Detours Along The Road To Enlightenment

Writing recently about the meditative value of dishwashing made me think about my own rather haphazard attempts to sit and meditate. I never did practice it consistently enough to form a habit, but it did increase my self-awareness. I became clearly aware of all the reasons (“excuses” is such a judgmental word) why I wasn’t very good at it.

First of all, there’s the sitting. Oh, I can sit, all right. I’m a great sitter. Give me a good book—or even a mediocre book—or some Sunday crossword puzzles, a notebook and a pen, or a computer with internet access, and I can sit for hours. Sitting quietly with nothing to occupy my mind? Not so much.

Then there’s the music. I’m sure you’ve all had the experience of getting a song stuck in your head and not being able to get rid of it. Well, I’ve come to realize I always have some sort of music going on in the background. Normally, I can tune it out because I’m busy thinking, or talking to myself, or listening to the voices in my head. But let me settle into a chair to meditate, and up comes the volume. It’s not easy to find enlightenment when its soundtrack is a full brass band playing “The Beer Barrel Polka” or “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

Also, for those of us who share our lives with other people who are at various stages of enlightenment or lack thereof, there’s the problem of interruptions. I have plenty of private time now, but back when I was seriously trying to meditate, my kids were still small. I would meditate early in the morning before they got up. This might have worked better if my daughter, even at age four, had not been a morning person.

I remember one morning especially when she got up early. I heard her come into the living room, where I was sitting in the rocking chair with my eyes closed. She didn’t rush over to jump into my lap, or turn on the TV, or even say good morning. Instead, she tiptoed across the room, climbed into the other chair, and settled down to wait quietly until I was finished. The problem was, she was working so hard at being perfectly still and quiet that I could practically feel her vibrating.

The sweetness of her respectful silence is one of my favorite memories of her as a little girl. It was also the high point of all my experiences with meditation.

Since then, I’ve decided that moving meditation works better than sitting meditation for me. Walking, for example. It keeps my body occupied but requires no real attention from my mind, other than looking both ways before I cross a street. It would be embarrassing, after all, to be run over by a bus or a beer truck along the road to enlightenment.

And of course, there’s always dishwashing. One particular benefit of this type of meditation is that it solves the problem of interruptions. If I’m standing at the sink, up to my elbows in soapsuds, I can count on being left in peaceful solitude until the last kettle is sparkling clean.

Categories: Living Consciously | Tags: | Leave a comment

Eeeuuw! Do Not Call

Maybe people who sleep with their cell phones clutched in their hands like electronic security blankets are used to it. For the rest of us, though, there’s a particular kind of dread that comes with being jolted out of a deep sleep by a ringing telephone in the middle of the night.

The sound wakes up the primitive part of the brain with a surge of adrenaline that has it screaming “Red alert! Run! Fight! Do something!” As you stagger out of bed, your heart thumping, the thinking part of the brain blearily catalogs possible calamities. Car accidents? Fires? Falls? Emergency rooms?

We received one of those calls last night. Well, at 1:43 a.m. today, to be precise. Yesterday was a stressful day, beginning at 5:00 a.m., with quite enough drama in and of itself, thank you. So as I staggered more or less upright, fumbled to find my glasses, and tiptoe-trotted across the chilly floor to find the phone in the dark, the closest thing to a coherent thought I had was, “Now what? We don’t need this.”

I said something that may have been “Hello?” No response. I said it again. Then a polite, even tentative male voice said, “Um . . . I was wondering if you would be willing to listen to me while . . .” And then my sleep-fogged mind cleared enough to realize this was a genuine, honest-to-goodness obscene phone call.

Too startled to even get mad, I just barked, “No,” and hung up.

It wasn’t till I was back in bed, trying to relax enough to go back to sleep while I hoped he wouldn’t call back, that I thought of some of the things I could have said. Words like “creep” and “idiot” and “slimy” figured in many of them.

Most likely, it’s just as well I left it at “no.” An outraged response was probably exactly what he was hoping for.

Finally, I did go back to sleep. It helped to focus on being grateful that at least the phone call didn’t involve any calamities. There were no injuries, blood, tears, or trips to the emergency room.

Had I met Mr. Wake-People-Up-Obscenely in person, however, there might have been.

Categories: Odds and Ends | 2 Comments

Mindfulness and Dirty Dishes

Once again, research has affirmed a something I figured out a long time ago. The latest? Washing dishes by hand is a form of meditation.

I’ve known this for years. I’ve always secretly rather liked washing dishes. Well, except for hot summer days when sweat drips off my forehead into the water and I’m tempted to do some research of my own into the anti-bacterial potential of dish soap in ice water. Mostly, though, dishwashing is one of those repetitive tasks that keeps your hands busy while it leaves your mind free to wander off wherever it wishes to go. I get almost as many great creative ideas at the kitchen sink as I do in the shower. Maybe it’s the water.

The research (does specify that, for the best anxiety-reducing benefits, dishes should be washed mindfully. “People in the study focused on the smell of the soap, the feel and shape of the dishes to help them enter a mindful state.”

I don’t spend much time smelling my soap, and feeling the dishes is mostly a matter of making sure I hang onto the slippery little critters so I don’t drop my favorite cup and smash it to smithereens in the bottom of the sink. You could probably describe my method as more mindless than mindful.

Still, there are some things about washing dishes that do put me into a state of mindfulness.

I mind when people don’t rinse their cereal bowls, and I have to attack stubborn fragments of bran flakes with an abrasive pot scrubber or scrape off bits of oatmeal with my fingernails. I’m pretty sure the adhesives used to install flooring were developed this way.

I mind when people, trying to be helpful, dump sharp knives into the sink to lurk dangerously among the harmless silverware. I just hate getting blood in my dishwater. (And why, by the way, do we still call it “silverware,” when 99.73% of the time the utensils we use are stainless steel, and most of us wouldn’t know how to use silver polish even if we had the slightest clue where to find it in the store?)

I mind when people stack plates without scraping them, so bits of uneaten food get squished in between and stick to the bottom of the upper plate. I resent having remnants of scrambled eggs or scraps of green beans float off into the dishwater and swim through my fingers like yucky little sponges or eely miniature sea monsters.

I mind when someone (naming no names, but I know who I am) lets the dishes pile up until there are too many to fit into the drainer and the dishwasher. Yes, I do use the dishwasher—it’s the perfect place to put clean dishes to drip dry. But there is a limit to how much creative stacking even an expert can do in order to avoid having to dry so much as a single plate.

Because, illogical as it may seem, while I’m fine with washing dishes, I detest drying them. I know; it makes no sense to me, either. Dish drying ought to be every bit as soothing and meditative as dish washing.

But if anyone comes up with research showing this to be the case, I don’t want to know about it.

Categories: Living Consciously | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Making the Point

Apparently scientists who study ancient artifacts like spear points and arrowheads are now able to analyze minute traces of ancient substances and, in some cases, determine what the point was used for. Finding human blood, for instance, might indicate an arrowhead was used in some sort of battle.

Or not.

I have an alternate theory. If human blood is found on a projectile point, there’s a good chance it wasn’t shed by a victim. More likely, it came from the guy who made the point.

This conclusion is based on no research whatsoever, but is supported by direct observation. I recently spent several fascinating hours learning about flint knapping. The expert who led this informal workshop has spent 40-some years perfecting his skills at making arrowheads and spear points the way ancient toolmakers did.

His materials—chunks of obsidian and flint—were certainly authentic. So were some of his tools—rounded rock hammers and the heavy base of a moose antler for striking off flakes, deer antlers with use-polished tips for finishing edges. So, I’d guess, were the palm-sized pieces of leather used to grip the sharp pieces of rock.

He also had more modern tools—”modern” in this case meaning mostly Bronze Age as opposed to Stone Age—a well-used copper hammer with an antler handle as well as copper rods mounted in plastic handles. He toted all this stuff in tall plastic buckets—modern conveniences that ancient artisans would probably have traded a couple of their best points for.

The flint knapper made a couple of spear points, explaining as he worked. How to hold the rock just so and apply just the right pressure with your fingertips to help control the energy and keep the rock from breaking. How to strike just the barest edge of the piece to flake a precise shard off the bottom. His expertise and his knowledge were amazing. Just like him, those ancient flint knappers must have been skilled rock scientists and engineers.

But even experts have to start somewhere. After a couple of hours, the students were invited to try their hands. I didn’t, having already decided that my hands weren’t up for it. A wise decision, I decided after watching for a while. Especially after I saw all the blood.

Obsidian flakes are sharp. People used to kill mammoths and bison with these points, remember. And in the hands of a novice knapper, not even leather hand protectors are enough to prevent nicked fingers, sliced thumbs, and punctured palms.

By the end of the afternoon, each student went home with a self-made spear point, a heightened respect for ancient toolmakers, and several bandaged fingers.

The ancient craftsmen might have valued those plastic buckets. Their apprentices, I’m sure, would have appreciated band-aids even more.

Categories: Odds and Ends | Tags: | Leave a comment

Sleeping With the Animals

I’ve never been in the habit of sleeping with members of species other than my own. True, there have been a few exceptions: the one-night experience with the snoring cat from Boise, whose name I never did catch, and the slightly longer but still clearly temporary relationship with Lucy the watchful chocolate Lab.

Otherwise, the various critters who have shared my household over the years were roommate acquaintances rather than intimate bed-sharers. The six or seven cats who came and went did most of their sleeping during daylight, lolling around the house all day and then going out at night in search of adventure elsewhere. Various other critters lived in cages in the rooms of various children, with occasional lapses. The guinea pig (Or were there two? I don’t remember—they all look alike, you know) escaped to precarious freedom inside the bathroom wall. The salamander sought sanctuary beneath a stack of towels in the linen closet, where I found its mummified corpse a few years later when we moved. The four uncomfortably large rats eventually drove their owner out of his own room with their gnawing and their odor, and in consequence they were banished to the garden shed.

But this past weekend, I found myself in a situation that got out of hand. As so often happens, it started out innocently enough. I spent a day and one night with one family of grandkids while their parents were off on a much-deserved short vacation.

The children are four, two-approaching-three, and one. Besides their sweetness, intelligence, charm, and general grandchild exceptionality, one thing that makes them so amazing is the way they go to bed. Willingly. Without fussing. When I carried the baby into her room at bedtime, she lunged toward her crib as if to say, “Finally! This grandma, who seems nice enough but is a little slow, has finally figured out that I’m sleepy.”

Once settled in, these marvelous children sleep soundly like little angels until morning. This, theoretically, means a spending-the-night grandma who is a light sleeper can do the same.

But there is the little matter of the two dogs. During the day—in between naps—one of them patrols the back yard and chases invading birds and squirrels. The other prefers to hang out indoors, but—in between naps—she has a frequent need to go outside and come back in. Opening the door for her easily adds up to a couple of hundred steps for her human minions; if she isn’t getting a commission from the FitBit people, she should be.

Given these busy schedules, it’s not surprising that the dogs go to bed as willingly as the children. This would be great for a spending-the-night grandma, except that the dogs sleep in the master bedroom. True, they have their own beds on the floor. And on this particular night, they were very well-behaved. They didn’t squabble; they didn’t bark; they didn’t jump onto the bed; they didn’t once ask to be let out.

But they did snore. In different keys. They also snuffled and snorted and coughed. Every now and then one of them—dreaming, maybe—scrabbled against the foot of the bed with its toenails. Several times one or the other either had to scratch a mighty itch or had to get up to stretch and shake itself all over. In either case, the process involved a great deal of collar rattling, loud flapping of ears and jowls, and deep sighing. One of them also sneezed periodically. The first time, half-asleep as I was, I automatically said, “Gesundheit!” Then I realized how silly that was—duh; I know perfectly well the dogs don’t speak German.

It was a long night. By morning, I was thoroughly convinced of the wisdom of my lifetime choice to limit my sleeping partners to the human variety. At least if they snore, one can poke them lovingly in the ribs and gently suggest that they roll over.

This does not mean I’m prejudiced or xenophobic. I am not a bigot. I am not a speciesist. I have a great deal of tolerance, even affection, for many members of species other than my own. It doesn’t even bother me if my children sleep with them. Just as long as I don’t have to.

Categories: Family, Just For Fun, Wild Things | Leave a comment

If Miss A. Could See Me Now

Lately I’ve been reminded of the reasons I hated gym class in high school:
• The challenge of learning games that everyone else seemed to already know
• The awkwardness of being physically awkward
• Comparing my uncoordinated self to girls who were athletic enough to do things like serve a volleyball over the net rather than into it
• Most of all, being intimidated by Miss A., whose teaching style was impatient and who indelibly taught us to associate running laps with punishment.

What’s bringing back those unhappy memories is the fact that I’ve recently joined a gym. It’s not because I’m dreadfully out of shape or unfamiliar with working out. I’ve been exercising quite comfortably at a women’s fitness center for several years, and I even have real muscles to show for it. But that place moved to a less convenient location, and instead of moving with it I switched to a different center much closer to my house.

This one is—gulp—a real gym. It has unfamiliar and intimidating machines with enough settings to make me wish for instruction manuals. It has racks of weights, some of which are heavier than I am. It has guys working out there, some of whom have more than enough muscle to lift those weights.

The first few times, just walking into the place felt almost as uncomfortable as trotting reluctantly into the high school gym in my ugly uniform. The difference is that now I appreciate the challenge—well, sort of. I know I can learn the routine and the machines, because I’m choosing to. I’m sure it won’t be long till I feel right at home.

Especially because the gym manager is a middle-aged woman who, while she is fit and toned and looks great in Spandex, is also friendly, supportive, and more than willing to answer questions. The young muscle builders are casually friendly and so focused on their own workouts that they don’t really care what anyone else is doing. And there are plenty of members, both men and women, who are long past comparing their physical prowess to anyone else’s and just want to stay in some sort of reasonable shape. Pretty much like me, in fact.

But the other day, as I finished my workout, I did start to wonder what Miss A. would think if she saw me now. Back then, I had the impression that she didn’t like me—which, given my level of non-enthusiasm for her field, was hardly surprising. My sole experience of detention was from her, a punishment for saying I lost track of how many sit-ups I had done because I was too embarrassed to admit how few I had managed to do. Possibly, had she been a bit more encouraging and a bit less sarcastic toward those of us who were athletically challenged, I might have felt safe enough to tell her the truth.

Sorry, Miss A., but in some ways I am still a physical education failure. After all, I never have learned the rules of softball or basketball, and I’m still pretty vague about volleyball. All through adulthood, I’ve never played the first two and very rarely participated in the third. Nor have I ever tried to do gymnastic moves on a balance beam or attempted a flip on a trampoline. I’ve never run laps, either—they are as unappealing to me now as they were in high school.

On the other hand, I do walk two to four miles almost every day and work out four times a week. I only weigh five or seven (okay, okay, maybe ten) pounds more than I did in high school. I can jitterbug, waltz, and foxtrot for an entire evening, with the occasional polka thrown in for a little extra cardio workout. I can easily hike up and down small mountains. (Harney Peak, anyone? The view from the top is wonderful.) And perhaps most important, I am able to comfortably lift toddler grandchildren and carry them for moderate distances. I do, however, draw the line at combining grandkid-toting and mountains.

I don’t know what you’d think of all that, Miss A. Even better, I don’t care.

Categories: Remembering When | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Don’t Try to Flirt with Me; I’m Busy

It’s a late spring Saturday afternoon on a small college campus. A pretty freshman girl in a bikini—a modest one, sewed by herself from a Simplicity pattern—is sunbathing on the lawn by her dorm.

Along the nearby sidewalk strides the football coach, towing two high-school seniors, potential players he is recruiting. The coach veers off the sidewalk, with the boys trailing along like baby ducks behind their mother, and approaches the girl.

She knows the coach, partly because she took his biology class last semester—yes, the college is that small—and partly because she has a campus job in the admissions office. Still, she’s surprised when he comes over to ask her a question related to admissions. Especially since she knows perfectly well he knows the answer as well as she does.

She’s also somewhat annoyed. It’s Saturday. She isn’t working in the admissions office; she’s reading, and the coach has just interrupted her for no apparent reason. Plus she feels uncomfortable lying there on her towel in her bikini being loomed over by three tall guys.

But the girl doesn’t know what else to do, so she answers the coach’s question. He introduces the boys. After a short interval of awkward conversation, the coach and his prospects resume their campus tour. The girl briefly wonders what that was all about, gives a mental shrug, and goes back to her book.

The girl was about 35 before it dawned on her what that had been all about.

Granted, I am a smart person and was a smart person when I was in college. I also may have been just a teeny, tiny bit naive back then. I didn’t figure out the equation: “Football prospects + (attractive girl sunbathing x introduction and mild flirtation) = slight improvement in ratio between skill of said prospects and chance of their choosing tiny South Dakota college.”

Of course, the coach had a few problems of his own with that equation. He thought the “flirtation” part was a constant and didn’t realize it was actually a variable.

I have no idea whether those two boys enrolled in our school, though I doubt that their brief encounter with me had any bearing on their decision. For all I know, they showed up and became campus athletic legends. I might even have typed term papers for them, as I occasionally did for clerically-challenged students. (I charged by the page, faithfully transcribing any errors in grammar or spelling because editing someone else’s homework would have been unethical.)

Or maybe they went someplace where the girls were friendlier. Sorry, Coach.

Except, looking back now, I’m not really sorry. It’s been decades since I sunbathed, and I haven’t worn even a modest bikini since I was blessed with children and stretch marks. But if I did happen to be lolling in the sun these days, I still wouldn’t appreciate being interrupted and loomed over. Especially not by guys assuming any female in a bikini would find them more interesting than a good book.

Categories: Remembering When | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

A Car By Any Other Name

My car—the first vehicle I ever bought brand-new—turned one year old this month. Even though I’ve put 19,000 miles on it, tolerated toddler spills and cracker crumbs in the back seat, used it to haul furniture, and driven it in mud, I still think of it as my “new car.”

So I don’t understand why Honda keeps sending me emails about their latest models. Excuse me, marketing department? That thing in my garage is not a pair of jeans or a jar of face cream. I haven’t worn it out or used it up yet. I don’t need to buy a new car this year. In case you hadn’t noticed, I did that last year. At least give me time to figure out how to operate the hands-free phone calling and get comfortable with the backup camera.

But Honda’s latest email did catch my attention. Apparently the newest redesigned version of the Accord features an “aggressive new exterior.” Excuse me, marketing department? Did you not notice the name of this car? It’s the Accord. That means “agreement” or “harmony,” as in “peace accord.” This is the vehicle some people call the “Jesus car” because of the Bible verse where Jesus and the disciples “went with one accord.”

Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t help wondering why a car named after peace and agreement needs an “aggressive” exterior. What’s next? The brand-new Oxymoron?

My own Honda is a CR-V. I presume CR-V stands for something; I have no idea what. Maybe if I actually read the owner’s manual I might find out. As far as I’m concerned it’s a Commonsense Reliable Vehicle, which certainly works for me.

Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe the people who market cars and I just don’t think along the same lines. Oh, I could easily come up with names for new car models. I’m just not sure the industry would welcome many of my bright ideas. Like these:

The Mammoth Jack pickup. Dependable, smart, and sturdy; it may not be stylish but will get you where you need to go and haul anything you need to take along. Features built-in social networking; you’ll get to know all your friends and neighbors better every time you help them move.

The Roller Skate sports car. It features miniscule cargo space, enough power to guarantee you that second look from the highway patrol, less legroom than airplane economy class, and a sightline level with other vehicles’ hubcaps. Warranty valid for driving on sunny days, May-Oct only. But all the neighbors watching you polish it in your driveway every week will know exactly how you got through your midlife crisis.

The Bike Helmet micro-mini car. Slightly more cargo capacity than a bicycle; not safe to drive on freeways in winds over 10 mph. But you’ll only need to fill the gas tank every other month, and you can practice three-point turnarounds inside your garage.

The St. Bernard SUV. Your best friend for winter driving; pushes through blizzards and deep snow drifts. Comes in all colors except white; the most popular is Warm Brandy.

The Nanny mini-van. Includes all basic safety features like child-proof door locks and window controls, plus starter system with built-in seatbelt-fastening verification. Backseat upholstery is stain-resistant and sound-suppressing. To insure conflict-free road trips, offers headphones with programmable age-appropriate storytelling, individual environmental controls, snack coolers and spill-wiping arms at each back seat, computerized tracking of who last got to sit by the window, automated GPS “how much farther?” answering feature, and optional but recommended anti-“he’s touching me!” barriers.

The White Elephant pseudo-military vehicle. This bulky, macho super-SUV can’t be easily parked in a conventional space (unless you have no scruples about squashing smaller cars), may not fit in your garage, and offers worse fuel economy than an RV. But everyone will certainly notice that you have it. And because it’s so expensive to buy and maintain, it’s the perfect way to impress the neighbors with your financial ineptitude.

Maybe there’s a reason why I don’t have a career in automotive marketing.

Still, I can think of one vehicle that almost everyone would want: The Transporter. Never mind what it looks like; it gets you there in an instant.

Categories: Just For Fun, Travel | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

What Kind of Woman Do They Think I Am?

The nice young man really didn’t mean to insult me. All I did was mention that I regularly go to a meeting on Saturday mornings. All he did was ask, “Is that your motorcycle club?”

It was obvious from his tone and his grin that he meant no offense whatsoever. He was clearly teasing, with no sarcasm intended or barbs attached. It was equally obvious that he couldn’t in his wildest dreams imagine me as an adventurous motorcycle mama.

He had no idea that his innocent words were such a blow to my self-esteem. I had not been so inadvertently insulted since the time years ago when a middle-aged man, trying to explain why some people drool over Corvettes in spite of the fact that they have no room to haul recycling or groceries, said, “You just don’t understand, Kathleen—a car like that is a chick magnet.”

What kind of person do these guys think I am?

I’m afraid they must see me as somebody who:

• Wouldn’t even think of going hiking without a water bottle, sunscreen, bug spray, and a broad-brimmed hat.
• Would much rather read about intrepid explorers than follow in their footsteps.
• Shudders at the very idea of ever getting even a teeny-tiny tattoo.
• Went on a roller coaster once in her life and still hasn’t recovered from the experience.
• Thinks bungee jumping is probably injurious to the brain cells, except that the brain cells of anyone crazy enough to try it are obviously damaged anyway.

Sigh. Well, yeah, I guess I have to admit it. I am that kind of person. Mostly.

But wait—there’s more. I’m also the kind of person who has a motorcycle endorsement on her driver’s license. Really.

Back in the early 1990’s I was persuaded by my husband to take a motorcycle safety class. He had the idea that we could putter around the back roads of the Black Hills on his two decidedly non-Harley motorcycles. I made it through the class, too. Here are the main things I learned:

• If you slow down too much going into a sedate little turn in the safety of a level parking lot, you’ll probably tip your motorcycle over.
• If you do tip your motorcycle over, and you’re a slender woman of slightly less than average height, you may not be strong enough to pick it back up.
• Acing the written test about motorcycle safety and operation doesn’t mean you’re qualified to actually drive one.

Thanks to taking that class, I was licensed by the state of South Dakota to drive a motorcycle. Thanks to everything I learned in that class, I have never ventured to drive any kind of a motorcycle on any public road. Both the state of South Dakota and I are better off because of this, even though only one of us is aware of the fact.

I never have bothered to remove the motorcycle endorsement from my license, though. You may suppose that’s because I still harbor fantasies that I might someday use it.

Nope. Never have; never will. Deep down inside, I never think of myself as the type of person who might put on something outrageous in black leather and fringe, hop on a Harley, and roar off into the sunset in search of raucous adventure.

But once in a while, it would be nice to think that other people might possibly think I could be.

Categories: Just For Fun, Odds and Ends, Travel | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

What Happens in Sturgis Stays There, Unless Somebody Tells Your Mother

The 75th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally has probably set a new attendance record. Apparently no one knows for sure. Counting motorcycles may seem simple—just count the wheels and divide by two. But what with bikers coming and going at different times and spreading out all over the Black Hills, it isn’t that easy to come up with a crowd count. Especially since, as more and more older riders have switched to trikes, the math gets complicated.

Still, it seems appropriate that several other world records have been set during this year’s record-setting Rally. One was truly impressive: daredevil Doug Danger successfully jumped his Harley over 22 cars. Evel Knievel would have been proud—or at least envious. I just hope this doesn’t inspire any of my grandchildren to go and do likewise.

Another world record wasn’t set at the Rally, but it’s being celebrated here. The record-holder, Bobby Cleveland, has been here all week as part of a tour. People are welcome to rev the engine of his record-setting vehicle: a customized Snapper riding lawn mower that was clocked at 96.5 miles per hour on the Bonneville Salt Flats. And yes, it cuts grass, too.

In this spirit of competition, another group of Rally-goers set out to get into the Guinness Book of World Records, too. Their goal: To be the largest number of people ever photographed at once in their underwear.

Yes, apparently there is an existing world record in this category—2270 people. It happened in Salt Lake City. The organizer of the Rally attempt didn’t seem to know further details like who, when, and why. Too bad; inquiring minds would like to know. This inquiring mind, however, decided not to try to look it up. I didn’t want to deal with the kind of spam that would inevitably show up if I did an Internet search combining terms like “photo” and “world record” and “underwear.”

Unfortunately—or fortunately, depending on your point of view, the Salt Lake City record still stands. The Rally group all seemed to have a good time, including the reporter who covered the uncovered event for the Rapid City Journal. But they barely mustered 182 people, not much of a thong—er, throng.

What caught my attention about the article was the description of one participant, a Wyoming woman in her early 40’s, who “asked not to be named for fear her mother would see it.”

I completely understand that sentiment. When you live in a sparsely-populated state like South Dakota or Wyoming, no matter where you go you’re likely to run into someone who knows your mother. Or your grandmother. Or your second grade teacher. Which means, if you’re doing something a little odd, like, oh, posing in your underwear with a bunch of other giggling bikers, someone is potentially going to tell your mother all about it. It’s a sort of pre-Internet version of Facebook, just, thankfully, without the pictures.

But in this case, there are pictures, right there in respectable newspapers for anyone to see. If I were the woman from Wyoming, I’d hope my mother wasn’t checking out Sturgis Rally photos with a magnifying glass.

Of course, if she did indulge in that kind of voyeuristic snooping, she probably wouldn’t admit it. She’d be too afraid that somebody would tell her daughter.

Categories: Just For Fun, Odds and Ends | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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