Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Two-Year Learning Curves

Some people naturally catch anything you throw at them. Some of us need a big welt on our heads before we learn to place our hands in front of our face and close when the flying objects touches our palm. And it's still painful. Imagine the struggle when you have it down, life is great and the wind flies through your hair. Then you put your bike away for the cold, snowy, icy winter, take your bike out in the spring and realize you forgot how to ride.

That was me, age six or so, embarrassed and horrified because the first year I learned involved a horrendous accident ending in a summersault through a sticker patch and a thump on a log. Traumatic. Obviously 20 years later only a bright blue hard tail mountain bike could make me happy.

At least I was happy when I tried my first too long ride in the city and the tire kept deflating. And I gladly smiled when I realized if I completely took my bike apart it barely fit in my emptied car trunk. When I nearly flew off the front, I frowned, scrunched my nose and stowed the bike against the bedroom wall. Every weekend found some disaster to prevent me from learning.

Summer's back and the bike's out, possibly at the urging of a natural bike pro who enjoys hurdling down and through narrow rocky tracks in the quakies.

We rode the gondola up the Canyons so he could ride down and I could walk my bike. Actually the gondola wasn't enough and we rode a ski lift up to the very top. Well the very top after we climbed a few hundred feet. A glorious climb if I might acknowledge the grace and style and speed of the novice (ME!). While Skip maybe felt out of breath and light headed on the uphill run, I found that by holding my breath and closing my eyes I generally made it to the next stopping point and a little oxygen deprivation keeps you sane.

It also wears you out and makes the muscles in your neck pop out. Creepy, yet effective as I am here to type it out.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Paper Mache Giraffe

In my eighth-grade art class we made paper mache animals. I chose a sea turtle. It was great and fun and I spent countless hours painting dots on the turtle's back outlining it in blues, greens, yellows, oranges. Thirteen years later I read a fictional-contemporary-history on an ex-president's wife's life. Go ahead a reread that. It was based on Laura Bush, who, in the book, spent a summer making paper mache animals for her school library. I guess that makes me an expert on paper mache animals.

I shared my expertise causally with SK the other day. We just had brunch at a small diner in Sugarhouse and I felt a throbbing need to get home quickly. Sometimes the water just runs through you. So as he saunters down the sidewalk and I pull at his arm in a frantic effort to rush him along, he starts spying. He peers into cars as if he thinks a dead body will appear, more likely a set of antlers. And there it was, a spectacular display of art crammed into a tiny hatchback car.

"WHOA! What is THAT?" SK exclaimed.

"Hmm, what? The paper mache giraffe? Yeah, we'll make one sometime. Great. Keep moving," I commanded.

End Scene One

In the immediate aftermath of my exclamation, Skip looked at me with a mixture of awe and confusion. He thought it looked nothing like a giraffe, but after I told him that and he stared at it (which he did, increasing the pressure to my bladder), he decided that in some avant garde way it possibly could have resembled something close to a giraffe. There were some color similarities. And I just zoomed in on the horns. Weird.

End Scene One again.

A week or so later we did a walk through for our apartment. When I say walk through I mean that we did a detailed checklist of all the furniture, art and knickknacks in the place. These are to remain intact throughout our inhabitation.

Rugs, African heads, Thai necklaces, bamboo skies, oars, twig chandelier...I'm yawning and slightly freaked out by the size of the list. And then I spot Paper Mache Giraffe. I whipped my head looking for the masterpiece. No giraffe. Maybe I was in the wrong room? No, 1024, right where I was. I looked again and bit my lip. There was an animal head on the wall. It was gourmet paper mache, and a zebra. How did I know? Not the white and black stripes  the lack of horns.