Deadline Diaries

Five Romance writers tell all.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Free to Be You and (Wimpy) Me

I met Surfer Guy (a.k.a my husband) in college in Santa Barbara. You remember, those years when you say yes to new experiences on the way to forging your own identity? So, Surfer Guy was into all sorts of things that were new to me and I said yes to a lot of them because a) I was seeking that identity, b) I thought he was cute and c) he called me “Princess.”

One time we went camping with no more equipment than a tent and two sleeping bags. I ended up with a terrible case of poison oak that began on my behind, because when I said “with no more equipment” that included the lack of a flashlight. And even when it’s after sunset a girl has to do what a girl has to do!

Surfer Guy and his roommates took me along water-skiing in autumn and we had to break ice off the boat cover before heading out onto the lake. All the boys had wetsuits and they let me borrow one from the smallest of the group. He was 6’1” and 180 pounds. I wasn’t. Somewhere there’s a photo of me with my arms sticking out like matchsticks from the half-sleeves. Oh, and I never got up, by the way, which means I bobbed around like an ice cube until someone said, “Hey, is that blue lipstick she’s wearing?”

I had been on snow skis one other time in my life when I again said yes to Surfer Guy. On our first run he took me to a slope rated “Medium.” A quarter of the way down, I dislocated my kneecap and made the rest of the run on my back in the Ski Patrol’s stretcher.

So yesterday, I was at the gym (where I tend to keep my athletic endeavors these days, for obvious reasons) when my work-out buddy mentioned she was buying a pair of roller skates and was going to start skating again. She gave me that hopeful, oh-we-could-do-this-together look. I harked back to my last time on skates. In San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park with Surfer Dude. The long, steep hill. The way he started down, slaloming back and forth, calling over his shoulder, “C’mon, it’s just like skiing!” (Obviously having forgotten how our skiing adventure turned out.)

You can guess how it ended.

You can guess why I didn’t say “yes” to my friend who is eager for a roller-skating partner. Instead I just smiled, the smile of the whole and unbloodied. “You have fun with that,” I said.

‘Fess up now! What have you tried for the sake of love, honor, pride (or a guy who calls you “Princess”) that you’d never do again?


At 7:51 AM, Blogger Christine Rimmer said...

Christie, love that pic. Now, why don't I look like that in roller skates?

What have I done that I'd never do again? Rode on the freeway on the back of a big Harley without a helmet because I was sixteen and finally had a biker boyfriend. That phase didn't last. Mostly because I've never been so terrified in my life. I mean, riding a Harley? Isn't that supposed to be exhilirating and sexy? Not. And you should have seen my hair when that bike finally rolled to a stop. Oy!

At 8:12 AM, Anonymous kim said...

I am not gifted with "graceful ability"...I have broken more than my share of bones...2 of the best were my nose (which my HS English teacher broke for me)

--and my elbow when I followed my sweet husband..."come on honey, the concrete drainage ditch is a short-cut".

Yeah, it was a shortcut all right--straight to the ER and PT. I tripped over my own feet and put out my arms to catch me from breaking my nose again...popped that elbow right out. NOT FUN!

I should probably mention that a week later we drove 1000 miles on vacation, and since we had an standard transmission car--the sweet husband had to drive the entire way! Karma???

I now know my limitations--and I hardly ever buy the "short-cut" story!


At 8:38 AM, Blogger Susan Mallery said...

Christie--what a great post. I've done tons of things. Fallen off boats, thrown up on boats, been terrified on boats. Sat in a tiny plane while the pilot turned off the engine "just to see how fast and far" we'd fall before he turned it on again. Jumped from a moving train once because we didn't think it was going to stop at our stop. The train police were really unamused by that.

The funny part...all the above happened with my dad. So I was very, very careful to never go with a guy who wanted to do any of that kind of stuff.

Kim...I soooo understand the elbow thing. I broke mine a few years ago. No great story, though. Just fell off my porch.

At 8:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tried Golf with my hubby. Any sport where they tell you, that you aren't suppose to talk definately isn't for me. We decided that day that I won't do that again. :)

Definately did the camping thing, luckily I had an easier time that Christie, but can definately say that I now prefer to stay at a hotel.

I even once dressed up to go to one of those Renaissance Faires with my at the time boyfriend.


At 9:04 AM, Blogger Maureen Child said...

Christie, I hope Surfer Boy knows what a good sport you are!!

These are some great stories, ladies!

For me, went 'camping' once with DH back when he was just the really cute boyfriend. We parked at the base of the mountain and CLIMBED almost straight up. Couldn't believe it. Scratched and dirty and WAY out of my element, I was so proud when I reached the top. Then I looked to my left and saw two people strolling hand in hand and I asked DH where they'd come from. "Oh," he says, "they took the road."


Not the end of the indignities. Sneaking off into the trees to do what a girl's got to do, I was quickly surrounded by five hunting dogs, all fighting for the chance to pull my jeans all the way off!

No camping for me.

At 9:20 AM, Blogger Christine Rimmer said...

Really, truly great stories, ladies!

Maureen's reminded me of my cousin, the mountain man. He would not be lured from the deep woods by any city girl. But being hunky and woodsy, city girls found him attractive. And he found *them* attractive. And in the throes of attraction some of those girls would fib and say how much they longed for a life in the woods.

He came up with a plan. Any girl he was interested in, he'd take on a hike--a loo-o-ng hike. He'd carry an insulated pack full of cold soda drinks. He'd stop often to show her fabulous views and ply her with Cola. Then, eventually, when nature took its course, if she just said "Excuse me" and went off behind a tree, he knew he had a keeper.

If she freaked out over the total ick factor of not having civilized facilities, he'd know she couldn't be the one...

Yeah, I know. Kinda mean. But his wife is a bona fide mountain girl and they go on long hikes often...

At 1:34 PM, Blogger Christie Ridgway said...

I am so glad not to be the only ungraceful one, Kim. And it looks like most of us aren't big campers. Did I mention my other camping experience, where in the morning as we were putting our stuff in the car, big tarantulas came out of the very ground we'd been sleeping on? EEEEEEEEK! (I am terrified of spiders.)

Surfer Guy does not consider me a good sport. (Well, I'm really not one any longer.) He teasingly accuses me of doing the only "bait and switch." I looked like an adventurous girl until I had that ring on my finger. The truth is, I wimped out on adventure way before the I do's!

At 4:12 PM, Blogger Kate Carlisle said...

Christie, where did you get that picture of me? LOL

I'll never roller blade again, that's for sure. And hiking with giant backpacks? Never again!! Maureen, that could've been my story, hiking up the mountain, with a million brutal switchbacks, only to find we could've driven up the other side....grrr.....

But the one outdoor mountain girl activity I really love is white water rafting. I'll do that any time. Maybe it's the fact that if you fall out of the boat, you can float leisurely down the river. Of course, I'll only do it in summer when the water's not freezing!

At 6:49 PM, Blogger Christie Ridgway said...

Kate: Where have you white water rafted? I've done a little rafting (American River) and loved it. But not white water. I think I might like it. I've wanted to do a Grand Canyon thing.

We hiked down the Grand Canyon and I enjoyed that. Some hiking I really like. We hiked in Zion too, and only one of us wanted to cross the scariest part of Angel's Landing. My older son. Which meant Surfer Guy, who had arranged the trip and cheerleaded the whole way had to go with him across this skinny, skinny thing. Surfer Guy is =way= more comfortable on waves, let me tell you. They took pix on the other side and son looks happy. Surfer Guy looks ghostly.

At 2:19 PM, Anonymous Barbar a Samuel said...

LOL--I'm snorting through my coffee! I bet you would look just that cute on skate!

I love all these stories.

I have been dragged many odd places with guys. My ex loved to test my bravery by doing things like taking me to how about a blues club in ghetto in St. Louis when I was the only white person for sixteen miles and blonde hair to my butt. ? It was okay, tho--an old woman in a red dress came up to me and said, "How do you like us, baby?" I wanted to dance with her.

Lately, the gig is orienteering. In case you don't know what it is, it involves going into the forest. Alone. With a compass and a map. To find little flag some sadist hung on a tree behind a rock at the top of something called a reentrant. (Which goes to show I have not lost my desire to please my man, no sirree!)

I would like to go skating with your friend, however. I like skating and nobody will go with me.


At 2:21 PM, Anonymous barbara samuel said...

Ga. Lots of typos. Sorry about that.

At 2:39 PM, Blogger Maureen Child said...

Kate!! You go rafting?? You never confessed this to me! And Christie, you too?? Jeezz.. give me a beautiful view through a pretty window and steaming cup of chocolate coffee!!

Barbara--I would have wanted to dance with that woman, too!! And what in the hell is orientiering??? have to read maps? Nope. Some poor hiker would stumble across my body years later...

At 2:40 PM, Blogger Kate Carlisle said...

Yes, Maureen. Rafting. I'm sorry you had to find out this such a public forum. lol

Hey, Christie, I've only gone white water rafting locally, on the different branches of the Kern River and the King River. I really love it. Especially the part where the rafting company sets up the tents and cooks all the meals!

Susan...small planes and jumping off trains? Good grief! But hey. I, too, have thrown up on boats so I can feel your pain there!

Barbara, what a wonderful picture of the woman in the jazz club. I'd dance with her, too. :-)


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