March 05, 2011

More Things On The List

Absent-mindedly listing some things to do before I finally croak. It's good to have plans but it's one thing to seek the impossible and another to try and see what is doable, even at some stretch of the imagination.

I tend to look at "bucket lists" as being kind of silly because they always usually include really ridiculous and impossible things that are a flight of fancy but are completely unattainable, if not downright unrealistic. The practice is dumb enough without putting things on it that end up being totally stupid.

Yet here I am doing it, tempered by the notion that a realistic list means more than a completely stupid one you're never going to do.

So here are 4 (more) things to add to the list - the rest of which I don't think I ever wrote down anyway, actually - of things to do before I circle the drain and get sucked into the vortex of who-knows-whatever the hell comes next if anything. These are at least somewhat realistic and therefore worth working on...

1. Gibralter

I'm fascinated by the south of Spain because the bullfights are still authentic there (don't hate on me for almost putting bullfight on this list, it's a Hemingway thing okay?) and this is where, I'm told, the idea of tapas came from. And of course that area would be the ultimate venue of choice but, barring that higher echelon of fantasy what really intrigues me is Gibraltar. This is because you have the weather and general nature of southern Spain but you have a preponderance of English being understood anywhere you go. And since I am lazy and American and therefore it is impossible for me to learn any language but the bastardized English we speak here in the states it seems like a good idea. Plus it is not often thought of as a destination, and yet looking at the photos of some of the narrow, winding streets and the overall geography of the odd little place, I'd at least like to try it out and see if my assumptions about this amalgam of Spanish/English thing is what I think it is. Anyway it's probably the hardest on this list but it is, at least, reasonable.

2. Great Grandchildren

There are, of course, a lot of factors involved in this one, but I'm part way there already, sort of. It just has to take some time to get up to that capability. But the thing is I was born in the early 1950's. This means that I knew people who were born in the 19th century and already know people who were born in this, the 21st century. So it's neat to remember the faces of people who were alive when there was a Kaiser and a Czar of Russia, match them up with the faces of people who were around when we landed on the Moon, and look upon the faces of people who never knew, and will never know, a time when there wasn't such a thing as a cell phone or a computer, both of which will be second nature to them as is milk or air. And I just think that's kind of neat, because I know of people born in the 20th century who never met anyone from the 19th and nyah nyah.

3. Open Air Cockpit

A long-standing fantasy of mine - and one that manifested itself in the notion that in a past life I was a member of the Lafayette Escadrille (since debunked, to my way of thinking) has always centered (since I was a small boy) around the exotic aircraft of WWI. Meaning, more than anything else, flying in an open-air cockpit of a plane powered by propeller. Flying lessons being out of the question (that's not what I want) I have looked around for passenger flights and almost got hold of one. There was a service out of a small regional prop-job airport locally that gave such rides to Chicago and back but it went out of business the very summer I had the money set aside to do it. This is still possible and even likely but until I find the to get it done it's still on the list. Dammit.

4. Sibelius' 5th

To see a live performance of Sibelius' 5th Symphony, my all time most favorite symphonic (it was written in the 20th century and therefore technically not "classical music") work of all time. This is the only music I have ever heard in my life where my eyes will fill up with wet stuff and I'm not even drunk! I have the whole thing on my iPod but to see it live would sweep me away I know for a fact. And I even put my name on the mailing list of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to keep my eye peeled for a performance if ever they get around to it.

So you see the difference, I think, between possible bucket list shit and ridiculous bucket list shit. It's better to not stray too far from what is possible, I think.


flask said...

send them a note and tell them you want the 5th symphony.

major orchestras don't really take requests, but while they're thinking about what to program in future seasons, you might as well put the bug in their ear.

Mrs RW said...

I have experienced everything I would want to. Although travel to exotic locations is fun, getting there isn't (at least not for me).

A full life for me is the people, not the things, and having them is all that I need. I stopped wishing for the impractical or improbable a long time ago. It's made me a lot more satisfied with what I have.
I'm satisfied with the small, immediate things: playing with my granddaughter, talking on the phone with my daughters, listening to my stupid parakeet chirp.

But everyone isn't made the same way. Some people are driven to make their mark in some way. I only want to be remembered as someone who loved their family. That's it.

B.E. Earl said...

You know, until about 3 years ago I thought Gibralter (and specifically the Rock) was an island somewhere between Spain and Africa. In my head, I still like to think it's just a rock in the middle of the Strait.

SK Waller said...

I'd love to go to Spain. Maestro Salazar spent every summer there and often said he wanted to take me to see the Prado and the Alhambra. I never made it though, and now he's gone.

I've Google Earthed Gibralter and explored its streets and lanes. I think it would a charming place to spend a season.

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Anonymous said...

I'll do the open air cockpit thing with you. One of the things on MY bucket list is to fly a biplane. So....maybe one day. There are a ton of tours you can take as passenger though. I'll look for the link. Perhaps a gift idea.....

Brian said...

You can scratch #4 off your list in a few weeks if you make a trip down to Atlanta:

I haven't been to the ASO since I was in college (1999) but I'm sure they're still quite good. The end of March is lovely down there...things are starting to warm up and bloom, but the pollen won't have started yet.

Brian said...

BTW, you should put yourself on the mailing list for the Cleveland Symphony as well...relatively close and really in the same league as Chicago.

Dave2 said...

Ah, Spain! I keep going back because it is one of my favorite places on earth. No need to restrict yourself to Gibraltar though. I've been all over the place and have never had any language problems at all. Even in a few of the smaller cities, I've found most service-oriented businesses have at least one English-speaking person there.

That being said, Gibraltar is on my list too. The furthest south I've been is the Malaga region, where there's a massive bullfighting ring in the city. I could never bring myself to go, but it's there.

I've flown in a crop-duster open cockpit plane, goggles and all. Not the most pleasant experience, but there's nothing else like it! In an enclosed plane, it's easy to forget you're flying. In an open cockpit, that isn't an option... which is why it's worth the effort to find a place that'll let you check that one off your list.

sybil law said...

That's an awesome list.

Gino said...

i should probably make a list as well. not getting any younger, 50's around the corner, and its got to be better than rolling with the punches, which is all life seems to be throwing my way the past several years.