Así soy

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mexican Stand-off

I stared at Paul.  Paul stared at me.
Neither of us would budge.

It started when Paul placed a funky frame (think: donkey equipment) on the ground and began attaching wheels to it.  The fact that it was 1) on the ground  and 2) loaded with wheels, could only mean he actually intended for me to lift it up.

My inner otter froze, shook his head and squeaked out "no!"  From Paul's expression I realized I had channeled both the movement and sound aloud.

He said (basically, I'm summarizing here), "Look, I'll raise it off the ground with these wooden nuggets and even some more wheels to make it easier."

I said, (and I'm summarizing,) "No."

I then pointed out that while I could see myself needing to be able to drag something heavy or push something heavy (like the totally lame computer carts at my school,) I could pretty much promise him I had no plans to deadlift anything heavier than my purse.

So then Paul, narrowing his eyes, sat on a bench and came up with one of those rhetorical scenarios that make you feel awful because they usually involve a loved one in a burning building.

"What if someone you loved is unconscious in a burning building, and you need to lift him out?"

I coolly pointed out that I was now (thanks to him) perfectly capable of pushing a relatively heavy person out of a building.  He countered that this would be too slow as the flames were roaring away.  I then replied that I would roll the person onto a blanket or rug and drag him out of the building since I had demonstrated pretty dogged ability at the slave drag.

Plus, I had already learned that in panic moments I am capable of "hulkette" flashes and so would surely find some creative and effective method of rescuing said unconscious person (Question to self: And why is this person unconscious and I am not?  How can I lift anything if I can't breathe with all that smoke?  And is the door close by or could this involve stairs?)

As Paul and I stared each other down, it then occurred to me that he was imagining himself surrounded by flames, disoriented and unable to walk and his life was in the weeny hands of a scrawny belly dancer who would not dead-lift him out of the building. 

As Paul looked more and more traumatized about being left charring in the ashes of the building, my inner otter crumbled and shuffled miserably over to the weight set. 

My hands were shiny with fear-sweat ("Fear is the Mind Killer") (Ok, but Paul Muad'Dib didn't wake up thinking, hey, I totally want to put my hand in that box) (Read the book.)

So as I tried to get into good squat form, my lower back went all limp like a kid lying on the floor sobbing.  I mentally kicked all the body parts' asses and tried to stabilize by sucking everything in as tight as possible; but I still weebled and wobbled in a sadly uncoordinated effort.

But I finished by totally holding my breath, and by keeping a fixed image in my mind: I was roasting a marshmallow on a stick over a campfire. Or maybe it was something larger.
At any rate, my totem otter is as pliant and wiggly as my lower back:
In our The Good, the Bad and the Ugly standoff,
I blinked first.

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