After my last post, this little corner of the blogger world has been talking around about stuff related to that topic. Amy Christensen of Expand Outdoors pointed out in her post that “Sometimes a fall is just a fall, just bad luck” instead of having some sort of deeper meaning or reflection on our abilities. I think that’s a great thing to keep in mind.
And it’s a good thing I subscribe to that philosophy, because if I believed that there were reasons behind some of life’s smackdowns I’d be sitting in a corner, rocking and sucking my thumb for the next dozen years or so. I’ve had a truly astounding run of bad luck this year, one that is so pervasive that I almost want to congratulate myself. I must be rocking some serious mojo for the world to need to beat on me this badly. I thought I was nearly at the end of the maelstrom of woe, but today the universe conspired to send me to the very expensive emergency vet clinic in Durango, not once, but twice, for two different animals. And that’s not counting the quick stop-by on Friday night. Yep, it was a $1000 vet bill day. I’ve had those before, don’t get me wrong, but this one was just mean.
Geardog has serious soft tissue injuries to both of his elbows. What the hell ever. This dog is with me 24/7 most of the time, and when he’s not with me, he’s sleeping in a crate at home. I have no idea what’s happened to him but he’s currently measuring at exactly one unit of hurting dog. Geardog’s problems were the bulk of the vet bill for the third month running, but the cat put a nice dent in my checking account too, requiring veterinary intervention for a little plumbing problem. She’s pissed, but I remind her that humans pay good money to voluntarily get flushed out. I put “L.A. Story” on for her so that SanDeE* could show her the light. The cat is unconvinced, but feeling better with the help of the vet. What can ya do but love your pets? Geardog is currently snoring away the last of his sedation and I’m hoping he’ll get better with the prescribed 2 weeks (! I despair of this length of time) of strict kennel rest.
Somehow I still found time and energy to go for a pretty long and hard ride today, with a local DH pro and another local XC/CX pro racer. I’m not a very good DH’er so it didn’t really surprise me that after about 60 seconds of riding behind me, the downhiller pulled over in front of me and asked, “Do you want some coaching on how to be a better downhiller?” After my emphatic YES, he doled out about 10 seconds of advice – advice that changed my world. Suddenly I was way faster, way better, way more stable and having much more fun. For a good part of the ride I was consumed by disbelief that no one I’d ever ridden with had ever given me this very simple advice before; or at least I thought about that during the parts of the ride that weren’t making me squeak with joy over how much fun we were having.
How much do I love this guy? A LOT. Not only for giving me the great advice, but for genuinely asking if I wanted it before doling it out. Well of COURSE I want it! But it’s nice to have the option to continue bumbling if I so choose. No matter how good the advice is, pontificating on it when it’s not appreciated is very off putting. But hey, Durango pros, for the record – I want your advice. That’s a standing invitation to coach me anytime.
We had a great ride all through the beautiful evening, our happy, giddy faces and hilarious commentary just the antidote I needed for my worries, and I didn’t even get a flat tire until the second we finished the ride. We were able to re-inflate it for the ride back to the house using a CO2 cartridge, luckily enough, since I’d naturally neglected to bring tubes or a pump. We collapsed into hysterics when, after all was said and done and we were chatting in the front yard, my nearly-flat tire let out a very audible “PFFFFT” and spontaneously collapsed into a puddle of rubber, giving up the ghost for good. As my friend put it, it was like those old cartoons showing the jalopy screeching to a halt, arriving in the nick of time – and promptly disintegrating, tires falling off, radiator spurting. It might be this second beer talking, but sometimes you just gotta flip the bird to the bad things that happen and go out and have fun regardless. Nothing pisses off the bad juju like flaunting your freedom, so I’m sure I’ll take another hard fall back to earth soon enough, but in the meantime I can be happy that despite a pretty trying day, I’m looking back on it with the surprising feeling that it was actually a pretty good day after all.
So, Geardog’s injuries have all but ruined a planned vacation with a friend and have pushed back my upcoming adventure to Alaska and the Yukon. If it were a mere inconvenience that had caused the setbacks, I’d be fighting it and fighting it hard, determined to have my way and keep my schedule, but when it comes to Geardog, everything else can go take a flying leap. At least taking the obvious line of putting plans on hold simplifies things for me, which is true in both sports and life.
And now that I’m nearing the bottom of this second beer, I can’t remember what the hell my point was. So I’ll leave you with this: when life pounds on you with a metaphorical mallet to the head, do what you have to do to deal with it, and then always remember to say “fuck it!” and go have fun anyway.