stains would persist and give away my infraction. Amazingly they came out snowy white. 

I was able to pretend that the scar on my shin was from falling from my bicycle onto the pavement. It pained me to lie to my mother, but in the world of kids sometimes it is what must be done. To atone for my sin I vowed to never again visit that foul drainage area. After all, it wasn’t even that much fun. I never told my mother what had happened and I feel certain that she never knew. 

I was not so lucky with other incidents and so I essentially learned that it was far better to live within the laws of moderating my behavior. By the time I was an independent adult I was beyond the temptations of excess and continued leading a reasoned life. I can honestly say that I have never once broken the law in any manner. I even pay taxes on income that I earn that is paid to me in cash. I don’t even speed, although I once received a ticket for going too fast that I still swear was bogus. 

I have approached the pandemic with my usual caution. I follow the suggestions from the medical community to the letter. I stayed home for many months, ordering groceries and supplies to be delivered to my home. I wore masks and became fully vaccinated. I’m looking forward to getting a booster in the near future. My rationale is the same as it was when I did not want to become a burden on my mother. I do all of these things to not only protect myself, but also to protect the people around me. I have immunocompromised people in my family. I have people with comorbidities that might affect their ability to overcome the virus. I care for people in their nineties. I have young nieces and nephews who are too young to be vaccinated. I see it as my duty to do everything possible to keep them safe. 

I have always believed that on the day my father died I advanced in age and maturity from eight years old to thirty-five. I became an old soul who rarely experienced the wildness of teenage years. I have never regretted being that way. I’ve enjoyed life no matter what the circumstances. I don’t feel the need to prove myself by being risky nor do I feel that my freedoms are under siege when I follow laws and recommendations. It’s who I am and I’m proud to say that being so has brought me a sense of feeling honorable. 

Perhaps some would see me as being arrogant or audacious or self-righteous, but I see my behavior as being always aware of how anything I do affects everyone else. I strive not to hurt anyone. It’s a good feeling to be that way. I choose not to walk on the wildside.

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