Twice in the past week I’ve been out on Lake Michigan with waves well over my head. This past Sunday was a solid red flag day out at Hoffmaster. I took a few kids from work, most of whom I don’t think had ever seen waves that big, and splashed around in 4 foot breakers for about four hours. Then on Tuesday I was watching some Internet doppler radar showing a nice blob of green moving across the lake and decided to take a chance with the weather.
I headed out to Grand Haven with Dan late in the afternoon with grey skies overhead and a few light rain drops splattering on the windshield. I thought maybe we had missed the big wave window when we first walked up. From the beach edge the waves just looked like speed bumps, but after getting closer and spending some time in the water things really started to pick up. In no time I realized we were toying with five to six foot waves. Sometimes rolling in in sets of three or four at a time. Curling and sucking back on themselves like ocean water. Big enough that half a dozen guys were out with surfboards by the time we had to take off. We settled for body surfing, but I have no complaints. Other than wishing now that I lived near an ocean.
Saturday night I caught The Killers in concert with Louis XIV and Conner at Soaring Eagle Casino. Good stuff. Good, good stuff, indeed. The Killers’ setlist was basically the entire debut album plus a couple others. They opened with “Jenny was a Friend of Mine” which was an effectivly raucous opening salvo and busted out “Somebody Told Me” a couple songs later during which the audience nearly drowned out Brandon Flowers’ vocals. Beautiful. Same noise level for “Mr Brightside” as well at the end of the night. “Under the Gun”, “Indie Rock and Roll”, and a song presumably off the upcoming 2nd album were the only songs played that weren’t from Hot Fuss.
At the library this morning I saw a man cheating while playing online Scrabble. Brow furrowed, he punched letters into some sort of hand-held anagram calculator then looked up and typed his ill-gotten word into the computer. About twelve hours later I watched Lance Armstrong and other Tour de France riders hammer up a mountain road on the Outdoor Life Network while I worked out at MVP.
I write this now because I find it striking how much differently different people choose to live their lives. One man battled back from a billion different types of cancer and trained his ass off to become the world’s greatest athlete in one particular event. You watch him ride and you can see the burning interior spirit and the unbridled confidence that goes along with knowing he’s outworked everyone as he shakes off challenger after challenger. And then… there’s the 35 year old man who’s spending a beautiful Friday morning cheating at a computer game.
Where exactly does this dichotomy occur? Did Scrabble-man miss out on one too many sunny days when he was a kid? When other kids were discovering they could climb trees was Scrabble-man out with a bad case of chicken pox?
Lately, I’ve been trying more and more to go the Lance Armstrong route, trying not to cheat myself out of a single moment of the day. At the pool last year we (Dan and I) slapped up a Lance poster in the filter house and have used this, often jokingly, as motivation whenever there is the urge to take it easy with our break time. “Would Lance stop after only 10 laps?” “No, hey, that’s okay, I’m sure Lance would sit at the picnic table instead of playing soccer.” And despite the light-hearted quips it really does work every time. Back into the pool, back onto the field. Suck from day all the the goodness you can get.
This is good stuff too (click).
Taylor lately has taken to chewing on the beer bottles we leave in the basement for future recycling. I can’t figure out if she’s in it for the residual beer flavor or for the fun of peeling off the labels. Probably a little of both. Really I’m just writing all this to have an excuse to post funny dog pictures. Look! That dog’s drinking a beer! More hilarity can be found at Flickr.
The past two days I’ve collapsed into a stupor mid-afternoon after getting home from the pool. Yesterday I passed out for an hour and a half in the middle of the livingroom floor while reading a book, arms crossed under my chest. Woke to carpet-imprinted skin and numbness from the shoulders out. Thrashed my limbs about a bit and lurched back into my day. Today I at least managed to make it to a bed. I think the two-job schedule is startng to wear a little thin. This likely will be be the last summer of PFOness whether the pools open next year or not.
I have been making it count though. Really I have. After the discovery during my lifegaurding class that I may actually be a competent swimmer, I’ve been swimming every morning before all the kids show up for swim lessons. I started fairly small, sluggishly grinding through 20 lengths. After a little more practice, I’m finding now that I can’t get enough. I swan 56 lengths this morning before the lifeguards started showing up, then banged out 28 more during open lap swim. It’s probably the most relaxing exercise I’ve ever tried. No joint stress. No environmental intrusion. Just fluid motion and white noise. Breath. Whoosh. Exhale. Whoosh.