Friday, January 08, 2010

Two Things

I'm not really a skier. Too much equipment, too much boots and poles and gloves. Too many layers. I like all the things that surround skiing. The whooshing sounds the other skiers make in the powder. The slow, swaying ascent to the top of the lifts. The warm fires in the lodge--though I've really only been skiing in places where the lodge looks like a cafeteria. I like the way your body feels spent and accomplished at the end of the day, and the hot shower that accompanies the exhaustion when you arrive back home. The Frito-Chili Pie that you eat to replenish the energy that you spent, the wine you drink and the champagne bottle you put out on the porch to chill and forget to open.

But the skiing itself--ostensibly the point--is another story. I'm scared of it. I'm afraid that if I start down the hill then I'll never stop. I'm afraid of the uncertain motions that the earth feels like its making underneath you. I don't like that the green circle trails at one mountain have no resemblance to the green circle trails on other mountains, and that you don't get to see the elevation changes in the trails when you study the map they give you. I don't like that your friends tell you that you can "do it," and you believe them, and then you nearly expire of frigid disbelief in what your body can accomplish on its own.

I think to really enjoy skiing, you have to be a little bit outside of your body, or, rather, you get the most benefit, the most pleasure from the skiing experience when you are willing to let go enough that you feel like you're flying. You want it to feel effortless. And so, paradoxically, in order to feel those real moments of effortlessness, you have to really be grounded in your body--you have to let your body make thousands of tiny movements and adjustments as fast as your body can make them. The movements have to be totally instinctual, unconscious.

Earlier this week, while I was at the top of the second section of a blue square trail--Fox Tail at Mountain Creek, in Vernon, New Jersey--I started thinking that maybe the only way to be outside of your body, is to really become it.

The B61 bus is now the B62. Well, actually, they have split the line into two lines--the B61 now runs from Red Hook to Downtown Brooklyn, and the B62 runs from Downtown Brooklyn to Long Island City. Apparently, the Red Hook section of the line kept making the buses late, and then they would all stack up and make for a line of five or six buses all hitting a single stop at once. Or, they would all sit around at stops waiting to get back on schedule--and this makes the riders late.

I'm not sure where a person finds out about this before it happens. I found out when I was standing on Bedford and South 4th Street and the B62 arrived, which was a bus I'd never heard of. And I take buses a lot. There was a sign inside the bus that explained their thinking. I'm on board with this--ON BOARD, get it!--but I'm curious to see if it actually changes anything about how long it takes to get from one end of town to another, or if it actually makes the buses less late. What they should really do is stop that dumb curb installation at the intersection of Classon and Flushing Avenue--THAT'S why the bus uptown from there is always so dang late, because to squeeze all those lanes of traffic into the one within a single block is absurd. But I know why they do what they do. They do studies, right?

All this is to say: changes are happening.

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