What am I doing here?
— It was your New Year’s resolution — to overcome one of your fears and go paragliding. Now you have to see it through.
I knew you’d remind me.
— I’m your inner motivating voice. I want you to realize your dreams.
But why’d I pick paragliding?
— You’ve fantasized about it ever since 1997 when you and Arthur were lying side by side on Pompano Beach. You saw them soaring with their brilliant colors above you.
I thought about how it could be Arthur and me, floating above the world. Then I heard him snoring in the sand. He didn’t even accompany me down to West Virginia for my three-day paragliding adventure! Said he wanted to work on that sauna he’s been building for the last ten years. He’s perfectly satisfied with his life. Designing routers. Waiting for our daughter Eileen to give us some grandkids. A special night meaning dinner at the Olive Garden.
— You know there’s more. You want to be like your friend Tracy. You read her last Christmas letter about helicopter skiing in the Cariboo Mountains. You envy the way she lives her life to the fullest.
It’s true. Oh no! The instructor just announced that there’s only one person ahead of me. I’m not as brave as Tracy. I’m going home.
— And admit defeat? You’re forty-eight. Soon you’ll be a grandmother. Then a great-grandmother. Do you really want to look back at the age of ninety-six and regret you didn’t take a few chances?
You’re right. I can do this.
— That’s the spirit! I’m proud of you.
— Well, I’m not. This is the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever done.
Great, it’s my inner fearful voice. Get out of my head! You’re even more afraid of taking chances than I am.
— I’m only looking out for your well-being. What if you hit a wind shear and keep going up into the sky?
Good point. I knew I shouldn’t do this.
— You’ll do fine.
— No, you won’t. You stared at the instructor’s muscles more than you listened to his lessons. I bet you don’t even remember what he said about using the paraglider vario.
Listening to you two reminds me of something Tracy said. That the reason she likes to take physical chances is because of the adrenalin rush, which silences all the little voices in her head.
— Aw, c’mon, who needs adrenalin when you could be relaxing by the hotel pool? No one would ever know you didn’t actually paraglide.
Oh no, it’s my inner mellow voice! I’d never do anything if I listened to you.
— That’s right, follow my words instead. Chill out.
— Don’t be crazy.
— Kick back, baby.
Would you three stop arguing? I just heard the instructor say I’m up. What should I do?
— Soar like a bird!
— Say your prayers!
— Ditch this scene and have a margarita at a nearby bar.
* * *
Wow, Tracy was right. It’s amazingly beautiful up here. And quiet. It’s the first time in my life I’m not hearing those little voices.
What? Who are you? I don’t recognize this voice.
— I’m your innermost voice. You’ve never had a chance to hear me before because those other three voices chatter so loudly.
Well, what do you have to say? I’m really doing it.
— Big deal.
Polly Frost is a playwright whose humor has appeared in The Atlantic and The New Yorker. She can be found on the web at http://pollyfrost.com.