Up for Anything = Down for the Count
Feliz Seis de Mayo everybody, or as I like to call it, “Remember Why You and Tequila are Not Friends” Day. I hope you lovely blog followers are not feeling the effects of too much celebrating yesterday. I, myself, am not suffering from yesterday but from today.
The first rule of improv is to say “yes,” as in go with whatever your stage partner sets as the scene. Stampeding elephant in the middle of a gun show? Yes. Riding an escalator through a strip mall with Jimmy Buffett.*Absolutely. Lately, I have applied this principle to my social life. I pride myself in being up for (almost**) anything, which is part of the reason why I’ve been remiss in posting lately. I’ll have a free evening, say, and then someone will call and say, “How does the circus sound?”*** and who can resist that. Last weekend my friend Sara, another up-for-anything kind of gal, stayed with me and we ended up going on a gangster tour in my current city. Not current day gangsters, thank goodness, but old-timey ones. Like John Dillinger. A few years back, my friend Stacia and I committed to “Say Yes in 2007,” meaning we agreed to go out with anyone who asked us. (If you missed the email, look for future writing of mine.)
This usually ends up as a great experience, or at least a great story, so I continue to do it. But every once in a while, like today, it can leave me laid up on the couch with an ice pack lamenting my advancing age and physical inflexibility.
Back in January, my friend Charlie sent me a message saying she wanted to do something neither of us had done. Specifically something mildly uncomfortable. So when I saw a deal on LivingSocial for an hour at the trampoline park I asked if that was the type of thing she meant. Apparently, it was.
Zero Gravity must have a huge liability insurance bill, despite the requirement that you sign a waiver before you can jump. It is a warehouse-sized room full of trampolines. Not the big ones, like you see in backyards or the Olympics****, but 4×4 square ones surrounded by padding. There’s an area for dunking a basketball and another specifically for tots.***** They have a foam padding pit you can dive into and a section for dodgeball (because dodging is way easier if you can launch yourself out of the path of the ball).
When I was 12 or 13, I used to spend hours with my friend Jessica jumping on her backyard trampoline, trying to launch each other into the air or attempting flips and splits. I knew I’d be a little rusty and out of shape now that I’ve hit the big 3-0, but I figured I could handle a triathlon, how hard could a trampoline be? I should have known it would be bad when the average age of the jumpers was 8. And that was factoring in me and Charlie (who turns 30 in October). After what felt like an appropriate amount of time we took our first break. We’d been jumping for so long it felt like my lungs were playing ping pong with my heart. And losing. I checked the clock, since they give you a sticker listing your allowed jump time on it, and I wanted to make sure we didn’t go over.
“We’ve only been jumping for eight minutes,” I told Charlie.
“Seriously?” she said.
Since we’re both writers, we obviously wanted to use material from today for our work. Charlie interviewed one of the referees/trampmasters (trampsters? that sounds bad) at the dunking area.
“Do you ever have older groups?” Charlie asked.
“Oh yeah, sometimes we get 30-year-old women coming in,” the referee said.
“We’re 30,” I said, pointing to Charlie and myself. This was not going well. But what can you do except get back on that spring-loaded piece of mesh and hope for the best?
We hopped back on the trampolines and proceeded to bounce. Charlie practiced Kung Fu-like moves while I did leg splits and tried doing crunches, figuring if I was going to get a workout, I might as well target the areas that need it.
“Does your back hurt?” I asked Charlie, hoping this was just a normal side effect of repeatedly pounding my entire frame against a flexible mat.
“No, does yours?” she asked.
“Kinda…” I said, wishing I had stretched this morning instead of watching three episodes of “Frasier” on Netflix. Hours later I’ve taken a bath (only to realize that it’s “ice first, then heat”), and am now leaning against one icepack with another around my neck. But I don’t regret it. Because, for 60 minutes today, I remembered what it was like to be 8 years old, or 13, when jumping on a trampoline was closest I came to flying.
*Everyone knows there are no strip malls in Margaritaville. And no escalators in strip malls. And no Jimmy Buffett…wait, he’s real.
**Remember, tequila and I are not friends. Also, but for separate reasons, volleyball.
***No one has actually called and asked me this, but I hope by putting it out in the universe they will.
****There is a trampolinist named Sarah Turner. Which is weird because I jokingly posted on my Facebook profile that I was training for the Olympics in the trampoline. But I am not. There is also a Sarah Turner who sings. This is also not me.
*****I really wished they had an area specifically for people over thirty. It would have been Charlie and I and several sweaty middle-aged dads who were both “cool” and “dorky.”