Monday, January 09, 2006
PROLOGUE | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4 | PART 5
This is the retelling of my weekend in Potlatch. As 2005 draws to a close, my cleansing days in Mexico compel me to visit the good, bad, and unfortunately unforgettable moments of the year. This unabashed introspection allows me to clear the table and prepare for the New Year. So, with uncensored permission from the other major player in this story, I present my 4th of July weekend ab ovo “not as it happened, but as I remember it.” The embellishments will come not of the facts but of the adjectives I use in describing the events as they came to pass, and the way I responded to them. Disclaimer closed, I begin the story on a Friday, the first of July, as I rushed out of work early.
I had purchased a ticket to Seattle for what would be my first Potlatch, and taken the entire following week off from work to spend some time with my girlfriend. The long distance and its initial burst of intensity had taxed the relationship, and as I drove to DIA thoughts arrived and departed my head, trafficked like the airport’s runways. I had some things in mind. First, barring divine intervention, my girlfriend and I would be breaking up at the end of my ten day stay. Second, I was excited to watch her play and also be a part of a team of characters I’d never met before. Third, I wanted us both to enjoy the tournament, spend a bittersweet week together, and part ways amicably but respectfully at its end. These were the goals I set out as I checked my baggage and casually fumbled through songs on my mp3 player coasting through the terminal’s walkways.
I have a routine when flying. I board the plane as late as possible, because I’d rather break a glass catheter in my urethra than stand and wait in the jetway leading into the airplane. I rarely travel with much carry-on luggage so I don’t need to rush onto the plane and find some room in the overhead compartments. I also never listen to the safety demonstration. I’m the guy doing anything else but listening: reading, beginning to fall asleep, making faces at the attendants. I’ve flown long enough to know the drill. More importantly, I’ve read the news enough to know the only thing to do in case of a water landing is hope the impact kills you before the sharks do. As soon as we begin to taxi the runway, I close my eyes and visualize flight. I love flying. We take off, I wait a minute, then recline my seat and sleep until they bring me my 4 oz. cup of soda and bag of bat guano flavored snack crackers. Then I crank out my laptop and write.
This is my routine.
But this wasn’t an ordinary flight, and there was nothing routine about it. I stayed awake the whole time visualizing the praxis of my aforementioned goals, and constantly replaying conversations in my head so that I would be prepared when they came. By the time the plane touched down I felt at ease, and when my girlfriend’s smile shone from the curb like a safety cone, I relaxed, smiled, and got in the bright red truck. We were happy to see each other and that night went great. Hearing her sleep, one of the last thoughts I had was that – for all the hype I’d given it – this was going to be a good week.
This is ultimate we’re talking about. The fucking sport is wrought with drama.