- rene magritte
- fruit of the fucking loom
- baron samedi
- feet hiking curtis cramblett
- follow my leader
- costco brownie bites
- costco brownies
- tamara lieveling
- brownies at costco
- brownies de costco
Whatever. Hope to see you at the new place.
CONTENT WARNING: Lopsided shop-talk, Cramblett true-believer-ism
Yesterday I got my ass beat. This was deeply demoralizing, given that the occasion was a Sunday bike ride supposedly centered on cinnamon rolls. Alas, pastry-pace for a pack of ripped, racing-shape roadies is for me apparently a cardiac event. I'm pretty sure Tomales and surrounds were some kind of bronzed bucolic beautiful, but when I roll tape there's nothing but my own blood roaring, the alien scream of wheels of pavement, and incidental eye contact with nonplussed cows.
But here's the thing. It's been more than a year since I've done a ride that long or that tough1. I'm not fit for it; it was in places wretched. And you know what hurts most this morning?
I'm following the suited and sauntering boys barefoot to the bar, heels in hand. The Columbus sidewalk is wide and warm; the sky is bright and low.
Under the mirrored ceiling a wide-mouthed tumbler gets the best of me and I spill whiskey down my neck. "Oh God," says Jack, "not this again." He has already spent a half-hour helping me salvage the dress after an earlier mishap with a leaky iron. Daan obtains a stack of napkins and a glass of seltzer water from the smokey-eyed barkeep, who is not impressed. I blot vigorously. We depart.
I switch to $14 flats in the church pew during an opportune swiveling of the audience for the entrance of the bridesmaids. Their hair appears somehow buttressed, which is architecturally interesting but not sufficient distraction to prevent me from crying, per usual, the second I catch sight of the bride. She's both dazzling and dazzled; I'm so charmed by this I'm practically asthmatic. Despite knowing perfectly well this would happen I have not thought to bring tissues and resort instead to dabbing my eyes with balled-up napkins from the bar.
There's enough whiskey on them still it vaguely stings.
* * * * *
"You can have this," the somber flower-girl announces. She's unpinned a white rose from her frock (it's a frock, when you're young, isn't it?) and put it in my hand.
|Future Locks of Love donor, yes.|
Something between us and the ocean is on fire. Here on the ridge there is
no urgency to it, just the smell and an expansive haze where the horizon ought
to be. I imagine small flames meandering low to the ground.
The wind is rising; when it reaches the oak-matted hillside it breathes a slow roar that sets the canopy swirling and my hair on end. The high cloud has gathered itself into a steel-bottomed bank; sun slips through in streaks and spangles. I'm more wishing than waiting for a storm to break. There won't be one, of course. We are where we are.
At sunset, though, hours later, small tears in the sky burn with a fierce white light.
"Hey, do you know the word for—"
(I like this game!)
"—the surface of the water, but from below? Say, if you were a fish in a lake, looking up? The underside of the surface?"
My eyes are wide and my workday is shot. Is there a word for that? I'm consumed by the idea that a term exists, if not in Japanese or Norse then in hydrology or ichthyology or fluid dynamics or scuba. Excruciating! There are all these words I might never know!
Part two and the point is: a hand off the rock is a hand on the lion.
I have a babysitter above who's done the hard part for me; relative to the risk he takes—or even in absolute terms—mine is very small. Consequently, Real Climbers are dismissive of my play-acting in their most basic terminology: there are leaders (bold) and there are followers (ba-a-a-aaa); a bolted climb is just sport, just a game; and there is supposedly nothing you can't do on toprope.
Alas, fear isn't contingent on being entitled to it. Which is why, from my perfect vantage point over a spectacular panorama of California love, I have narrowed the world to a four-by-four-foot square of granite immediately in front of my face. "Don't forget to check out the view," says Alean. He tends especially wry over radio. I am inching gingerly along the traverse. Yeah, no.
I swear I'm not scared, exactly, it's just that I'm working comically hard to keep it that way. Details I might find charming on the ground—the curious shiver of a pale shrub protruding from the crack, the moan of the wind, the emerald glint of an incongruous hummingbird suspended in the void like some apparition from the tropics—are here just woozy reminders that I'm 400-something feet up. Reptile-brain hates that shit. I sing to myself.