Down on Blessing Avenue
Lovers they walk by
Holdin' hands two by two
A breeze crosses the porch
Bicycle spokes spin 'round
Jacket's on, I'm out the door
Tonight I'm gonna burn this town down
Despite what I may have led you to believe in the past, I’m not really much of a Great Outdoors type of person.
Shocking, I know.
I used to be. When I was a kid, you couldn’t drag me inside. The only way we knew that it was time to head indoors was when it got too dark to see the baseball – and the only way we knew it had gotten to that point was because someone had most likely gotten hit by a baseball because it was too dark to see it anymore.
I hate playing this card, but I think I sometimes forget how much that stupid stomach disease slowed me down and changed me.
At least back East, I could always use the heat, humidity, and bugs as an excuse to stay inside – and believe me, those all provide a valid defense in that region – but I don’t have that luxury anymore. I know everyone gets tired of me talking about how perfect the weather is out here in Colorado and it’s probably starting to lose some of its effect, so let me put it this way: it’s June and I haven’t turned on my air conditioning yet. Not in the house, not in the car, nothing. Don’t need to.
Again, it’s perfect all the time out here.
So much so that I actually began feeling the inklings of a desire to be outdoors this summer but I didn’t know where to start or what to jump into. I refuse to be a poser that moves into a new area and then starts doing everything that the locals do just to fit in. That’s the reason I didn’t ski this past winter and I wasn’t going to climb a 14er the first week of summer.
(Hey, how’d you like that 14er reference? Dropping a little CO lingo on you there!)
So I thought I would start slow.
Kid's rubber ball smacks
Off the gutter 'neath the lamp light
Big bank clock chimes
Off go the sleepy front porch lights
Downtown the store's alive
As the evening's underway
Things been a little tight
But I know they're gonna turn my way
I have recently found a great church that I’ve been going to and beyond my natural, neurotic instincts, I am actually trying to hang out with new people and be somewhat social.
The young adults group at the church is very active and they are always doing outdoorsy activities. Figuring I could only say “no” so many times before they would shun me, I agreed to go play some Frisbee Golf with the group last weekend.
Again, starting slow.
For those of you not familiar with Frisbee Golf, its like regular golf but instead of swinging a club and hitting a ball down the fairway, you are throwing a Frisbee disc (PS. Microsoft Word keeps capitalizing “Frisbee” on its own every time I type it, so I’m just going to roll with that).
Even though I had never played this kind of golf before, I thought this would be a good way to get outside and socialize a little because I love golf and was an Ultimate Frisbee Hall of Famer back in high school.
Seriously, I was the Lynn Swann of Ultimate Frisbee. I could go up and catch ANYTHING.
But then on the way to the Frisbee Golf course (yes, there’s an actual course just for Frisbee Golf) I had a sickening revelation. There’s no catching in Frisbee Golf, just throwing. And while I may be the Greatest Frisbee Receiver that has ever walked the planet, I can’t throw a Frisbee to save my life. To the point where my Ultimate Frisbee teams wouldn’t ever let me throw the disc during a game – I would just run down to the end zone and catch it.
I honestly think that if I had been driving by myself, I would have turned around and never gone to that church again just to avoid the pending embarrassment but unfortunately I was riding with other people. The way I saw it, my options now became either: (A) start throwing up all over the car so that they have would take me back home or (B) suck it up like a man and just get out there and do it.
I decided to suck it up and and once we got to the course and started playing, I continued to suck it up.
I think my first throw went about 10 feet straight and probably 50-60 feet to the left. It only took me a couple of holes to realize that if I just started out by aiming 50-60 feet the right, I could actually get the Frisbee to land straight ahead.
The highlight of the afternoon had to be when we saw some coyotes just walking around on the fourth and fifth holes. One guy in the group tried to calm me by saying that if they were going to attack us, they probably would have done it by now.
Oh, good to know.
My only question was if they ever did intend to attack would they send up some sort of warning flare or would it have just been a surprise massacre?
Just life in the Wild West, I guess.
She went away
She cut me like a knife
Had a beautiful thing
Maybe you just saved my life
In just a glance
Down here on Magic Street
Love's a fool's dance
I ain't got much sense but I still got my feet
A couple of days after the Frisbee Golf debacle, one of the guys from the group called me and invited me to go camping with them.Camping?!
Going from Frisbee Golf to Camping is like going from beer league softball straight to the Majors.
I started thinking about it and the last time that I went camping, the last time I slept-in-a-tent-outside-under-the-stars-camping was in 1994 and I was 14 years old. For those of you doing the math at home, that’s 15 years ago.
The Arizona Diamondbacks haven't even been around 15 years.
Reluctantly I agreed and spent the entire week miserable because I was abruptly confronted with how spoiled I had become over the last decade and a half in the Great Indoors.
Here were a couple of things that crept up throughout the week that made me a little nervous about camping:
- I fall asleep every night watching TV and have done so for years. There’s obviously no TV when you’re camping so unless Conan O'Brien brought his act to my tent, would I even be able to sleep or would I just lie there wide awake all night long?
- Over the past couple of years I have developed this fun little nightly ritual where I have to use the restroom two-to-three times throughout the night. What was I going to do in a tent? Would there even be restrooms out there or would I just have to use nature’s restroom?
And probably the biggest concern I had was this:
- I will 100% of the time get a head cold if I fall asleep and there is a bedroom window even barely cracked open. Here I was going to be sleeping OUT IN THE OPEN. I was positive that I would be dead by the morning.
It got to the point where I was about to cancel and not even bother with it, but then it hit me. The main reason why I hate to do new things and get outside of my comfort zone is that I don’t like to fail.
I’ve noticed it at my new job as well. I’m not afraid of getting on the phones and talking to people, I’m afraid of getting on the phones and talking to people and not know an answer. Maybe that's why I've been staying inside for all of these years. It was startling to remember how adventurous I used to be and how soft I have become.
When I really started to think about it, things like my job, or playing Frisbee Golf, or camping are all endeavors I would eventually like to do well; but it's just gonna take time.
When we got up to the campsite this past Friday night, one of the guys showed me how to set up my tent (granted, it was a pop-up tent but as you can see from the picture to the right, I was still pretty proud of myself) and the following morning another guy showed me how to light a campfire. I just wanted to throw a match on a bunch of logs but that’s obviously not the way it works. You have to start with small kindling and then add some medium size wood to keep the fire going and THEN you can add the bigger logs.
From that point on I just let myself be bad at something so that I could eventually get good at it. I was like a third grader in an astrophysics class. No matter how dumb or elementary, I asked every camping question I could think of and no one seemed to mind.
I know that I'm never going to be the ultimate outdoorsman - and I don't necessarily want to be - but I would like to know how to at least properly set up a campsite since it looks like we're going to be in this area a while.
That's realistic... right?
And there's a lot of other things I'd like to try in this lifetime, both indoors and out. Hopefully these recent experiences will give me the motivation to suck at those things for a while until I can figure them out as well.
Can’t wait to see what I get into next.
Let the failing begin.
And the girls in their summer clothes
In the cool of the evening light
The girls in their summer clothes
Pass me by