I did gymnastics for a looooong time when I was growing up. While learning tricks and new moves on different pieces of equipment, I would crash, horribly. I mean, it was so bad that my parents weren't sure I was going to make it to puberty. Once I was in puberty, they weren't sure I was going to last through high school. There is one fall in particular that I remember right before Thanksgiving break, my sophomore year in high school. I was on the balance beam, practicing my leaps and combination moves (a jump to a acrobatic). I did a hitchkick into a roundoff, landing squarely on the slender four inches of faux-leather covered wood. In a hitchkick, your left leg goes up first, followed by your right. You land on your left leg to prepare for the acrobatic move. Since I'm right-handed I always led into a tumbling move with my right leg.
It was the last practice before Thanksgiving break and I was excited because we were driving down to see my sister in college. My arms were above my head and my left leg was preparing to land on the beam. Except it didn't land. It glanced off the right side of the beam, causing my leg to cross in front of my body with my right leg still in the air. If you imagine a contorted pair of scissors, falling perpendicular to the horizon, you have some idea what I looked like. I instinctively tried to put my hand out, to stop the inevitable fall. My back hit the beam first and crushed my hand, which was trapped underneath my body. My entire left leg was scraped in a giant raspberry and I had bruises forming on my forearms and elbows. My head ricocheted off the beam, whiplash style, and I fell like a rock to the mat below. I laid there and tried to clear my head and force air into my lungs. I had severely sprained my right hand and broken one of my fingers. I still can't completely straighten it to this day. I have my own version of "the claw".
Immediately after Thanksgiving break, I was back up on the balance beam. In gymnastics, you know that the best cure for fear is to get back up and do it again, and again. You do the move so many times that your body will find the beam without your mind. You do it so many times that your body forgets its fear.
That is what dating is like for me now.
Blind Date #10: T. a.k.a.: Larry the Cable Guy
I met T. at a Mexican restaurant close to my work. He lives in way, way north Houston (really, this city is so sprawling that parts of Houston are almost in another county), but he said that he would drive into to meet me.
He works as a commercial construction foreman. He owns his own business and makes his own schedule. We had only talked over IM and e-mail a couple of times, but he had lived in my home town, not just Seattle, but the actual suburb that I grew up in, for six years. He also has two kids and an ex-wife that he didn't seem unbelievably bitter about.
I was very surprised when he started talking to hear the strongest, thickest Texas accent come out his mouth. It wasn't just the accent; it was the words he was using. He sounded just like Larry the Cable Guy. Here are a couple of examples of actual sentences: "I wodn't too smart in school. Well, shoot, if my Coach hadn't a been my history and math teacher, I don't think I woulda grad-uated," and "Sheee-it, I ain't never been out of the country before."
Yep, I was out to lunch with a redneck. He tried to tell me that he wasn't a redneck; that he just sounded like one. I asked him if he liked hunting, fishing, and Nascar (the penultimate trilogy of redneck sports). He said yes to two out of the three.
I'm a little bit afraid that there might be a shot gun in my future if don't agree to go out with him again.