Close to the Wall
I suppose I've always been good about spatial relationships. I don't think if it is something you learn so much as you feel. At least it has seemed that way to me. So when I allowed my river raft to slide past a razor-sharp volcanic wall with only an inch to spare, I was confident. When I swerved off the road to avoid the car that was passing when it shouldn't, I was amazingly calm. Not afterwards, mind you, but during. And when I made the numerous moves that allowed me to climb above the Thunder River waterfall (on the wrong side!) in the Grand Canyon to access the amazing cave behind it, I somehow made it alive (see the photo to the right of a guide friend who climbed behind the falls).
So sue me if sometimes I shave something close. It's a sense that one gets, it's a vibe that you feel. You simply know the boundaries of things. This has freaked out my wife no end while driving. I'm sorry, but there isn't much I can do about it. I know when I'm clear and to add extra inches for no reason doesn't seem to be in me. I play things close to the wall.
I do this figuratively as well. I'm your classic procrastinator. For example, my next talk doesn't really come into focus until I have to give it. In typical style, I am finishing it the night before -- or even the morning before -- I give it. I can even remember arriving with a prepared talk the night before, meeting with the program managers that night, and rewriting my talk from the ground up after I found out the real situation. The next morning I hit the ball out of the park, since I wrote the talk they needed to hear. And if that isn't close to the wall I don't know what is.