398. Sanguine in Sedona

Nothing surprises me anymore. Here I am checking my blog traffic in the lobby of  the hotel in Sedona and “Play that Funky Music Whiteboy” is on the muzak soundtrack. I suppose it all has to do with the cosmic confluence of energies and vortexes that New Age folks in this town blather about. If you want your soul’s aura mapped, hey, no problem. Consider it done. Need your energy balanced?  Boom, level as a bevel. Raki and yoga are also available across a vast spectrum so that you can get your inner chakras aligned with the great Giver Bear’s liver.  Crystals and readings are omnipresent for whatever ails a weary spirit. You can get a quinoa enema with jasmine highlights at bedtime or snort gluten free steel cut oatmeal for breakfast. Okay, I am making some of this up, but it’s like the Grateful Dead’s tour bus blew a tire here and never left. Hipsters, dipsters, whipsters, and post-menopausal slipsters all chug about in their karmic glory.At any moment Vishnu could sit next to you at the organic deli.

“Is anyone sitting here?” says Vish.
“Dude, you should know that one.”
“Sir, I do indeed know all, but I do not vish to be so conceited as you.”
“Okay, sorry. What are you ordering?”
“I love the hot bean curd.”
At the next table…

“So, like, I was in Glastonbury, you know, and it was, like, such energy, you know, and I was buzzing with it in my lower spine. Don’t know what that means, but it was sooo coooool. Better than an iced colonic.  My aura was pulsing. I could feel it moving… you know?”

“Totally. Glastonbury vibes with Stonehenge and other alien sites where crop circles just erupt from the earth mother like pimples on a teenager’s face cuz the earth is going through adolescence. Sedona is so like that, man. All these canyons vibrate with past and future spirits that course through them with the monsoon rains. And it all comes to oneness in the vast random non-uniformity of nature. The Flow is where the power rolls, the current, the frequency, the quirky quarkiness of it all.” Blather, blather said the big guy who needed deodorant a year ago last winter. Arrogantly grandiose, he carried on without taking a breath while his two disciples breathed in every stinky molecule of his wizzdum. I’ve run into folks like this on a few occasions in my life, but they were on their way to psych wards.

The waitress takes their orders. “We’ll share an unsweetened iced colonic with spearmint and lemon in a recyclable paper cup that was not used in experiments on animals.”

“Great choice. We are the world. What’s inside is out, and what’s outside is in.”

Seriously? Even Jerry would hurl at such b.s.

 

I’m thinking we should never have come to this vegan garden of vectors and vicissitudes, but my wife and daughter were salivating over the menu of organic, gluten free, flavor free offerings from the Vedic beyond, imagining all their special dietary needs would be soothingly and enthusiastically  accommodated. So I drove over there in a psychological headlock, feeling like a virgin on prom night in a frat house. Nothing good was going to come of this adventure. My pessimism was not disappointed. (Is that a triple negative? What ever happened to Heidi the goat herding virgin? She got sick in the low valley as I recall.)

I was also thinking that a cheeseburger would be good, but we were immersed in a meat free/ preservative free/ hormone free / neo- Fascist food zone. I feared that the truly unwashed crowd might turn on me if I dared to suggest anything carnivorous. I ordered the Sedona Burrito. It seemed the least offensive thing on the limited menu. Beans, sprouts, quinoa, kale, and various other death defying ingredients. I washed it down  with a vodka/Pepto Bismal shake. Very proactive but to no avail. Nasty is what nasty does. It was nasty, lemme tell ya.

It was the worst meal I’ve ever paid for, even surpassing old Leroy’s Jamaican Jerk Chicken that I had on a local adventure years before. It’s hard to ruin barbequed chicken, but Leroy met that challenge before he died. And until this excursion to vegan land I thought I’d come to the end of Gastronomical Nightmare Lane. But I was wrong. This vegan burrito tasted like a dirty sock taken off a death row prison inmate and then dragged cell by cell through prison soup de jour until it dripped no more. Laid out on an unadorned white plate, even the flies would not land on this thing. In perfect hindsight I should have just eaten the plate.

My wife and daughter choked down salad somethings. I wondered if this was really a training camp for sadistic chefs and masochistic diners. No one could serve this sort of slop daily and stay in business, unless, unless every other customer were stoned out of his/her brain. Hmmmm, then even dirt would be palatable and full of cosmic vibes. It was my fault for coming here sober with taste buds that were not hobbled by psychedelics. If only I’d known and smoked up a bunch of Hawaiian herbs, I could have been in the vortex with the others instead of standing outside the party separated by plate glass. A stranger in the great ape house.

The next day we were all suffering buyers’ remorse. Immodium was coveted by all. I’ll skip the sensory details.

“Wow, I feel so freed up, unbound from intestinal fortitude but chained to the porcelain bowl.”

“We are never eating crap like that again. And don’t even say ‘I told  you so'”.

“How about ‘So, I told you’?”

“Don’t make it worse with your verbal incontinence.”

“Okay. But you know what I’d like right now?”

“Surprise me.”

“That milky chalk solution you have to drink before an MRI. It gags you and you think you’ll explode if you have one more sip, on top of Johnnie’s new dog food…”

“Shut up!”

Thank God it’s so beautiful.

 

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362. Connectivity

The first text on my smart phone was from my downstairs tenant who scarfs my wifi at work… “Heads up:  Your wifi is down.” Wow, the first message of my day tells me that I have been disconnected from the world of Facebook and email and… oh no, my blog. I can’t be cut off from my psychic crutch!! What will my three secret followers held in a North Korean gulag do? I’ll have to call Dennis Rodman and Tom Cruise later to reset the linkage. International back channel diplomacy/espionage is not for the weak willed or timid tummied. It’s time to Growaset!

Well, it was coffee nation morning so I had to be off to the monkey cage. No time for silly things like cyber-connectivity. I was on my way to the beaten up couch and chairs where six of us would huddle and talk a bit too loud to be considered mannerly. Joel the rabble rouser was not in residence. He’s traveling in warm places this week and next. It’s a rendezvous with Sheila the mule in the Grand Canyon, which I will share in another post, after the preliminary hearing and terms of bail are set. Last week he tried hard to start an insurrection, suggesting that if he won the lottery he’d buy us all coffee for life, thus unseating and usurping my imperial rule. I had to beat back their fantasies of democracy. What if mules got the vote?  Do you think they would keep hauling fat tourists in and out of the Grand Canyon?  NO!!  I will never be usurped while I am busy surping my Sumatran blend. No coffee nation, no banana republic, no fundamentalist theocracy is or ever will be a democracy. But tyrants are people too. We serve a useful purpose among herd animals. Joel came to his senses and repentantly bought my coffee last Friday. A small but sincere gesture of rapprochement, which is French for detente.

Rob the young blood was already in coffee mode when I arrived. He apologized for asking me a serious question on No Thinking Thursday, but I allowed it due to the fact that we were technically ten minutes early. After all, I am a benevolent dictator. Steve rolled in wearing jeans and sneakers. Another paid day off for him. Sort of. He volunteers his accounting skills to the high school band, which he plugs shamelessly. “Hey, we’re having another spaghetti dinner next Friday. We raised all kinds of money for the marching band competition, which we hosted and won last year. FAMBU accredited. So we are.”

“And what does FAMBU stand for?”

“Oh, the Federation of American Marching Bands Unlimited. Don’t make the mistake that the last treasurer made and call them BAMBU, which is the Brotherhood of American Marching Bands Unlimited. They are posers to the throne of Martial Music. He was escorted off school grounds and roughly de-badged, that guy. Whew! We had to start with all new passwords. Lemme tell you, it was a hot mess.”

Mercifully Doug rolled in and shook hands around. I quickly diverted the band conversation to Rob and the Steelers. “So, Rob, the Steelers are done now, eh?”

“Yeah. I guess I’ll be pulling for the NFC team in the Super Bowl. I can’t get behind New England or the Broncos.”

Steve, “New England cheats all the time, right?”

All, “Yep. Steve, you go to one Ravens game and now you are a sports guru.”

Steve, “I don’t think Brady should even be allowed to play after deflate gate.”

Rob, “Yeah, the MVP of last year’s Super Bowl and he was almost suspended four games. You know the Seahawks lost that game because they were trying to make Russell Wilson the hero and not Marshawn Lynch. Wilson is nice and Lynch is not, i.e., marketable. And it backfired. So the cheater got the MVP.”

Lance, arriving fashionably late. “Let me strut my swagger, gentlemen.” Handshakes around.

Rob, “The Seahawks have never won a Super Bowl.”

BS,” Correction: they won the year before, remember? They crushed Peyton and the Broncos.”

Rob,”Oh, right.”

BS,”Doug, here is a trivia question for you. Name the only Doug who was the Super Bowl MVP.”

Lance-a-blurt, ” Doug Williams, Redskins.”

BS,” Thanks for your blurtation, Lance. You didn’t even raise your hand!”

Lance, with both hands in the air now, doing some full body butter churn torso wobble. “And, that was the strike shortened year… late 80’s, Super Bowl 22…”

BS, “Just shut up now! We were doing fine with our low football IQ until you came in showing off.”

Steve, “Deflate yourself, Lance.”

Lance, “I think not. My tee shirt says, Grown a set.”

Steve, “Don’t get me started…”

BS,”Uh oh, looks who’s riding into town. Cowboy Chuck!”

Chuck canters through the chairs with horse swagger, handshakes around.

“The girl asked me if I was in Coffee Nation. How’d she know?”

“Lucky guess or you look like the other five circus clowns in the back room.”

Chuck, “So have we solved the world’s problems yet? Cuz ya’ll was loitering like this the last time I was here…”

BS,” Which was two years ago.”

Chuck, “I can’t remember if it’s the second or third Thursday of the month…”

BS, “Shut up! Look, this is why you are a bench warmer and not a starter like Steve. He leaves one of the largest multinational corporations in the lurch almost every Thursday at 8:30 so he can run on our squirrel wheel. No excuses from Steve O. He leaves it all on the field, Chuckie. He’s a team player not some lone wolf who rolls along like a tumbleweed…”

Chuck, “I’m sorry, man.”

BS,”It’s alright, man. We just need to hug our way through it. We’re all glad that you’re here.”

Chuck, “Yeah, I need me some connectivity.”

All, “That’s right, right on. Come on down.”

BS, “As the late great Marvin Gaye said…

What’s goin on? Tell me what’s goin on. You know we’ve got to find a way, to bring some love in here today….what’s goin on?”

 

 

317. Don’t Call Me Cupcake!!

Joel and I walked into the coffee shop together. Barristas Becky and Cali noted that we were both wearing shirts that were pink or coral. We did a two step for their entertainment and a little shuffle. I suggested that the girls wait on him first since at his advanced age he does not have long to live. They complied.

Then Becky wanted to take our picture, not sure why. Posterity? Security?  We declined. Then she offered us free cherry cupcakes if we would model them, since they were pink and matched and it was very girly.

Image result for girls taking pictures with smartphones

We posed happily yet wearily. Not really. I just wanted to type that. “They were weary of the world, these two world weary soldiers from World War II.” We sat down at Table 1, seats A and B.

“Are you going to put this in the blog?” Joel asked as he chomped into a chicken salad wrap.

“Maybe, if it gets legs and walks farther into my deep twisted cortical brain center and passes through the ulterior medulla matrix.”

Looking a bit edgy over his round lenses, “Don’t go all psycho babble on me, please!”

“Easy, laddie Buck.  Did a hornet fly up your butt this morning? You are not your usual jovial soap bubble self. Where is my Bubbles?”

“You know most people just write about what happened in their rather dull days. It’s not challenging or disturbing, but you have to twist everything into knots… No wonder that guy on Facebook was so upset with you.”

“Don’t start, Joel. He was a Trump supporter, which is sort of like being a proud jock strap.”

“Yes, that’s true. I just don’t feel like being agreeable today. I’ve been living in a motel room for the past four weeks while contractors gut my house.”

“I thought you were gutless and therefore unguttable. That’s impressive. Which motel?”

“You can’t put that on the internet. I could be robbed or bothered in some way by the nitwits who read your blog drivel. Then I’d have to sue you for exclamation of character.”

“I wouldn’t use your actual room number.”

“No!! Out of the question.”

“Now Joel, just because your pantyhose are in a wad does not mean that you can insult the vast millions of good people who read my blog devotedly. What did you do to get so cranky?”

“I don’t want to tell you.”

“I see. Do you want me to guess out loud? Three, two, one. Okay, Uh hum: DID YOU GET BEATEN UP AT THE DRAG QUEEN CLUB AGAIN?”

“Shhhhh, stop it! For goodness sakes!! I have a reputation to uphold. If you must know, I hit myself while pulling up a stake in my yard this morning.”

“You hit yourself with a stake or were you trying to drive a stake through your heart to kill the zombie Dracula who sometimes rises in your chest when the moon is full?”

“No. It was a metal stake for surveying purposes. And it hurt.”

“That’s a lot of self loathing.”

“It was an accident, a clumsy and unfortunate mistake.”

“So now you want to turn your disfiguring physical pain onto the helpless and shiftless who are littered around the urban landscape here?”

“You are referring obliquely to yourself?”

“Yes, Jedi Knight.”

“Well, it does soothe me a bit and it’s too early to drink liquor.”

“Hmmm, liquor has the same impact as expressed anger. Do you think alcoholics are merely folks stuck in anger mismanagement then?”

“Possibly.”

“I find chess to be a nice way to sublimate my antisocial tendencies. I go to war with 16 plastic pieces on 64 squares and no one gets hurt. Except sometimes I get carried away with a checkmate and hit myself in the face with the very stake upon which I wish to impale my opponent’s king.”

“Well, that’s all very good for you, but I don’t play chess. It’s too cerebral. I could hemorrhage.”

“I know. You like a good glass of brandy, gooey cheese, the cat on your lap, and your sousaphone on your shoulder farting out “When The Saints Come Marching In”.

“Yes, at the end of a long, productive day I find comfort in that setting.”

“Studly Do Right.”

“Are you mocking me?”

” No, I have been mocking you for ten minutes now. Mock, yeah, Bird, Yeah. Mockingbird, hey everybody have your heard…”

“Andrea, I need your assistance. This undesirable lunatic is mocking me.”

Andrea, “Joel, he’s your friend.”

“No he isn’t. He’s a coffee shop stalker. A blog terrorist.”

Andrea, “You came in with him and I understood you took a cute cupcake picture with him. Becky told me.”

“Oh dear, please don’t post that on the internet. I have a reputa….”

“Shun to uphold, we know, we know. Just one thing, Joel.”

“What?!!”

“Don’t yell at me, cupcake.”

“Don’t call me cupcake!!”

“Look, I think all this living out of a motel is killing you, man. You need to get off the road or you’re gonna wind up like Willie Nelson– stoned, cold broke and hotly in debt to the IRS.”

“What I need is for you to leave. Don’t you have anything to do today?”

“Community service hours, Buddy. I got that TUI last month, remember?”

“Oh Lord, forgive me. What is a TUI?”

“Texting under the influence, of course. I was walking and texting when I ran into a blind man walking his dog. We tumbled. His dog’s leash got wrapped around a baby stroller somehow and away they ran, the dog, the baby in the stroller, and the pregnant mother. It was not a pretty sight.”

“And the blind guy?”

“He didn’t see a thing.”

“Andrea, for God’s sake, do something!! I beg you.”

“I’m sorry, Joel. He is in the top five of our customer rankings.”

“Well, I can get my monkey bread delivered on Fridays.”

“Joel, you’ve got to stop beating yourself up.”

“Aaaahhh” Joel exits trying to unhear the recent world weary words he just heard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

261. New Year Yanging

The morning ice is melting, kids are off school and sauntering about town as Outside becomes more bearable than the Inside of their breathless grimy abodes. It feels like Russia, and I like an overly dramatic Dostoevsky in my wretched office hovel.  Tom Waits is wistfully singing a dreadful song about a murdered woman on Pandora. Crime and Punishment comes to mind. And I’m here (Raskolnikov) looking for inspiration or redemption or both. A bad version of Elvis comes on next.  “I can’t help falling in love with you”, live with an orchestra and 27 backup singers.  Sad work, Elvis. Someone sold you Vegas and stole your Memphis mojo. Tragic. I keep trolling for the right feel…Over the Rhine, yes, an old melancholy sound like treated paint being spatulaed off gorgeous ancient wood. A woman’s velvet skirt voice swooshes low near the floor. That’s it. Deep swirling grain embedded with lacquer and pale green lead paint from the 50’s is revealed. Yeah, now it’s  right. The wood beneath must be superb to bother with the stripping away, but it’s an itch that must be scratched with a wire brush on this dismal and forgettable day. Penndot trucks memorialize the moment with burial mounds of dirty snow and ice. Modern yellow overtakers. I feel like spray painting palm trees against the snow banks just for the irony of it. It’s good that I don’t drink liquor. I can imagine guzzling a two finger tumbler of scotch right now. But I need to clear my own snow covered neural pathways.

But I don’t so I won’t, drink that is. Instead I need to find a warm dry nest to settle into as winter consolidates its gains. Pull the extremities in closer to conserve body heat– finger to finger, hand to armpit, foot to thigh like some energy efficient yoga master. Snuggle with other mammals too. Maybe a bear. Layers of fat help. Then again dancing with my wife in our living room raises the temperature and blood pressure to alarming levels. But that’s too up tempo and hopefully yinny. I am in a yanging mood here. Let me explain.

“Yang 陽 or 阳 Bound morpheme ① [Chinese philosophy] positive/active/male principle in nature ②the sun ③ male genitals ④ in relief ⑤ open; overt ⑥ belonging to this world ⑦ [linguistics] masculine ⑧ south side of a hill ⑨ north bank of a river”  Wikipedia, the foremost authority on everything.

I hope that clears it up. To yang is to be bright (unyinny) but male and overtly worldly while acting like a north bound relief penis in a river below a south facing hillside. Picture that, a cargoless but macho canoe adrift on a sun speckled river.  “Don’t use the binoculars, Claire! Just take my word for it.” Wait a minute, I hear Vin Scully’s voice, “It’s the bottom of the ninth, with the tying run on first and the winner at the plate. Time to go to the bullpen for that new Korean reliever, Lee Yang.”

It’s a complex palette of emotions and sensations that can only be explained by clever use of metaphors and symbols. Straight forward language fails to capture the yangness of the word and its world. It’s the difference between beef and Angus beef for the unenlightened.

Sometimes it’s considered vulgar or crude to yang about.

In the Orient, I have this from good sources, NO YANGING signs are not uncommon in Bejing and Hong Kong. In Laundromats in Saigon, I am told, “No Loitering, Littering or Yanging” signs are everywhere. The exception in Asia is, of course, North Korea, where yanging is punishable by death. Public yanging often results in whole families being executed and their ancestors being exhumed, shot, and neatly reburied. It is never allowed to yang in Pyongyang. They will not hesitate to pyong you if you are so bold to pyang in front of one of their militarized pyungs.

“Read the charges, comrade bailiff Sung.”

“American spy was pyanging forbiddenly in public near our most revered militarized pying. Law say he must be pyonged right away, honorable Comrade Judge.”

“Let it be written. Let it be pyonged.” The bailiff paddles American spy with ping pong paddle until he cry.

They have a saying in North Korea that is punishable by hanging if uttered aloud… “better to be pyonged off than pyanged on”.  Shhhhhh. Their soldiers wear hats that are made from repurposed Chrysler Imperial hubcaps. Huge saucers held in place by subcutaneous magnets. Look at how the magnetic field actually pulls this soldier’s lips into a scowl. He’s never yanged in public in his short miserable life. Not allowed. He chomps at his inner lips as if they are Imperialist Yangers.

 Here is where literary skill comes in, my two faithful blog readers. I’ve written myself into an exitless corner. I’ve typed myself into Oblivion’s oblivion. My spell checker is cursing at me with the pulsing cursor. And I bravely peck on, undaunted, bloviating about nothing.
 What to do, what to do? I must pull this together in the next 100 words, yang it all! I need a reason to finish so that you don’t feel deceived and get all yanged off.
So here’s what we’re gonna do. You are going to walk out backwards, my friend, close the laptop and forget we ever came here. Got it?
Cause I know what you’re thinking: Did he fire six yangs or only five?  Well, to tell you the truth in all this excitement I kinda lost track myself. But being this is a twisted up blog entry that could blow your head clean off, you gotta ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, Pyunk?

 

 

 

9. summitmultaneously

At the Coffee Summit Nation things were slow but nice. Steve came in first. He buys frozen coffee drinks all year round. Yesterday was his birthday, 48. We talked with Joel about age, hair that is gray, and Joel’s spinning class. He is surrounded by 20- and 30-something women. He’s 63 and not complaining about the view. (Joel is our Coffee Nation’s unofficial attorney, so any further revelations would violate attorney/client privilege.)

Chuckles sauntered in to join us. Tired and played out from working late last night. Still, he has a gentle spirit and always laughs despite pain and burdens. We once spent an entire hour trying to link Chuckles to the Abominable Snowman/Yeti of Tibet. He has huge feet and makes a gurgling purring sound that is disturbing at first. If you heard it on a dark night around a campfire, you could become incontinent. Chuckles is an entire book to be written later. For now I just enjoy his company.

Over the winter I gave him my old 1992 Honda Accord. His 1984 Civic was about shot with 250,000 miles on the original speedometer. He wouldn’t take my car until he could give his Civic to this Haitian fellow he knows. So there we were one day in the notary’s office swapping vehicles out. The three of us stood in line and signed and passed papers to the right on the counter. Some money was paid in fees, tags were traded, and the haves gave to the have nots what they did not want any longer. This worked out well for all of us. Chuckles said the Accord felt like a Cadillac after living with the Civic all those years. It was a nice little car that I loved to drive. It wouldn’t have been a gift if it had no value to the giver.

The Egginator arrived later than usual. He is my daughter’s boyfriend. He has chickens and chickens lay eggs. He keeps a number of folks stocked with eggs, thus the moniker “Egginator”.  Once, he had two dozen fresh eggs for one of the fully vetted Coffee Summitteers. Another Summit wannabe, Mark, the local hobo/rock star, asked him if those were his eggs. Egginator cracked us up with his reply, “No, I’m holding them for a friend.” Like it was two dozen ounces of pot. “Are those your eggs?”  “No, I ‘m just holding them for a  friend.”

Steve had been to a NASCAR race and told us all about it. Sarah Palin had waved to the crowd from the back of a pickup truck. Seems fitting for a former vice presidential candidate. It was Steve’s brush with FAME…less  ness. She waved right at him. After the race he told us about a drunk woman fan who kept leaning into him and  touching his butt. It was the perfect bookend to the Sarah Palin episode. It was his brush with SHAME…Less ness.

One of our church’s pastors was leaning into his laptop and eavesdropping on the Nation’s conversation. He occasionally chimes in or breaks with pastor protocol and sits with us. Kyle is his name. When he rolled in he said, “You’re always here!” like it was a bad thing. I replied, “Well, for you to say that, you must always be here!”  He laughed a little, just a little. He’s young. Once when one of our other  pastors came in the coffee shop, I uttered aloud, “What’s better than one King STreet pastor in a coffee shop?” Kyle anwered first and a bit tentatively, “Two King Street pastors?” BK, the other pastor who looks like a young Groucho Marx, replied, “No King Street pastors!”  I laughed and recognized BK’s answer as the best answer to the puzzler.

One thing led to another as single things do, (that’s a completely useless string of words pretending to be a transition) and we moved to the chess board. The Egginator played white and had me in a pickle, when out of nowhere my wife sits down next to me. It was a collision of two worlds and I squirmed a bit. First of all, the Coffee Summit Nation is a male bastion of submediocrity. And secondly, what was she doing downtown with time to order and drink a frozen coffee fru-fru drink? And why was she so pretty after all these years of living with me? (That was not my third thought; it sort of floated above the other lame cognitions firing across my neo-cortex at the speed of a capsizing cruise ship.)

She messed up my game with her mere presence, and the Egginator knew it. He smelled blood or some odor from the bathrooms behind him. He knew he had me on the checkered ropes of my vinyl tournament chess board. (Does that sound as lame to you as it does to me?) Anyway, one bad move led to another as bad moves do, and I saw my chess obituary written in front of me. I had told the Egginator that is was impossible for me to win the game, but only a few moves away from checkmate he realized that he had to leave for class. As he had done the week before, he asked Chuckles to finish the embalming. I knew then that I had a good chance.

My wife had left minutes before and I could regain my singular focus. She was cheering on the Egginator the entire time. However, after a series of lousy moves, Chuckles snatched defeat out of the whale-sized mouth of victory. It was funny like  breaking your arm after doing a foolish trick on a rope swing, standing on the bottom knot and reaching for an apple hanging off the tree across the dry creek gulch below. Okay, maybe knot that funny when motion overrides balance and common sense loses to  derring do. [PARENTS:  Little boys should not be left unsupervised.]

And that was a good place to leave the Summit. Lance had arrived late and had his riddle game going. Steve was answering them left and right. The circle grew smaller as I left for my haircut.