Serendipity and the Flying Trapeze

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FF picI’m standing on the platform, fly bar dangling in my right hand, ready—lista—to throw a layout to the catcher. A layout is an intermediate trick, not difficult, except that for me everything about trapeze is difficult. I jump off the board, swing out, set by pulling my legs up, my body forming an “L,” execute a straight-bodied somersault and, voila, find myself wrist to wrist, swinging with the catcher.

That is my favorite moment in flying trapeze—the moment when I finish a trick having no idea if my timing was right and find myself swinging with the catcher. Because I perform  my intermediate tricks with varying degrees of consistency and because I’m not confident in my ability to throw anything beyond simple bar tricks, catching my layout feels like equal parts skill (mainly on the part of the catcher) and serendipity.

After trapeze class yesterday, I experienced pure serendipity.

Trapeze day is a long day for me. I get up at 5 am, catch a 7:20 bus from Scranton to Manhattan—a 3+ hour ride—and then take the #7 train to Queens. I take 4 hours of flying trapeze classes and throw in an hour of warming up, stretching, pushups and ab work. By the time I board the 8 pm bus back to Scranton, I’m famished and exhausted. My routine is to plug my iPod into  noise canceling headphones, pull out a tupperware containing my dinner, stuff my face, and then zone out. If I’m really lucky, I fall asleep.

That, however, is not what happened last night. Serendipity intervened.

I heard my seat mate describe our interaction from his point of view on the radio this morning, while he was plugging me and my book, Flying Free: Life Lessons Learned on the Flying Trapeze. Like me, he travels to New York weekly for a class (his is marketing), and on the bus headed home, he said he looks for a seat next to the smallest person on the bus. Last night, that person was me. He was chatty—friendly, really nice—and I enjoyed talking with him. We talked about our travels, our hometown. When he asked why I was in New York and I told him, he was blown away. My story—middle-aged woman with a fear of heights becoming a flying trapeze aficionado—struck him as unique.

It turns out, my seat mate is a public relations specialist who is regularly featured in the media. He immediately told me he was going to mention me on the radio—FM 94.3, Northeast Pennsylvania—at 6:30 a.m. the next morning. Pure serendipity.

Listening to someone describe me and my work on the radio felt even better than catching a layout. Here’s a link to the segment: Lynn Braz, Flying Free. Fast forward to 25 minutes in to hear the 5-minute, highly amusing segment about me!

 

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