Friday, January 28, 2005

It's Not the Fall That Kills You...

Since the blizzard fell over the weekend, I'd been meaning to go sledding. It's the fun thing to do in the snow, like a winter roller-coaster, and I take it seriously. No upside-down garbage can lids or cheap plastic mold sleds going downhill for me; I own a hand-built wooden sled with thin metal runners for as little friction as possible. Today was, in fact, supposed to be the best sled day ever — thanks to my current unemployment, I could get the hills all to myself, so suck it everybody with school and/or jobs. No risk of sledding into some kid and winding up on "America's Funniest Home Videos."

So I drive over to Echo Lake Park, to the big hill, and bound up to the top with the sled in tow like a fucking six-year-old who uses the f-word a lot. And I sled down, speeding to the bottom, where the sled decides it's gonna bear right and toss me off onto the icy snow. Fun, fun, fun, although I really don't remember sledding hurting this much. Nonetheless, I do have the whole hill to myself, so I dismiss the experience as a sledding aberration and trudge up the hill again.

It's not an aberration. Sledding hurts even more when I get thrown a second time.

The third time, I wise up, sort of. I'll head to the least steep part of the hill, and I'll go down face-first, so I won't have my heavy boots pushing the sled in one direction or another. This works a bit better; at least, I'm not thrown from the sled this time. The sled keeps flying even when the hill stops sloping, but I'm going pretty slow by the time I crash into the safety hay-bales at the bottom. It's a pretty close call, to be honest. Some safety genius decided to build a little snow-ramp up above the hay so they could have what I'm sure is the singular pleasure of sailing off the hill and straight into an SUV grille in the parking lot at the bottom.

Anyway, it's like eight degrees outside, so I hang out in the car and warm up before a few more runs. I should've just driven home, but then again, I do have the hills all to myself, and aside from the bruisings and beatings, I am having fun.

So once more, I go up the hill, and I go down the hill face-first since it worked so well the other time. I try to slow the sled by dragging my boots across the ice, but that doesn't really help. I zoom down into the safety hay, which stops the sled, but doesn't stop me. I keep going past the safety hay until my face collides with a not-so-safety fence, effectively ending my sledding, my fun, and my dazzling good looks.