You Would Drink Too If It Happened To You

April 29, 2010

These days, my moments of peace are hard-won. Sometimes whiskey’s up to the task; at the bar Saturday night, my-hip hop dance teacher Erin (Miss Erin if you’re nasty) bought me two “shots of Jack,” as she calls them (“shots of Jack”…as if they were photographs).  I was at ease then, as if I had nothing to solve, or had solved it all already. I could follow her through the gestalt-lit game room and out to the dance floor, relieved.

Then, later, a new, unexpected calm.  An early spring seven-pm sunset, before leaves and before bugs. My friend Sue and I were driving around in her huge pickup (with its dairy farm shitstink) after errands. We drove to the public tennis court in our town to heckle two of my friends, brothers, as they played their now-hapless, now surprisingly graceful game.

We ought to have been line-judging for my friends in order to stem the inevitable arguments, but I looked to the side of the court, and there they were:  SWINGS, and not the godawful OSHA-safety-approved ones; these were the old fashioned, steel bar, infinite-height-achieving swings. The swings from my rickety, overheated elementary school’s playground.  I couldn’t even sprint toward them; I had to lope, skip, and variously sway my body with joy.

I plopped down on a swing, grabbed the chains,  and started pumping my legs like I hadn’t done since the fifth grade. My body was way too long for that swing; I had to precipitously bend my knees under me to not scrape the ground with my toes, but I got going, and I got going high. Next to me, my best friend swung, though not with my mania. Swinging! It was jarring, gut-swirling, dizzying; the moving air pushed my hair into my eyes and then out behind me.  Sue and I cracked jokes about our old, heavy bones on those swings, and we watched as the brothers played their set in the closing light; they laughed and swore, took bows at their double-faults.

Soon it was time to go; Sue had to make dinner for her husband, and it was getting too dark for regulation tennis (even the laughable kind) ; that moment had no intention of lasting, but it had something to say before it left: though it would not go so far as to say there are simple solutions to impossible problems, it did imply that not everything has to be impossible. Those minutes swinging were better than a gin and tonic, better than a finger of Talisker; I felt, for a brief, cracked-open time, purely good.

As the swing slowed down, I leapt off at the just the right time, landed lightly on my feet as I always had as a child; how intoxicating to discover that one possesses something that has not yet changed!

8 Responses to “You Would Drink Too If It Happened To You”

  1. papi says:

    I have a couple of bottles of Cachaca for my friends from brasil , its a great rum / vodka.

  2. Kail says:

    You can capture in six paragraphs what might take me thirty pages. Excellent work and your friends are lucky to be there with you when those moments occur. I might be biased, of course, because I love swings!

  3. Kail says:

    I was always the tallest kid in class, so I always seemed too old and big for them…but now when I see them during a walk through a park, or anywhere really…I am on them immediately!

  4. The Tailor says:

    Sam,this just proves to me that we all have to take our fors of intoxication where we can find them. It doesn't always havre to be about alcohol, either. You know I quit drinking at the beginning of the month, in time with my relocation, but I'm still knocked drunkenly silly by a couple things a week. 🙂 Nicely done.

  5. The Tailor says:

    Sam,this just proves to me that we all have to take our fors of intoxication where we can find them. It doesn't always havre to be about alcohol, either. You know I quit drinking at the beginning of the month, in time with my relocation, but I'm still knocked drunkenly silly by a couple things a week. 🙂 Nicely done.

  6. Red says:

    I feel a little less odd now when I smell a flower and giggle while on a lunch-break walk. 🙂 OK, it's not just me!

  7. Jason says:

    Superb reverie here. Thanks for inviting us for this.

  8. llxt says:

    I love the swings, except I find my ass a bit too wide. But I guess–to really live in the moment–you just ignore this feeling and give in to the ones you're describing here…

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