Leap Day

Ah February 29th. Leap Day. The one not celebrated holiday that by all rights should be. After all, most known holidays, Christmas, New Year’s, Easter, Groundhog Day, Halloween, St Patrick’s Day… more, they all happen once a year. No celebrations for Leap Day. Not even a day off work. (We should totally get a day off work.)

When the uniqueness of this particular day dawned on me a few years ago I gained a strong appreciation for it. Shocked no holidays ever formed around it.

Why no ‘Leap Day’ Resolutions?! The far superior adjunct to New Year’s Resolutions where you would vow to have completed it by next Leap Day. It seems perfect. But no, nothing, nada.

Back on Leap Day February 29th, 2008 I decided this would be the day to do something random, something unpredictable, but it had to be good, something to remember for years to come. (or at least four years anyway)

I mean this year it had fallen on a Friday – that was fate. Something had to be done!

My first plan was shot down rather quickly. It involved driving to Sydney, a 3.5 hour drive from home, and urinating off the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Knowledgable people told me it being a suspected target for terrorism it was patrolled fairly regularly and might land me in jail with a public urination charge.

While this would certainly be memorable, I didn’t particularly want the day to be remembered as the day I got a criminal record.

It was in the afternoon of that day that it dawned on me I had the perfect idea! I would grab a friend, go to the airport, jump on the first flight to Queensland, go to the first bar we could find and celebrate. It would be epic. It all go on my  ready waiting credit card. It was crazy. The memories would last a lifetime. Pure awesomeness. If I was covering the costs surely a friend would be willing to join me?

You would think finding a friend to join me on this quest would be easy and the friend was an integral part – just doing it on my own didn’t feel right. With a friend it’s a fun zany adventure. On my own it’s one of those stories that people shake their head and go ‘why?’

And so I called every one of my friends that was in town.

First friend I called couldn’t come because they said they’d help a friend, we’ll call him DeeDum, film a short film for the annual Lights Canberra Action competition.

Quick background on Lights Canberra Action, it happens once a year, you get a theme and list of locations to use in your film and you have a week to make a film.

Second friend had a gig the next day and couldn’t come.

Third friend was helping DeeDum with his stupid film.

Same for the fourth.

And the fifth.

Next was working.

And so forth.

Everyone including my housemate was busy.

And the worst bit?! DeeDum’s film didn’t even get made that weekend! It was postponed because he couldn’t come up with a script!

Eventually I sat on the couch sulking and in a last ditch attempt, and I knew it was a long shot, there was a friend of Alyce’s I was interested in… but I’d only just met her… and I didn’t have her number.

Alyce hypothesized that the girl in question might react badly to a guy she barley knew asking her to fly to Queensland with him for the evening. In my mind it would have gone either one of two ways:

1) “Erm… what? Are you kidding me? Sure, take me to another country part of the country guy I barely know. There’s no chance I could get married in that scenario! What is wrong with you?!?!”


2) “Well this is a crazy idea but I’m in!”

So understandably when Alyce didn’t want to give up the number for fear of 1) happening I decided she might have a point. Especially in light of the fact I asked out the girl in question a few weeks later and she said she just wanted to be friends.

Years later I asked said girl about this and she was fairly certain she would’ve been up for it.

Ah well, what’s done is done.

And while that night involved me reading one of my favourite books for the first time (I Love You, Beth Cooper) it did NOT involve a random trip to Queensland to speak of for years to come.

I still reminisce about that night. And I still think maybe something equally awesome will happen on a future Leap Day.

2012 was out both due to the fact it was a Wednesday and I costs probably prevented any such endeavour. And here we are in 2016… where I have just started a new job, Leap Day fell on a Monday, and any such unpredictable trips seemed unwise.

There is always 2020 I guess. It falls on a Saturday that year. Of course planning anything would take away the fun of the day. Hell, maybe I’ll even have a girlfriend by then, and she can join me on crazy quest.

I mean it’s like four years in the future. Surely by then I’d have a significant other!

Legitimately I probably said this on the last two Leap Days as well.

But 2020 will be a change! I’m sure of it. Definitely. Without a doubt. Certain.

With it’s uniqueness and blank slatedness for awesome things to come, Leap Day may be my favourite holiday after all.


The Elevator Trick

In High School I read this book where they talked about the trick to manually jamming an elevator if you needed to. The particular scene, set just after the Vietnam War, implied that ‘any soldier who wanted to be alone with a girl’ knew this technique.

Ingrained in my memory the process was this:
You press the button for the floor you want to go to, the moment the elevator starts moving you immediately hit the button on the floor you’re already on.

In the book it’s implied this messes with the mechanics and it jams.

If I’m alone in an elevator I’ve never been in before I’ll often try this technique. 15 years of elevators and I’ve yet to find one that it worked on. Possibly because the book was a work of fiction would probably be the first tip this wasn’t real. But it seemed such a random piece of trivia to include that I couldn’t help that think that just maybe there was truth to it.

This was especially prevalent in my law firm days, when I would be alone in a variety of different elevators. It was during this time that I formulated the theory that if this ‘technique’ worked at all, then logically it would only work on older elevators. Newer ones would surely have the glitch removed.

Luckily Canberra City circa 2003-2005 DID have some much older elevators, and it was in one of these that I got the closest to success.

Unluckily for my friend Cat, the one time I tried it, she was with me. If I tried to recall the full circumstances of it now I couldn’t, but I know we were in the same building that Fred Astaire Dance Studios was in (where, once upon a time, I did take dancing lessons) and at some point or another I spied the much older elevator.

While this quest was something I generally tried on my own, I felt Cat was such a good friend that if it did work and jam she would be okay with it… and hey – I’d have company!

So the ancient closed both it’s inner and outter doors. (It was old enough they moved very separately unlike most elevators where they are in sync) The elevator began to rise and instantly I hit the ground floor button.

To my excitement and surprise, something actually happened.

Two things actually.

The first was that the elevator jolted noticably, paused briefly then returned to the Ground Floor where the doors opened.

The second was that the instant the elevator jolted and paused ever so briefly, Cat freaked.

In retrospect, Cat did have a worry about things like elevators jamming. Probably something I should have taken into account and a quick succession of blows rained upon me, but I just laughed it off because I was too excited about my quest spanning years actually paying off.

Of course, with every year that goes by that chances of success, in Canberra at least, decrease dramatically as older elevators are rightfully replaced with newer models. Hell, the ones in the office where I currently work don’t even have floor buttons inside the elevator itself. You hit the button of the floor you want in the foyer and it tells you which elevator to go to take you there.

And I’m not totally sure why I want it to work.

There have been crappy days at work, particularly at the law firm, when I tried the technique in the lift in the hopes it would jam and get me out of work for the afternoon. A small prayer whispered to whatever deity happened to be listening as I hit the current floor button that this ill fated quest would finally pay off.

My potentially impossible quest continues. Last time I was in Sydney, I noticed the QVB had a fairly old elevator I could try it on. I just was in never in it alone to attempt it.

I should add: in recent years this quest evolved beyond simply trying old elevators to see if the trick would work. I tried finding contact details for the book’s author to find if there was any truth to the story. (‘Pulitzer’ by ‘L. Elizabeth Storm’ in case you’re wondering)

Some day I hope to find truth in it.

So if you ever see an FB status, a blogpost or hear a story about me getting trapped in a jammed elevator… you will now totally know it was all my own doing.

Also, though she probably doesn’t remember, I’m sorry to Cat too. Didn’t meant to freak you out. Promise the next time I find an old elevator I’ll wait until I’m on my own before attempting to jam it.

Unless I’m with a girl I’m dating. Then all bets are off.