Friday, January 16, 2009

Not Quite, January 16, 2009

Prompt: AlmostBold

5 comments:

Carol Henderson said...

Yesterday at the gym, I saw a woman I knew pedaling fast on a stationary bike. I had just come off a cross-trainer, having done some "metabolic disturbances," as my friend Carol calls them. Every five minutes I bumped the level up as high as I could take it and pumped up the RPMs too--for 60 seconds, well that's my goal. Sometimes I can only last for 45.
This effort makes me sweat like the kick box teacher Jill describes in an earlier post--I look like I've just showered but the water isn't evenly distributed through my hair. I've always sweated hugely--and have admired tennis players who don't, Maria Sharapova, whose hair stays blond and dry or Roger Federer. I'm like Rafa Nadal, drenched, stringy strands. It's OK in a guy but you never see a woman on TV sweat that much.
Anyway, so a towel is essential for me. I was dripping and my face blotchy from the effort and there was Ginny on a bike, pedaling fiercely but her skin and hair looked unphased.
She pulled off her headphones and smiled.
"I have a great prompt for you," she said. Ginny had been in one of my workshops for a while last year.
"Wow, what?" I asked.
"Almost," she said.

Jill Hudgins said...

I'm a drippy-hair Nadal-type too. No shame in that.

Jill Hudgins said...

Not-so-close-call at Second

“You almost had him,” Richard tells Chet with a firm fist to the shoulder. Chet looks up and thinks, ‘what game were you watching, Dad? That kid was safe by a mile.’

Chet plays catcher, because that’s where kids who can’t run or throw end up. There are no designated hitters in Little League, and anyway, Chet’s on-base percentage is the worst in the league. His teammates often egg him to take a pitch, just dip his shoulder into a fastball or slider so he can walk to first. But Chet’s a flincher, which isn’t generally a good quality in a catcher, but…well…he has to play somewhere – it’s Little League, no one rides the bench.

“Da-ad,” Chet whines.

“What? It was a good throw.”

Chet tried to throw out a kid stealing second. His arm cocked back and his hand thrust forward, but the ball got caught on his fingertips, banged straight down in the dirt and slowly rolled up and over the pitcher’s mound. The runner not only made it to second safely, he thought about stealing third. But then the shortstop scooped up the roller and threatened to throw him out.

“Dad, just leave me alone.” The inning is over, and by mercy of the “Mercy Rule” – Chet’s team is down twelve in the fifth – so too is the game. Kids are eating oranges and drinking Capri Suns. Chet just wants to get in the car and go home before any of his teammates make fun of his arm again.

Too late – Jimmy’s striding over. “Nice one, Chet. How ‘bout you try and throw it in the air next time?”

“Sorry.” There are no apologies in baseball, but Chet doesn’t know what else to say. He’s at wit’s end with this sports thing. His Dad Richard is a legend in Striker County – football, baseball, you name out, captain-all-star-hero-MVP. Chet has difficulty lacing his shoes. And he has tried every other sport in the book, even karate, where Chet managed to fail his yellow belt test six times. That’s a new record according to his karate teacher.

He should probably just give up. And he almost did, many times. But Chet wants just once to impress his Dad. One great play, shot, score, and he can walk away from sports forever, tell his Dad he’d rather take guitar lessons. But until then, he’ll pull on the jersey of the day, lace up his cleats, and take the field. Judging by his throw to second this afternoon, Chet’s ‘almost’ could be a long way away. He might be stuck in sports hell forever.

Isabel said...

I’m in a New York State of Mind,

“The New York Times, The Daily News”.

I was brought up with these things. I didn’t live in NYC, but went in to “The City” every week to have lunch with my Grandparents. If I were from Manhattan, I’d probably be a different person, but sometimes I think you’re not really alive if you’re not in or around NY. I am nostalgic for NY. I have a NY State of mind that can overwhelm me when Billy sings to me.

I don’t have any reasons.

It wasn’t ‘easy livin’ there, day by day’. I grew up there, outside of NY City, a commuter town so to speak. It was hard, a very hard time, but now being away, I know that the reasons might have been left all behind, but I do have a NY State of mind. Or maybe it’s that I left many parts of me there.

Does NY have a color of me, a shadow perhaps, or a glow at sunset that was one that I enjoyed or paused for. It’s so hard to write about things you have a lot of feeling about, like when you reach in to touch them, they scatter like snow flakes to the sun, or birds to a panting dog.

It doesn’t come down to reality, and maybe we do have to let it slide. Nostalgia - synonyms are homesickness, reminiscence, wistfulness, longing, melancholy. It’s deep in my roots, the sooty car pollution air is in my hair, the drivers on the road, traffic jams on the LIE, they don’t daunt me, it’s part of the home that is me.

Where your eyes have rested without thoughts, like Co-op city, while my head involuntarily bounced on the train, or the East River Drive, as my always-hurried-father sped confidently along the tight little curvy lanes, elevators in the Pan Am building, where you’d fight your brothers to be the first one to push the button to go to the forty-somethingth floor, do these things become somehow part of you?

I don’t have any reasons, I left them all behind.

Maybe when the ground of your family is so shaky, maybe that’s when you can bond to the next thing – the land, the environs.

My Bird guru says I’m a “good spotter”. I connect, am connected.

No, I too don’t have any reasons, because I too left them all behind, but I have a New York State of heart.

Carol Henderson said...

That New York State of Mind. The LIE, Co-op City, East River Drive. Oh nostalgia. Fighting to push the elevator buttons in the Pan Am Building. I want to hear more about all of this--being a Jersey girl.

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