Sunday, February 17, 2008

To Almost Die Is To Live! My story at SF Pillow Fight 2008

This is my 3rd year of doing the pillow fight, and I never get tired of it... although this time I almost died!

I'm one to climb into the thick of things when an event happens; Time Square on New Year's Eve, Amsterdam for Queen's Day and down into the depths of Herman Plaza during the annual Valentine's Day Pillow Fight.

We all meet up at Herman Plaza shortly before 6 PM and strategize... where to begin, where to meet after, etc.

Five minutes until six and the tension mounts, with many poised with their weapon of choice, whether down, polly fill or memory foam. Some have costumes, others just a desire to bash the person standing next to them.

Many people come in groups or teams while others come alone, with the hopes of meeting that special someone, whether it be the Kmart special or the Ralph Lauren Summer Series.

Four minutes to six and we head towards the edge of the pillow pit... I, being of sound mind and body, gently move into the center of the pit, wondering what happened to the rest of the crew. I suddenly realize I am abandoned and alone, having to win my victory with my own two arms and a Cuddle Down pillow wrapped in a Ralph Lauren soft yellow King case.

One minute to six and I bow my head, not to pray, but to save the chance from a powerful left or right hook that could bring stars floating above my head.

Clang, clang, clang, it is 6 PM and without hesitation I swing with abandon, feeling the contact of soft feathers with hard head... boy that felt good. Bop, someone got me... I must return with a comparable response, so I swing in the direction whence it came, nothing.

My eyes are closed through this time, all of four minutes and suddenly, from gasps of laughter I suck up a feather and it blocks my wind pipe!

I try to quickly move outside the pillow pit but, as one would guess, I am pummeled and pounded by the army of softness. This would be funny if it wasn't me! So this is how I am going to die, at a pillow fight. I see the headlines, "Man Dies Amidst Feathers and Revelers". A make-shift memorial is set up at the plaza, piles of pillows and candles commemorating the first casualty of the San Francisco pillow fight. Will I be responsible for the end of this campy wonderment?

I move forward, still gasping for a breath of life, boff, hit again. I raise my arms to move soldiers out of the way, hoping the next step will result in a dislodged feather, also fearing another will follow its lead and enter my wind pipe. Will I become the pillow in which I swung only moments ago?

One more cough, one more chance to save my own life, it's not pretty or stylish gasping among the glowing lights, flinging pillows, and the sounds of human laughter, but death isn't pretty either. One more cough ought to dislodge this light and inconsequentially sized death tool. Feathers don't kill people, people kill people!

Finally, after another cough, I feel the soft edges of a feather pass my lips... is this what chicken foreplay feels like? Ahhh, beautiful, wonderful, gentle air fills my lungs and I can once again stand up straight and hold my pillow without shaking.

I slowly walk around the plaza, stopping on occasion to take in that elixir of life, air. Things begin to return to color, including my cheeks... feel the rush of my blood carrying oxygen to my brain... ahh.

Here are photos from friends who attended... you know, the one's who abandoned me!

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