Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Driveway Olympics

While it's too late for the upcoming Sochi games, I think we Mainers should lobby to get a new sport included in the next winter Olympics. That gives us four years to convince the powers that be, which is plenty of time to close a few bridges and snarl traffic in some key cities to accomplish our goal. The sport is Freestyle Driveway Gymnastics, which is a thrilling combination of standing luge, slalom and downhill skiing, and of course gymnastics. It is practiced daily in my neighborhood, sometimes with dire results: Just two years ago a neighbor gave it her best shot and ended up hospitalized for two months with a collapsed lung. And as I write this, a friend of mine is lying in a darkened room recovering from a concussion he earned after falling on the way to his car. (A valiant effort, we wish him a speedy recovery!)

Despite those horror stories, yesterday I bravely undertook the sport to retrieve two trash bins that were out there, rolled out two days ago by Mitch who is A, fearless and B, mucho macho. But he's gone now and it's all up to me. (Same with the frozen hot tub motor currently on life support, but that's another story.) A few old newspapers out there are hardly worth the effort and so they'll rot there until spring, like those corpses on Everest. But the trash bins are important enough to risk life and limb, and I was determined to get them without injuring my already imperiled hip, an added handicap to an awesome undertaking--think Lindsey Vonn.

Props are allowed and so armed with an ice chipper I found in the garage, I set out for the end of our driveway, a distance of four car lengths only without any cars to hold onto. Instead what lay before me was a barren, bumpy sheet of ice with some patches of gritty sand Mitch threw there days ago when he made his own successful attempt. Those patches were my only hope; did I mention the driveway slopes downhill? I knew I could lose my balance at any moment and go flying.

I hoped no neighbors were watching, but I was sure they were since there's little else to do around here in winter but peer out the windows and see if it's spring yet. Rather than let that knowledge spook me, it emboldened me to show Polly, Sue and maybe even Terry, although I haven't seen her in weeks and for all I know she's dead in her own driveway, that it could be done.

The whole thing took about 20 minutes, and I almost fell once but finally made it to the bottom. Coming back was easy as I could just hold on to the trash bins and pull them slowly back to the garage. In my mind, the crowds were cheering. I definitely plan to compete, should I survive three more winters like this one.


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