Tag Archives: rope swing

Concussions and Comrades.

Head InjuryMy most epic of bungles always seem to be born of these moments of perceived desperation. Or, well, maybe desperation isn’t the right word, but… Moments that urgently need to be seized.

I haven’t surfed in a few weeks, so I’ll push myself twice as hard today. (Or, nearly drown.) The end [of summer] is nigh; That rope swing is THE key to rounding out the season. (Or, to breaking my fingers.)

You know, I hadn’t heard many stories about the perils of rope swings until I began sporting a massive splint on my middle finger while struggling to pull espresso. Then, commiserators appeared with peculiar frequency. “Ah, I once shattered both patellas on a rope swing,” they’d say, as if relieved to finally admit that they harboured hard feelings toward a favorite symbol of youth’s wild abandon.

Skiing, on the other hand, is a pastime fraught with tales of terrific crashes and nature’s fury and the consequences of “one, small misstep.”

Personally, I’d experienced a few mediocre falls on skis. That time I got more air than I could handle and skittered down the Dumont Cup course in spectacular fashion. On my back. That time I forward rolled down Airglow on a powder day. Thankfully, I think my years of gymnastics had finely tuned my chin-tucking instincts and I’d never really bonked my noggin.

Last Saturday, I was in prime carpe diem mode (spring is imminent) when suddenly, I was face down on White Heat. Stupid mistake. I am the queen of clumsy. But I was also in this headspace where it didn’t matter that my legs were tired; I needed to keep skiing. Soon, the snow would be slushy and corny, and then it would be gone.

Long story short, I am writing this between long blinks and purposeful stares at anything that isn’t emitting blue light, or any light, which hurts my brain. My instincts failed me this time.

Concussions are weird. This is my first (of which I’m aware) and hopefully, my last. I am really, really grateful that I always wear a helmet and that this particular folly resulted in a “Grade 1” concussion and nothing more. Despite my renewed appreciation for audiobooks, I have to say, these things still suck.

It’s easy to slip into a boo-hoo-I’m-all-by-myself mindset when doctors are saying things like, “Can someone drive you?” and “It’s better if someone’s there while you’re sleeping.” And the responses are “No,” and “Who?” respectively. I will not be complaining today, however.

Last Saturday night, I declined my friends’ offer to sleep in their guest room; I kind of just wanted to be home. But admittedly, I’d heard way too many “don’t go to sleep with a concussion” warnings not to be wary of shuteye. So, um, what I’m about to disclose may make me sound paranoid, but I asked my West Coast friend to call and wake me up before she went to sleep (2 a.m. my time). And another friend to call me when she woke up to go to work (at 6). They both did. And a couple of people texted me in the morning. I didn’t feel alone. And I realized that in my experience, most situations in which you initially feel completely alone turn out to be the ones that make you feel least alone. Think about it.

P.S. I hear a side effect of concussions is saccharine prose.

Tagged ,

Long Hours. Short Summers.

You know when Monday feels a lot like Wednesday, which could just as easily be Saturday?

“Happy Friday!” your friends say.

“What’s Friday?” you respond. Four hours later, on your late-arvo lunch break.

Tuesday is the new Saturday. (And Sunday.) Thursday is the new Tuesday.

You have dreams about cash registers/finicky customers/spreadsheets. You don’t think it’s weird when you receive texts before seven in the morning. ‘Cause you’ve been up since five, when you jolted upright in a cold sweat, certain that you’d overslept. (You hadn’t.)

The fact that you earned the “Power Month” badge on UNTAPPD might be cause for concern if you didn’t live in a ski town and if you hadn’t conveniently surrounded yourself with people who count craft beer consumption as a valid hobby and/or part of their jobs.

Your natural state is extroverted. Presently, though, you hate everyone. You spend your Saturday nights cocooned, with catatonic-looking eyes and hands that continuously shovel utterly unnutritious food into your mouth. To boot, you’ve ceased working out. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

These are all telltale signs that work has completely consumed your life. (And, possibly, crushed your soul.) (Just a little.) It happens to the best of us. It’s alright when it’s the work about which you’re passionate that takes over your life, but when it’s the make-ends-meet kinda work, that’s another story. And it sort of makes you question what, exactly, you’re doing with yourself.

Right now, I’m running the heat in my car on my drive to work. A couple of weeks ago, I could, theoretically, get up and go for a run, shower, eat eggs, and be at work by 6 :30 a.m. This morning, I didn’t do any of that extra, productive stuff that makes me feel good about myself and I still got up before the sun. The sky, covered in bruises, mirrors morale inside the vehicle. The air on the other side of the glass is crisp. 46 degrees. It feels like fall.

Just like that, the summer has escaped me. My first Maine summer—well, my first real, complete summer. I envisioned leaping from cliffs and swinging from ropes and spontaneously swimming under the stars [more]. I didn’t really anticipate 50 [daylight] hours spent inside each week, and while I’m honestly grateful for the work, I sort of wish that I’d spent some more time hiking, swimming, boating, surfing, and most of all, writing before sweater weather returned. (It has.) Before red leaves fell into my yard. (They have.) Before pumpkin beers hit the shelves. (They, too, have.) Shiiiit.

A couple of weeks ago, the realization that summer was nearing its close hit me about as hard as Chopes likes to clock Koa Rothman.

And I know what you’re thinking: But it’s August. It’s totes still summertime.

And you’d be correct if I didn’t live in Maine, where you can (marvelously) ski six months of the year. So yeah, August is pretty much fall. And that’s fine. I mean, autumn is my favorite season and I have definitely taken advantage of the pittance of freedom that I’ve allowed myself since Memorial Day: Driving hours in every direction in the name of exploration, visiting many a brewery, blowing into unfamiliar beaches. And even breaking a bone while rope swinging. But the summer I’d imagined? Not quite.

Possibly the worst part about this is that everyone else I know is doing exactly the same thing, and maybe it’s just because, at this point, we’ve been doing it for three months straight (or more), but we’re all burnt out. Misery loves company, but not when everyone’s collectively too exhausted and too strapped for time to invest in face-to-face time. (Girls gotta have some face time—not FaceTime—sometimes.) This is summer around here, I’m told.

So I say, bring on autumn! Let’s cordially bid tyrannical, wetsuit necessitating summer and its weirdo tourists adieu. Let’s wear fullsuits during suitable months! And find time to share robust, soul-warming beers! Pull all-nighters through longer nights! Autumn: It’s the new summer.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,