Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Looking Fear in the Face

"Have you ever looked fear in the face and said I just don't care?" Pink, Glitter in the Air

When I was nine years old, my mom took me skiing a few times. I remember picking it up quickly and loving it. We didn't have the money to keep doing it, but I always wanted to go back. And in high school, when we were assigned to write down fifty life goals, I wrote that I wanted to ski black diamond.

A few years later during my senior year in college, I decided it was time to take some classes just for the heck of it. So in addition to fiction writing, I signed up for ski class. Ten lessons for $150 class fee was too good to pass up. After a visit to the local ski swap, I started my first day on an ancient pair of ten-dollar skis with rusty edges, five-dollar scuffed up boots, and a coat three sizes too big.

At the beginning of class, the instructors told the one hundred or so of us hanging around to get on the lift and ski to the bottom. They'd watch us to decide which class to place us in. I took one look at that hill, raised my hand, and said, "I'm in the class that can't ski that hill."

At the end of ten lessons, I knew one thing for sure, I would never be able to ski a black diamond.

I spent the next few years happily skiing the greens (beginner runs) and slowly working my way to the blues (intermediate runs). Each season I identified a few hills that looked far too scary to attempt and then eventually I attempted them.

This last year my brother, who up and decided to become a ski instructor, took me up a black diamond and into a foot of powder. I stared down that thing and I think I peed a little.

I was a quarter way down with my legs shaking under me, when my brother stopped to tell me I was skiing like a cat clinging to a leg. My fear kept me from letting go of the mountain; I kept leaning into it with my toes clenched into my boots. He told me to face forward and be aggressive, and I reminded myself that you ski a mountain one turn at a time.

I made it down that hill and I made it down a few other steep ones. And when I face something that scares me (like writing a book), I remind myself to let go of my fear, face forward, and take it one step at a time. And, whatever it is, go after it with aggression.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Things that Ought to be Banned

I've read several articles circulating lately about book banning. Rather than focusing so much attention on banning books, I thing we should ban the things that are truly wrong. Here is a start:

1) Flesh colored speedos.

2) Severely overweight or pregnant women wearing string bikinis. This goes along with number one. No one should have to guess if someone is wearing a swimsuit. There's beaches for that.

3) Crying babies in movies. I'm told this is banned, but yet I keep encountering it. By the way, taking your baby to the hall behind the stadium seats doesn't help. Just because we can't see you, doesn't mean we can't hear you.

4) Texting during church. We can hear you clicking. If your message is that important, just go into the hall.

5) Adult temper tantrums. There needs to be an age limit on these.

6) Phonebooks. I know this sounds a little odd, but I get a new one every month and I'm fairly sure the phonebook people killed a rainforest last year.

7) People driving below the speed limit in the fast lane.

8) Subwoofer in an apartment complex. While your movie may sound awesome, my walls are shaking.

What's missing? What would you ban upon being named king (or queen) of all?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What Kind of Drunk Are You?

I've lived a fairly sheltered life when it comes to the party atmosphere. So I was quite pleased with myself when, while in Vegas, I attended a party where the police showed up. Granted, the party was a Mormon singles pool party and the police didn't actually knock on the door (they were parked outside), but still.

They stopped my friend and I as we were walking to the car about midnight. "Where you headed, ladies?" they asked us. We simply replied, home, and they wished us a good night. We were so hoping they would ask us if we'd been drinking, so we could laugh and explain that we were at the one party in Vegas that was alcohol free, and they picked the wrong party to stakeout.

I started wondering that night what sort of drunk would I be. Would I be the life of the party? Would I be the stupid one, always good for a laugh? Or, would I be the belligerent one?

I have to go with belligerent. Oh, I'd start out doing some embarrassing things and maybe even some cool things, but I'd turn angry fast. "None of your business where I'm going," I'd yell at the cops. "Walk your own line, jerk."

It's probably best I don't drink.

What kind of drunk do you think you would be?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Did I take a sleeping pill while I was asleep?

This a question most normal people never have to ask themselves — yet I find myself wondering if I did.

Last night I had a dream that I got out of bed and, frustrated by not being asleep, took a sleeping pill. I would write this off as just a dream except for two small problems: I sleepwalk occasionally and last night I woke up in the bathroom.

I've sleptwalked and talked since I was a child. I thought it was something that I would eventually grow out of, like pimples. But, as with pimples, this annoying tick of mine rears its ugly head up now and then. There was the time I woke up with the entire contents of my purse on my floor and my purse in bed with me. Or when I went to bed wearing a long t-shirt and woke up wearing jogging pants (I just hope it was because I was cold and not that I went jogging).

My roommates and family have learned not to ask me if I'm asleep because this just angers me. In a small way, I'm aware of what I'm doing even if I have no control over it, so I get offended when people tell me I'm asleep. I've accepted my life comes with certain limitations. I'll never sleep naked. I can't sleep with a door open, in fact I sometimes prop things under my door to stop me. And I will never make friends after ten, since I'm usually angry or confused by then.

Don't worry about me, though. As far as I know, I've never left my house or apartment or endangered myself or others in any way. I don't even think I took the pill, despite being unusually sleepy on my way to work (luckily, I carpool). In my dream, I'm fairly sure I took the pill in the bathroom but when I woke up the pills were in the kitchen. And, if I did, the pill are over-the-counter and mild.