Sunday, March 24, 2013

For "Ease" Read, "Holy Shit this is Hard!"

Nobody died. And it was amazing. And no one made fun of anyone else. Except me. I made fun of one girl. But I didn’t make fun of her because of any sort of physical ineptness, because that would be mean. I only made fun of her insistence on whining during such a spectacularly fun occasion. It was discrete mockery too; for the ears of my sister only.
In spite of the ominous lawyerese on the release form it was abundantly safe and so much fucking fun that you need to go do it. Right now. Call in to work, whatever it takes.
            Fair warning, the back of your legs will look like this:

And this can happen to your pants:  

             And it’s a lot harder than it looks. For me. There is something horribly wrong with my body that prevents me from getting my legs over the damn bar in the normal way, so I had to learn an alternate way. Which they say is harder. I didn’t know if that was true or if they just say that to make people feel better about being sent to remedial trapeze school. But I proved to my satisfaction that it is in fact more difficult, by immediately getting my leg tangled in both the trapeze and the safety line, which no one else was able to do. Hence the pants. Anyway, I finally managed it.
             However it’s hard to catch up to the others when you get sent back. To remedial trapeze school. Like I did. So by the end of the session, I was losing my mind. Half the people had crapped out, and the other half had managed to perfect their timing, and were being instructed on how to do the catch. I was pretty much left to go again and again.
             In my crazed determination to perfect my timing, I was forgetting all the safety rules and had to be reminded once by a fellow student and once by an instructor to hook up my safety lines. The instructor actually made me climb down the ladder and take a moment to breathe and calm myself, so I was probably pretty much a wreck by then.
             I didn’t get to do the catch because I totally fucked up my last turn, and I had been warned there was some concern that I might crash into the catcher and injure us both. I was so hyped up that I was totally prepared to take a head injury, but they are a bit overprotective of their staff. So fine.

Here is what I did on my final turn:

And here is my sister doing it properly:


             So it was awesome. And the people who were good were very sweet and encouraging to those who weren’t. By the end that was just me, because everybody else had quit. So I got to be the plucky girl who didn’t give up, even though she sucked. Which is not what I was planning; but it wasn’t so bad. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

With the Greatest of Ease

Saturday morning I will be flying through the air with the greatest of ease; or else I’ll be dying, probably also with the greatest of ease. Trapeze school is finally upon us, and no, you didn’t miss anything, I haven’t mentioned it. I imagine myself doing flips and catches and whatnot, and in my mind I’m suddenly endowed with the grace and coordination that is noticeably lacking in my usual interactions with the physical world.
 Hopefully that actually happens because apparently (according to the terrifying release I’m supposed to sign) in the world of trapeze there are consequences for physical ineptness, “…could result in physical or emotional injury or death. I understand that such risks simply cannot be eliminated without jeopardizing the essential qualities of the activity.” Ok. I get that they can’t guarantee no injuries when they’re letting you swing around like monkeys and the only thing keeping you from falling is the untrained and sweaty hand of another trapeze school newbie, but I have to question the idea of emotional injury being unavoidable. Are they going to make fun of us if we don’t do well? Post photos of us fearful and sprawling on the internet? Surely, some restraint could be shown there. Falling on your ass is bad enough without the professionals making fun of you for it. And if I do fall on my ass it will be because I wasn’t properly instructed, so heal thyself, trapeze guy.
And there’s not just the danger of me falling; there’s the possibility that shit will fall on me. “The risks include…being struck by objects dislodged or dropped from above.” Well, perhaps we don’t need to keep so much clutter on the trapeze platform. Seriously, what the fuck do they keep up there? And dislodged could be accidental, but dropped? Sounds like someone up there is out to get me. 
Then there are the trapeze people. “…employees have difficult jobs to perform. They are not infallible.” Ok, that’s kind of a given, albeit not something I necessarily want emphasized right before I literally put my life in their hands. But even though they’re not perfect, they are surely highly trained and as close to infallible as is humanly possible.
Except for the part where they’re not particularly observant. “They might misjudge the weather or other environmental conditions.” Really? Because the trapezing actually takes place outside. In the weather. What I’m hearing is, “If we don’t kill you by flinging bricks at your head from 100 feet up, the lightening will finish you off because we’re not properly trained to look at the sky.”
And it seems that’s not all they’re not properly trained to do. “They may give incomplete or inaccurate instructions or warnings.”  You’re starting to sound lazy, guys. How about taking a little pride in your work. Consider how nice it would be to go home and say to your wife, husband or cat, “No one died today, and there were only a few close calls, because I had the initiative to tell people to hold on tight.”
“The equipment being used might malfunction.”  How much can a new trapeze cost? It’s essentially a rope and a stick. Maybe I should bring my own. Except I don’t know where to get a trapeze on short notice. But, I might know where I can borrow a sex swing.* Those things are pretty much interchangeable, I believe.
“I certify I have adequate insurance to cover any injury or damage I may cause or suffer while participating...” I wish I could, but I’m sure they won’t check. At least not until after one of the aforementioned unfortunate incidents has occurred.
In spite of the eager specters of death, paralyzation, and embarrassment, I’m excited. I’m a little worried that the trapeze people will see this and not let me on. But I can’t post it after, well, maybe I could, but it’s not certain. And because I’ve gone to the trouble of writing it, I don’t want it to be a wasted effort if I die. Speaking of dying, if I don’t make it back, would someone please feed my dogs?
*I absolutely do not know where I can borrow a sex swing.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sweat the Small Stuff

Last night at the grocery store, I noticed that the sign above the speedy checkout lane that used to say, “Fifteen items or less,” now says, “About fifteen items.” As far as I can see, this can only mean one thing, and that thing is that people are douchy enough to count other people’s items and yell at them if they have sixteen items. Or seventeen.  Sometimes, twenty. Not that I haven't been tempted to comment shrilly when someone has eighteen items, because I have. But I make an active effort to be less of a douche than the person who has nineteen items when they should have fifteen, in fact, that’s my goal in life.
So I don’t yell, because yelling about it seems slightly worse. It’s possible that some of these people just can’t count. But I love that others are not so restrained. I really do. I love that the store had to change it to, “about,” to prevent bloodshed. Because there’s nothing better than living amongst people that are prepared to come to blows over that sixteenth item. I’m not judging. I’m not so entertained by this because I would never do such a thing. I’m entertained by this because I can barely restrain myself from doing such a thing.
 We (you) have to act now. Time is running out. Soon all the grocery stores will cave in and replace their set in stone, enforceable checkout rules with guidelines. I’m not a lawyer, but I feel like fewer checkout altercations would go to trial if the victim could be accused of breaking a rule, a grocery law if you will, instead of merely having committed a shopping faux pas. Also, there’s nothing like a good brawl in the checkout line. So raise hell about that extra item. Be righteously indignant. Take action. Speak up. Throw things. Throw a punch, throw an apple, throw your own sixteenth item, (how the hell did that get in there?) so you don’t look like a hypocrite when it’s your turn to checkout. It makes no difference what you throw as long as you get involved.
And if someone has fifteen items and tries to add a pack of gum at the last minute, don’t let them get away with it. These bougie assholes need to know that the rules (or polite suggestions) apply to them. Let them know that their aspirations to minty breath don’t make them better than everyone else. Go forth and make your mothers proud. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Rock and a Sad Place

The other day at the park my nephew had a wreck. He was jumping off the side of the slide (because as any fool knows slides are not just for sliding down) when he was sabotaged by a glitch in coordination.  It wasn’t a bad fall; he only had a couple superficial scrapes to show for it. But there were a ton of people around.
After we clean him up, he decides he wants to do one more slide before we leave, but he chooses the smallest slide and goes down halfheartedly, and it’s all very sad. On the way to our next stop we discuss whether it still hurts, which he tells me it does not, and whether he’s embarrassed which he also denies.
But he’s still tremendously sad.
Eventually it occurs to me that “embarrassed,” may not be a word most people are familiar with when they’re three, so I ask him if he’s sad because all those people saw him fall and he says, “yes.”
Now I’m pissed off at those people for existing, because I feel like Z wouldn’t be upset right now if they didn’t, and what right do they have to be wandering around the park with their eyes anyway? On the other hand this is hideously unreasonable, and I’m really just pissed off at myself for not catching him.
“It’s ok,” I say to him. “None of those people were laughing at you. Everybody falls. I fall, and your mom and dad fall, and Ben falls, and all those people at the park have fallen too, I promise.”
Pointing out the misfortunes of others is perhaps not the most inspiring method of comforting a child, but it’s what came to mind. And still, he was bummed.
We get to the arts festival, but only kind of, because we have to park far away. We start walking, well I start walking, and I’m carrying a sad three year old, a heavy, sad three year old, and I think the sadness is making him heavier than usual. When we finally get there he doesn’t want to go in. He says he wants to sit. So we sit. On the curb outside the arts festival.
He says, “Don’t look at me, please,” and I oblige.
 He picks up a rock. I ask him about the colors in his rock. We discuss that for awhile.
So there we are, sitting on the curb, not looking at each other, discussing rocks instead of feelings. It’s like I’m participating in some kind of weird male bonding moment. I didn’t know three year olds could have such man moments.
I texted his mom for backup. She suggested an uplifting lesson on what the word “embarrassed,” means. That sounded promising, he likes to learn new words. Like “evolution.” But embarrassed is not a fun word to learn when you are.
He would seem better for a while then get sad again. That happens to me too, but I get to drink. And if he was twelve I would have offered him one.  
It turned out that his arm is sprained. When I found that out, I had a guilt headache for two days. But I’m better now, and more importantly, so is he. Feel free to call me with babysitting requests.