All human life is spent trying not to fail at any more things. Reassuringly, nature’s first green is gold, her hardest hue to hold. So even she fails, and we get seasons. Failing can take infinite forms: burning food, hurting yourself, and letting everyone down. Generally, barfing is a sure sign of failure. You take a risk, you fail, and puke comes out. When walking into the boulders, hikers ask about our crash pads. With bright eyes we explain that they are for rock climbing, and they say, “Oh, in case you fall, I get it!” But there’s no “in case.” It’s inevitable, climbing is falling. I should say, “They are for falling off rocks.” Maybe you can’t identify with any of this because you’re not a walking train wreck, you have a shiny golden face, and all your wheelies are eternal, but you have definitely failed at something, and will most definitely fail at something else again.
Since the seasons of my life are marked by failure and bodily functions, I’m already very old (and wise!). This year has been tough, since we were flying between the east and west coasts every weekend for 4 months. Our current job doing street bike demos for Yamaha has been anything but boring, but it has also made it impossible for me to write coherent blog posts. Prepare yourselves for some timeline fuckery and random crying. Welcome to the ups and downs of
my food The Rampage.
These events take place between May 12th-15th, and they will serve as a time capsule for what The Rampage ended up looking like in 2016. Scene opens in Joe’s Valley. Eli has been climbing like a stretchy vision of youth, completely uninjured for months. Nachoclaws started off that way at the end of 2015, but soon after the new year, the world weighed heavy on her creaky joints, and she suffered a devastating pulley explosion. Finally, in Joe’s, led into temptation by greed/donuts/boredom, she now tapes her finger completely straight, lying to herself that it doesn’t bend while climbing. This self-deception is rewarded grandly by many exciting v7 sends, which in turn are rewarded by donuts, the most natural of positive feedback loops. On this, the 12th of May, she had been doing battle with a climb, and finally defeated it by shoving a flip-flop under a kneebar pad cheating.
After this rewarding morning, it was time for a donut reward. Eli felt that maybe we had not done enough exercise to eat donuts just yet, and insisted on crossing the river to explore the wilderness on the other side first. The river was cold, and flowed with exclusively non-donut molecules, but true love blah something something, so I followed him into the stupid canyon. It turned out to be gorgeous, full of crazy shapes and exciting choss scrambles. We wandered into what was probably not a mountain lion cave, but sure could have been, a few bolted slab climbs, and essentially no quality boulders. So sometimes adventures are nothing.
After we crossed the river back towards donuts, we visited with all of the friends who were in town, and finished the day the way we normally would, probably watching cooking shows or pretending we aren’t crying during Parks & Rec. Unfortunately, Saturday was Eli’s birthday, but I had a 7am flight Thursday from SLC for a dealer demo that weekend in Evansville, Indiana, forcing him to grow old alone. Salt Lake City is a 3 hour drive from Joe’s Valley, which means I needed to leave by 2 in the morning. I decided to get going at 11pm, with the best laid plans of sleeping at the gate once I got to the airport.
The drive was increasingly unpleasant, as every radio station managed to only play this one Justin Bieber song, which kept me awake through sheer rage. I didn’t want you to write that song, Justin, and I don’t think my mama likes you either. I raged over mountains, interstates, and into economy parking, where I finally broke free from the steering wheel and expelled a fiery hatred (piss) onto the cool, silent pavement of forgiveness. Yeah, I know, it was gross.
On the shuttle, some guy starts talking about golf and I hope he dies in a fire, to this day! I punched out the wall of the shuttle, only to be turned away at security, because they don’t open until 5am. So I tried folding my bones into the only two seats without an armrest separation, under the fluorescent lights, with some employee cleaning the fuck out of the floors with some impossibly potent chemical. Eventually, I’m in Evansville, Indiana going on 36 hours with no sleep.
Aside from starting to wonder if I’m actually a secret government experiment, the weekend goes very well. Every half hour we led our motorcycle-mounted ducklings safely around the “Stoplight City”. That’s a real nickname, and the route was so boring I couldn’t even eat my own helmet, but talking to Eric on the radio was a treat. One of many highlights of this job is being the chase rider, and getting to stop for some exciting reason (usually to scooch dead raccoons off of the road with a stick!), and catch back up to the group. One house along our route had the coolest lawn art I’ve ever seen, so Eric let me stop to take the picture at the top of this post, and then I got to pretend I was Marc Marquez on an FZ-07 while catching back up. Alas, her early leaf’s a flower, but only so an hour… It was a lovely, successful weekend bookended by horrifying scene transitions.
The only thing I remember about flying home is blinding nausea. It first hit when we began our final descent, but I held it at bay. On board the parking shuttle I was literally shaking. Then leaf subsides to leaf, so Eden sank to grief, and at stop 5 I burst out the door and spewed sacrificial bile-water into the median, to the unbridled joy of my fellow passengers. You know what, though? Everyone fails at being alive forever, but not everyone makes it off the parking shuttle before soaking their surroundings in barf.
After being purified once again by the gracious economy parking lot, I drove through snow, hail, and rainbows, drifted around the very last corner of a 3.5 hour drive, and pulled into the gravel parking lot we called home, so Eli and I could grow old together and fall off of some more boulders, because nothing gold can stay.