I have discovered one of the greatest truths in this world on the passage of time…
Boredom Stretches Time
People can find excitement in anything if they look hard enough and have an open mind.
Talk to an astronomer about the night sky and they could spend hours pointing out the miracles of the universe right before your eyes.
Stare out a window at any patch of scenery and the miracle of nature will offer excitement on many levels.
What can you do though when you have nothing but a thatched roof to stare at? I have a new respect for those in hospital beds around the world and people challenged with the same sort of circumstances.
I lay here barely able to move my limbs; my whole body feels like dead weight. I’ve been stuck with only my thoughts this last week and looking back on my situation it could be worse right? I could have died or well… stayed dead.
A few months ago; I was hanging with my buddy Stanley… well my only friend Stanley. After high school, he was the only person who I actually tried to stay in contact with. I wasn’t an antisocial kid mind you or anything; think average looking senior boy. I just preferred games growing up and being an only child didn’t help much. The people who I talked to at school were school acquaintances that’s all.
I was content to move through my life acknowledging people and interacting with them but not investing in any real friends. Senior year Stanley, who I talked through in passing like everybody else, approached me about joining the science club. Now I’m smart to the degree where I can read, listen to people talk, memorize terms, and take a test; which is basically high school, but knowing some science and loving science are two totally different things.
I, of course, politely declined after listening to his sales pitch. I thought that would be enough, unfortunately he started asking me what appeared to be harmless questions. What do you do after school? Who do you hang with? You have a job? Any sports? Damn, half way through I realized what he was getting at. I had no excuse for not staying the extra hour after school. By the end of lunch, I signed up and was told the next meeting was later today. That’s where my only real friendship started.
I attended as per my obligation; not that he would let me quit, I tried.
Science club wasn’t really that bad; sometimes they did minor experiments in the classroom but it was mostly groups of people who liked to talk about the different scientific fields they enjoyed. Astronomy, chemistry, botany, and other small groups of people talking about whatever interested them. Stanley’s thing was rocks, geology was his favorite hobby. His uncle lived in the hills of California next to an abandoned gold mine from the 1850’s and works as a specialty blacksmith; like a real blacksmith, forge and all making knifes and swords specially ordered by people.
Stanley would spend his best summers with his uncle learning about metals and panning for gold. Needless to say, blew my summer stories of owning Skyrim out of the water. I needed a group to hang with in the club and if Stanley made me join, I figured I'd make him pay for it. He took the challenge in stride.
Looking back, I can say I really enjoyed myself. Seeing his rock collection and learning a few things here and there about forging was really fun. After high school he was the first person I actually stayed in contact with. Even between our different work schedules we still managed to find time to chill.
Man… being immobilized and staring at the ceiling gets you thinking.
Years later when we were 23, he invited me to meet his uncle and stay up in the mountains for a week. We panned for gold, learned how to make steel, and even how to forge a knife. Stanley’s knife looked really cool after sharpening, but mine failed and cracked in half. His uncle was cool enough to help me turn it into a decent arrowhead for a necklace, not that I’d ever wear it. On the fifth day we took a trip to the old mine. Stanley said his uncle had explored it mostly already and even found a few small deposits of gold left over from the previous mining operation; not enough to start the operation up again but good enough for a treasure hunt. Armed with safety gear and a couple of pickaxes we started our search for some gold.
Seven long hours later, covered in dirt we managed to excavate a backpack full of rocks to crush back at Stanley’s uncles place. We were being hopeful to get maybe a half ounce of gold if we were lucky.
While listening to Stanley give me crap about my use of a pickaxe, I started to feel a little vertigo. I turned to Stanley and he looked like he just had one too many.
Suddenly the ground started to shake and we both paled. We knew...
We dropped our gear and sprinted for the exit as fast as we could go.
My heart was beating a mile a minute trying to keep myself up right. The shaking was making moving forward almost impossible.
Then while trying to get to the exit as quickly as possible, the shaking stopped.
We slowed and stopped to get ourselves reoriented now that the world stopped trembling. Filled with adrenaline, we couldn’t help but start laughing about our brush with death. We slowed to a jog but kept heading towards the exit, the smell of fresh air was already an enticing award after our ordeal. Coming to the mouth of the cave, I couldn’t help but look at the view of the rolling hills with a late day sun cresting the top. A few feet in front of me, Stanley was still laughing like a mad man.
The overwhelming feeling of being alive was amazing.
Right before I took my last step out of the cave, I heard the sound of wood cracking with the tunnel emitting an ominous groaning sound throughout the cave. Immediately I felt a few pebbles and rocks hit my helmet and before I even knew what I was doing I pushed Stanley away from the mine shaft with everything I had.
The overwhelming force crushed me instantly and the world went black as a whole side of the mountain fell on me.
After what felt like eternity of feeling crushed the pressure suddenly vanished and as air once again became available to me, I retched up a wad of bile in my throat, taking the largest breath I could ever remember, I screamed with all I had.
My senses felt muted and before I knew what was happening I could vaguely feel myself being wiped down with a rough wet towel and wrapped in an itchy blanket. I felt like Play-Doh and couldn’t move my body properly. My muscle control was all over the place and could barely flail inside the covering.
It sounded like people were talking around me but everything sounded muffled and wrong. I couldn’t understand anything anybody was saying. I tried to ask what was wrong with me only to produce another wailing screech. Immediately the feeling of being shuffled around caused me to panic that much more.
Distressed from my failure I was going to try demanding my situation again when I saw the text appear in front of my face:
(Initialization Completed) …
LV: 1 Experience: 0/100
Health: 80/80 Stamina: 33/33 Mana: 50/50
What the Hell!