Monday, January 14, 2008

It's never too late...to make an ass of one's self

...watching at home you could never fully appreciate how loud the music actually is, to the point that the desperate screams of the crowd are completely indecipherable. Just a garbled rarrrr, arrrrr is all you can really make out above the yodeling. Perhaps it was this chaos that caused him to lose his focus. All the months we spent walking up and down aisles memorizing prices, the flashcards we went over and over on the long drive to Burbank, the countless hours we spent building up to that big day. In the end, none of it mattered. He froze. How could he not see my hand gestures? I clearly signalled 7-9 in reference to the Braun electric shaver and yet he blurts out "14 dollars!". His one chance at glory came to a crushing end as that little mountain climber eased past the number 25 and toppled over the edge into an abyss of failed dreams. This image forces its way into my mind every time I look at my old dinette set. It serves as a brutal reminder of what could have been. To this day, part of me believes he chose to fail. But why? How could he not want the same things that I did?

The last few days have been busy for little Charlotte as she blew threw a couple more firsts. Earlier in the week she started sitting up on her own while yesterday marked her first foray into eating real food. That's more than most kids manage in a month! At this pace no record is safe. Within a few months I fully expect her to be walking, while an explanation of the difference between "empathy" and "sympathy" written in alphabet blocks would not be out of the question by the time Labour Day rolls around. Her Bonds-like pursuit of personal milestones (in terms of its prolific-nature not any pharamceutical help, although her head has gotten bigger and she did get two shots at the doctors last week...) has even given me a bit of a kick in the pants to work harder towards my own goals. Not surprisingly I am well behind pace in my pursuit of 100k but with the help of Charlie's shining example I am slowly catching up. 29 down, 71 to go.

My other current personal endeavour comes with an embarrassing admission and represents something I should have done long ago. I, at 31 years and having lived all but about 9 months of my life in Canada, am just now learning how to skate. When I tell people this they don't fully grasp it. The say things like "so you're learning to play hockey?" or "you're working on your backwards crossovers?". No, I'm actually learning how to skate, as in I'm learning how to propel myself forward while on ice skates without toppling over. I grew up in Vancouver during a bizarre era when the parents in my neighborhood put their kids in soccer instead of hockey. The legacy of that new age, West Coast hippieness is that as soon as I step on the ice I look like a Chilean soccer player, except that I'm not falling on purpose. As the only non-New Canadian in my adult "learn to skate" program my failure as a native son of this country is impossible to hide. I've even been tempted to fake an accent in a lame effort to hide my shame. The whole thing is all very humiliating particularly during the warm up when I have to share the ice with five year olds, soccer moms and old guys. Did I mention that they are all skating circles around me?

Nevertheless, I soldier on. The longer I put this off the more difficult it will become. The ramifications of falling on the ice will provide more and more discouragement as every year passes. If I wait any longer I may end up breaking a hip. After two lessons I think I'm making some progress. My instructor seemed quite pleased with how far I've come. That being said, he's 16 years old so he may just be humouring me.

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