Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Close Encounters of the Ex Kind

[Its Christmas Eve and I can't sleep, despite running on fumes and the introduction of a lot of Exedrin PM.  I'm heartbreakingly sad and lonely.   Being with my family definitely helps, but I just can't wait until tomorrow has come and gone. In the meanwhile, here's a bit of what I wrote in my journal while wasting time in the the Portland International Airport this morning.]

I'll never know how I managed to not throw a water bottle at his head. 

You see, I'm a  thrower.  Its an affliction that I've had since I first started riding bikes and used to get buzzed by over-caffeinated steel workers on my 5:30 AM rides to open the restaurant. Luckily for me, my aim was rarely true.  Because when I was able to keep enough balance and throw with enough exactness to make contact with the fender or back wheel well of the offender, there were consequences.  Not of the good kind.  The kind that usually ended up with me riding through some one's bushes or heading the wrong way down a one way street.  

I grew out of this habit when I started Team in Training, where such juvenile behavior is frowned upon.  Maybe these antics were entertaining when I was 28, but now I'm all grown up, and, uh, a coach.  I really don't think they'd appreciate it too much if my yearly bike safety demonstration included the best method for hanging off the side of a mountain bike for the sole purpose of chucking a $10 water bottle into oncoming traffic. During rush hour.  While not wearing a helmet.

I had had at least a week to prepare for this close encounter.  He and I both use coaches that train out of the same facility and the weather and holidays had interfered with the schedule that had been guaranteeing that we would never be in the same place at the same time, lest the beams cross and the entirely of North Portland be annihilated by the StayPuft Marshmallow Man.  Or doused with a bottle of warm melon HEED.  

When 7PM rolled around and there had still been no sign of him, I thought I might have lucked out.  But in my world, there is no such thing as luck right now.  Just a gauntlet that I have to negotiate every day without acting like a total jackass.  

We were cooling down and I was giving Beth a raft of shit about something when he walked through the room.  I didn't even notice until he was almost out of sight.  Externally, I don't think I skipped a beat and then pretended to be engrossed by the data in my heart rate monitor (a piece of equipment on which I have mastered a single function).   But I did feel the glances that a few folks snuck at me after he passed through.  

Internally-well, was a different story.

First thought:  Damn, I had almost forgotten how good he looks.  (I have dated a few lookers in my time, but he is by far the handsomest in the lot.  I used to watch him when he was sleeping and wonder how my unladylike, loud, crazy-hair, t-shirt and croc clad ass ever managed to grab his attention.  I have a lot of great attributes as a girlfriend, but being arm candy is not one of them.)

Second thought:  Don't puke.  I had a sickly sweat nauseous feeling in my stomach that typically accompanies the consumption of too much chocolate frosting.  You can still taste how good the first two spoonfuls were, but now that you're done with the entire tub, all you want to do is puke until you die.

Third thought: Do NOT even think about throwing that water bottle.  

I quickly reached down and threw the water bottle down on the floor behind my bike and resumed my death grip on the handlebars.  And breathed.  I may have been out of the woods on the throwing, but I was touch and go on the emotional outburst.  I'm not sure which would have been more embarassing.  

Three, five, ten deep breathes.  He passes back through again.  It seems to take forever. This time I am brave and watch.  If he tried to make eye contact, I'll be there.  And I won't be the first to look away.

But he doesn't look and I escape from the situation with my dignity and tear ducts intact.  

Round 1:  Because I kept my cool, I win.  Even if winning only means not acting like a loser.  

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