Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The List

It seems unlikely that we were inspired by that Bucket List movie. (Aside: I don't know what the big hairy deal about Jack Nicholson is. Doesn't he always just play himself?) But at about the time it came out, Rachael, Fern, and I began to keep a list of New Things We Want to Try.

Fern started it with a suggestion that we take a spinning class, which brought us to a likable new fitness studio in town with the worst website of all time. Seriously. Don't click that link. And if you do click it, turn off your speakers. I told you it was the worst website of all time. Of course it has music.

Now, I've come a long way in my understanding of the words "spinning class". The problem I had when I realized it was an exercise class (and had nothing to do with wool) is that I heard about it at about the same time everyone was talking about the new form of exercise that uses bump-and-grind stripper moves and a pole. I put the two together and for a long time I thought that "spinning class" meant "pole-dancing exercise class". I was armed with my new-found knowledge that it was really just a stationary bike class when Fern suggested we try it, and so I agreed, because at least it wasn't some sexy dancing thing.

It was on the trip to the fitness studio that Fern and I learned that behind Rachael's placid and friendly exterior, she hides a deep inner core of curmudgeonliness. She only reluctantly agreed to go to the spin class with us, and she maintained throughout that she wasn't going to like it. Up until the class was over, she was the one who kept saying things like, "OK, I'll go, but I'm not going to like spinning." or "Are we really going to go to this spinning thing?" (Spoken with a hopeful lilt to the voice, as if she hoped the answer was no.) The class kicked my ass so badly that I rivaled the sweat production of the overweight man on the bike next to mine. Fern didn't like looking like she was working in front of other people. Surprisingly, Rachael the Reluctant took the ass-kicking as a personal challenge and signed up for more. She has become a regular at the spinning studio, and she has taken all of her aggressive curmudgeonly comments about spinning and turned them towards the studio's website (which deserves every last gripe and which she has to check often because the likable studio doesn't print paper schedules).

And, now, we have all three become a reluctant crew of try-new-thingers. The three of us, introverted, and inclined to stay home because it's easier, slightly cranky about the things we haven't tried, make an odd assortment of adventurers, but we've written a list and we're checking it twice, and we're going to do all sorts of New Things whether we want to or not.

Here are some sample items:
  • Take social dance lessons
  • Take a cooking class
  • Visit a Minnesota winery
  • Paddle on the St Croix
So, I'll see you at the social dance studio. But I'm not going to like it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fun Bunnies

My college roommate, Kristen, had a family parable about feeling left-out and unloved. It went something like this: Once upon a time, there was a little bunny who wanted to have fun with all of the other little bunnies, but they never invited him to join them, so day after day he sat on the sidelines watching all of their fun and games, and he was very sad and lonely. One day, he asked his mother why the other bunnies never played with him, and she suggested that he make his own fun. He should play his own games and have so much fun by himself that eventually all of the other bunnies would want to see what he was doing so they could be part of his fun.

Another friend (the one with all of the N's) says that I should have a baby by myself. It wouldn't really be by myself, she says, because I have loving and supportive family and friends. And I'm running out of time, and my hunt for dates has been largely unsuccessful anyway. You know the whole boring single-woman-wants-sperm-donor-baby story, because I'm sure you've read all about it in the New York Times magazine.

I caught myself, in mulling over this plan, thinking about that little bunny. The problem with the mother bunny's advice of making fun by yourself is that, when what you really want is companionship, frolicking by yourself just isn't all that much fun. Sure, you can play jump rope alone, and tiddle your winks in solitude, but if all you really want is company, then those other bunnies aren't going to be fooled into thinking that you're having all kinds of enviable fun by yourself. They're going to know it's a trap. And they're going to stay on their side of the playground away from your little bunny games, because you're going to reek of desperation and loneliness.

I'd be a good mom, and sometimes I'd probably have fun doing it even if I were all by myself, but the thing is, it would bring me farther away from what I really want. What I really want is a companion who will hold the rope while I jump and tiddle his winks against mine. (Why do all innocent little children's games have to sound like sex when I write about them?)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Gutter Meat

First let me say, I love my neighborhood. It's a place where young families and old people live side-by-side in stucco bungalows. It has a nice mix of ethnicities and sexual preferences. Most lawns are are littered with liberal lawn signs, and you actually see people out strolling the streets most seasons of the year. In fact, the other day, I was walking through the park, and I realized that you can tell what season it is by what sports the kids are playing. Right now, for example, it's baseball season, but the basketball hoop is still seeing a lot of action, too.

So, what's the drawback? Well, in a neighborhood where people care about their lawns and keep up with their perennials, I am shocked again and again by how much meat and bones are strewn about in their boulevards. I wouldn't even notice, if I didn't have Buddy, but I do have Buddy, and, seriously, neighbors, why wouldn't you take those rib bones to the trash? What possesses you to throw a chicken bone down next to your tree? Why would you so carelessly toss aside that hamburger and leave it in the gutter?

It's confusing. Is there really this much meat detritus all over my fair city or is my neighborhood just full of extraordinarily careless carnivores? At any rate, it slows down our walks and contributes to Buddy's ongoing digestive dramas. I mean, we can't expect him to walk on by that pile of delicious fast food wrappers without sampling the leftovers (and digging into the paper itself), can we? Somehow I think I'll have better luck convincing my neighbors to clean up after their protein feasts.