Monday, June 20, 2005

lovey me muscles

When I was a kid, one of our closest neighbourhood friends loved to play at being macho. He liked to roll up his t-shirt sleeves to the top of his arm and shoulder joint, flex his ropey little-kid biceps and say "Lovey me muscles" in a fake manly voice. Then he would kiss them, his biceps, one at a time, making a loud smacking sound each time.

One time, at our cottage on a hot summer day, he found a garter snake basking in the sun. He caught it and wrapped it around one arm, then flexed, and did the lovey-me-muscles thing.

I'd seen the act before, of course, and though the snake added an element of drama and danger (despite being only as big around as a dime), I was kind of tired of it I guess. When the snake got tired of it too, it bit him. He yelped and dropped it, and I felt a mixture of sympathy and relief, for him, for us, for the snake.

This friend and I, being of strangely similar temperaments, used to compete for attention. He was clever and charismatic and older, so I had to work to keep the challenge going. I can't remember what I did to try to keep up that time, but I am sure it was silly and not particularly well thought-out. Ah, the heedless and fragile egos of children.

So I went on a second paddling course this weekend, a women's solo canoe thing. It was great to be instructed by a woman, who, like all good paddlers, looked like a dancer when she executed those smooth perfect strokes with proper torso rotation and changing angles and placement of the paddle.

The first day though, I arrived exhausted (mentally and physically), a little emotionally overwrought, and hormonal. I also, conveniently, was stricken with the runs starting just after lunch. So I was not in fine form. When I wasn't fretting about possibly dumping (myself) in the water by executing a turn in fast water in some incorrect way, I was clenching my ass cheeks together and fretting about possibly dumping (watery shit) in my neoprene pants. A bit much.

On the first day, the women I was with and I commiserated that at moments it honestly felt like we'd never been in canoes before, despite, I am sure, having logged thousands of kilometers between us, in canoes. The solo white-water boat feels so different though, it was quite disorienting at first.

Fortunately, the second day was wonderful. We all did well. I still made mistakes, but at last it started to feel like I was actually in a canoe and that I had some control over it. We made it through many crazy big sets of rapids, executing neat little eddy turns, and hooting and laughing ourselves hoarse as we blasted through some huge standing waves.

My whole body aches from working so hard and it feels so good. My shoulders, my arms, my stomach, even my legs -- because you have to use your quads to change the angle of the boat to stay in control.

Today, I am flexing my biceps for anyone who will humour me and look. That has included a great number of co-workers. But I only kiss them and murmur "lovey me muscles" to them when I'm alone in my cubicle.


Post a Comment

<< Home