By Cecilia Ardouin. Balloon Chair. Published at Monday, April 02nd, 2018 - 04:11:17 AM.
Due to the life of a truck driver (and haulage work in general) being so busy, Walters was often pressed for time to relax. Although he had always dreamed of flying, he was unable to join the US Air Force due to his poor eyesight. In mid-1982, he decided on a remarkable plan - to purchase 45 eight-foot weather balloons, fill them with helium, and attach them to his lawn chair. Since the lawn chair would be tied to the ground, he could situate himself comfortably, cut the cord, and (as he planned) hover at a height of about 30ft for a few hours. Now that is an impressive commitment for a few hours of relaxation. He also made sure to take a pellet gun which he would burst the balloons with in order for a smooth descent, as well as the essential driver's relaxation necessities - sandwiches, cold beer, and a camera.
When working with clients I often perform the following exercise. I ask them to move from chair to chair in my office and take a look at the room, finally retuning to the original position. Then I ask, "From each chair the room looked different, didn't it?" The answer is always, "Yes." Next I ask, "Did anything really physically change in the room?" The answer always being, "No." The point being that nothing in life really has to change for you to enjoy it, other than the point of view you choose to take. What chair do you want to look at your life from, the chair of have nots and disappointment, or the chair of opportunities, appreciation and gratitude?
It must have made a substantial change from haulage work - when Walters' friends cut the cord that kept the lawn chair held tied to his jeep, Walters rose higher than he had ever anticipated, to a height of 15,000 feet! Since he didn't want to risk shooting any balloons at first, fearing he would unbalance his jury-rigged aircraft, he was picked up by a wind current and slowly drifted out over the nearby Long Beach Airport. After spending 45 minutes in the sky, he shot several of his balloons, and then accidentally dropped his pellet gun overboard. Although this might seem quite the hindrance for any further descent, his jury-rigged aircraft dropped down to tangle in some power lines, and he was able to climb to the ground. It must have made quite a change from his haulage work. When asked by a reporter why he'd attempted such a feat, Walters answered only "A man can't just sit around."
As the days grew closer the excitement could be felt in the air. People seemed warmer, nicer, and though the pace remained fast, it seemed to slow down. The stranger smiled as he pushed you out of his way. The cabby honked at you but left out the crass comment, and you knew things were different.
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