Saturday, November 08, 2014

Sliding on the Ice

My best friend uses a phrase I've favored above many
since the day I first heard her say it
"Sometimes you've just gotta take down your pants and slide on the ice.
She was young when she said it. We both were.
In our thirties. (Yes, thirty-something's....that's young.)
We were young moms. We were living our lives in such a way as to keep every
hair on the heads of our children in place
and a smile on every face.

House-frau weary of laundering that one damn Strawberry Shortcake t-shirt
fifty three times in a single summer
two years after it even FIT anyone in the house
we conspired some small
Just because.
I don't remember what we did.
I'm pretty sure it would have embarrassed our parents
mortified our Sunday School teachers
shamed our children
and caused our husbands to look at eachother and say
....hey, did you see Star Trek last night and how 'bout them Yankees.
Doesn't matter.
The only moment I recall from the entire episode of presumed
misadventure was her rolling her eyes, looking out the window
and shaking her head in captive resignation.
"Ok. I'm in,"
Why not?
Slide, we did.
Babysitters meters ticking, no doubt
to nurture our inner runaways for the night.

Earlier this week I bought this sweet little platform cart.
I can pile all manner of this and that upon it's non-slippy surface
and conveniently push it all to a destination
be it down the driveway
through hallways
or, in this case
from my car to the lower level of a church building
without breaking my back and without so much as losing a thing in the transport process.
I love logistics.
This cart and I are going to do great things together.
So there we stood, my newest buddy and I.
A car filled-to-sunroof, now unburdened of goods portaged into the church
in short order. The evenings mission accomplished. Time to go home.

Moonlit night.
Just a sliver off full.
Autumn's chill in the air.
Standing next to my beloved cart.
On a blacktop parking lot with a smooth, even surface
sloping dramatically to the South
seemingly off into oblivion
Or at least beyond the radius of the nearest street lights.
It's a parking lot that shoots off in roller-coaster style
into a big, hilly neighborhood.
Really hilly.
My hands are on the cart.
Big hill.
I stood there for the longest time, pondering the opportunity.
I thought too, about a conversation I'd had recently with a dear one.
"I've ALWAYS wanted to..........." I said to him, and then I went on to relate a
fantasy of misadventure I've dreamed of for the longest time, which may or may not
involve some....minor, very minor.....criminal trespass and
depending on the success or failure of the operation,
may involve police and possible inconveniences
like squad cars and ugly pajamas (I look ghastly in orange) and...well, you get the picture.
I expected him to laugh, of course
because it was a pretty funny plan I explained to him
But he didn't.
He jumped on it.
And of course I knew he was kidding.
But the enthusiasm with which he grabbed hold and stepped up to join me on
my train of misguided thinking for a few minutes
to entertain the entire ridiculous scenario
even going so far as to suggest mapping out reconnaissance
for strategic success of the mission.......well.
 it just gave me the biggest thrill ever
It was so much fun. I laughed like I haven't laughed in the longest time.
In my heart and mind I was runaway mom with the night off again.
Headed for fun, dashing through the snow
laughing all the way. Like sliding on the ice with our pants down.

Last night I stood near the top of that big, long hill
with my hand on the cart.  Why the hell not?
What's the worst that could happen?
Just point it downhill
throw caution to the wind
hop on
and go for the ride.
Did she?
Or didn't she?
Did she? Or didn't she?
No one is more disappointed than me but.....I didn't.
Would I have likely hurt my older-than-back-then self?
Yeahhhh, probably. My hopper doesn't hop quite like it did when I was thirty.
Would I have been able to stop the cart before it reached the Gulf of Mexico?
Probably not. So what? I know enough street Spanish to get along.
Mature reason and physical reality won the argument. 
A few years back, in a moment of gleeful abandon over a
moment of supreme accomplishment
I took a (literal) flying leap off the top step of a bus
onto a similar blacktop parking lot which, at the time,
was coated with a layer of ice.
Would I do it again?
Yeah, actually I would, even though I ended up in surgery.
I love, and have ever-since held dear the written notes of my
orthopedic surgeon to inform my family doctor of his diagnosis: 
that  my knee needed everything but repainting and pinstriping as a result of that joyous moment:
"Surgery is scheduled and so....and I'll be doing such and such.....and lastly, I would certainly recommend Debbie not be jumping out of buses anymore no matter how happy she is."
Man, he got that right. I WAS happy.
I'm just not so sure how much more gleeful abandon and raucous happiness
my shredded knees can take at this point.
That's ok. It was good to feel that kind of happy again.
Even if just for a moment.
When I slid on the ice with my best friend, I was happy.
When conspiring over a ridiculous notion, I was happy.
Standing there at the top of the hill last night, hand on the cart
I was really, really happy.
True. Some things are best left to the crazy, young runaway moms.
My older and wiser self assured me, parking lot surfing may very well be one of them.
I suppose midnight stealth operations may be another.
One of the gifts of age is knowing which rolling trips to take
which recon missions to make
and when to just head home
delighted to be laughing
and really, really happy.
Happy because we even considered it in the first place.

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