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Drunken rappelling

Last night was absolutely magical, and not in the Barry White sense of the word. It was Erin’s last night in town, so we had to do something fabulous, and not in the Liberace sense of the word. Since it was already 10:30 when she got back from her Mariners game, I decided the best choice would be a walk over the bridges in Ravenna Park. I could serve as tour guide, which I love, drawing her attention to scenic vistas and saying things like “well, here we are at the top of trees, some of which are well over 100 years old. If you look to your right you’ll see the ravine running north towards Wallingford, and to your left there is where my girlfriend tried to kill herself.” As it turned out, my quasi-entertaining banter was completely unnecessary.

The moon was full last night, and it cast enough light for us to read every scrawled epitaph deposited on the bridge in the last fifteen years or so. My favorite one: “Facial stopped smoking weed 7/23/03.” Erin and I thought it was great that Facial finally kicked the habit last month, and was proud enough to declare his intent to the part of the world that studies graffiti on hand railings. We leaned over the railing and ogled the ground far below, talking about nothing in particular, as the clouds moved overhead. When I looked up at them randomly, my breath caught in my throat. Hanging like downy cotton in the sky was the Luck Dragon from The Never-ending Story. I know that people always say clouds look like things when they don’t, but I tell you now that this one was the Luck Dragon. His body meandered like a river behind his massive, shaggy head, complete with flowing mustache whiskers, and the face of the perfectly round moon sat in just the right place to be his eye. We stared until the clouds drifted far enough away that the moon wasn’t centered anymore, then turned our attention to the people standing a ways down the walkway. They called us over, so we went to investigate.

The two guys, both drunk, one of them rational and serious-minded and the other giggling uncontrollably, had professional climbing gear and were rappelling off the side of the bridge. They knew by the length of their rope that the descent was just over 20 meters, definitely far enough to have killed Marta. We talked with them for an hour as they took turns zipping down the rope and running up the hill on the other side. The more experienced, serious thrill seeker fell so fast that the rope howled in protest and I let out a hushed “whoa”. It was intense. “It’s like a slide for grownups,” Erin said.

I said the muse was back, but she’s apparently still limping from the beating she took from my flying fingers this weekend. I had this great idea for a story for the welcome edition called “Ten things no one told you about college.” But since it was due today and I’ve only written the introductory paragraph so far, it won’t ever see the light of day. There were two problems with its execution. First, I couldn’t think of ten things that I wanted to write about. I enlisted Sven and Dillon for ideas, and they had a hard time as well. It’s not like there’s a shortage of groundbreaking experiences one is bound to have in college, but enumerating precisely what those experiences are is harder than you might think. I came up with “there are going to be people smarter than you” (a big surprise for me) and “you won’t sleep, ever,” then drew a blank. I could have just changed the title to “things no one…”, but somehow the “ten” seemed necessary. Second, I couldn’t figure out how to write the article without an air of condescension, and that’s not how I want the class of 2008 to remember me. Just using the phrase “class of 2008” makes me sound like I’m swirling a snifter of brandy and clutching my cardigan. For now, I’ve got my longest article ever coming out tomorrow, and I suppose that will have to suffice.

Posted in Musings.


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