Monday, July 27, 2009

Why did the Cub climb the mountain? Because he needed to

I have never been a strong physically fit person except but for a few periods in my life. My husbear, Orlando is very physically fit. He is a big brawny Man with a capital M. By that -I mean he loves the outdoors and could live outdoors non-stop if it were up to him. I like the indoors very much. I don't HATE the outdoors but I like modern technological conveniences and indoor plumbing. He loves Kayaks and wild looking rivers, and rocky hiking trails. I love crab stuffed ravioli and pan seared duck breast. Orlando loves Cowboy Chili and hot dogs. Occaisionally we come together on certain activities, movies, (horror, action adventure, romantic comedies), Syfy and couch cuddling, a good steak, ( me rare, him well done)and a well made, modestly priced cocktail- and of course sex. So since we both think that we'd like this romance to last a good long time, there has been a certian amount of entering each other's worlds. Worlds we wouldn't have entered had we not met.

He attended the production of "Some Men" at New Conservatory Theater a record 4 times. That is not to say he didn't enjoy the performances but, previous boyfriends fail the "dating an actor test". These men have shown up late for the play, or drunk, or fallen asleep during the performance. The ones I broke up with immediately were the ones who didn't enjoy it when I got recognition for my work on stage. Orlando not only got an A+ in my book, but also showed me that he was seriously interested in making me happy. I wanted to return the favor. We've almost begun a contest of sorts to see who is the more dutiful, attentive boyfriend. It was easy for me to fuss over him when he was here in San Francisco, because one of the best ways I can do that is to cook for him. He actually traveled to see me nearly EVERY WEEKEND of the 12 week rehearsal/performance schedule. I don't think he even complained ONCE about doing the 3 hour drive.

I have very recently made some changes in my life to better myself and to show him that I am worthy of the investment he has made. The best development of meeting him is that he helped me to surface from the haze of a 9 month depression where I was grieving over the death of someone who was once close to me. My apartment became a dumping ground and neglected living space. Mold and clothing and dirty dishes and soap scum were EVERYWHERE. He is a tidy man and was concerned that I considered THAT, a healthy and normal environment to live in. I didn't. I didn't even know how bad it had gotten. I realized I needed help. For an astonishingly good rate, I hired an organizer /cleaner and now Orlando beams when he comes to SF to visit me to witness the miracles that my helper, Mr.McGinn, has created. (Anyone in SF needs a GREAT cleaner, send me a quick e-mail.)

The other change I made was to get back to fitness. It's been a slow start, but I am getting back into exercising and I wanted to do it for me, as much as anything- even though he is the dedicated exercise addict. My depression had turned me into a dedicated couch potato. It seemed the benefits to getting back to a fitness routine were numerous. Aside from having an activity to share with my new boyfriend, I was sick and tired of... feeling sick and tired. I was taking too many escalators and elevators. I don't want you to think that winning Bay Area Cub mean't I was going to begin this hardcore body transformation by the way. With the emergence of the Muscle Cubs and Muscle Bears it seems there has been a loss of acceptance within the community of certain body types. I feel it is my DUTY to maintain my pot belly. I just want to acquire a little more energy is all. Did I mention that Orlando, my big bear, loves to dance? He only requires 4 or 5 hours of sleep a night and can dance until the wee hours of the morning. This little cub needs a full 8 hours to function and poops out after the first few songs. This didn't bode well for a successful Lazy Bear Trip because lets face it, there's ALOT of dancing goin on. I DEFINITELY needed to build up my stamina.

So now that the play has closed and my weekends are my own, I have made the trek up to Anderson California to visit my 'Lando. I thought I could handle making a few extra trips up there so he could relax about driving to my part of the world for a few weeks. I should tell all the bewildered out there that Redding is right next to Anderson and's not the most sophisticated part of California. I suppose all the not-so-fine citizens that let the Prop 8 mess happen live right there. See this-

Yep Kids it's still an ugly place out there in the nooks and crannies. Orlando knew the couple that was killed ten years ago. I don't want to depress you with the reality that homophobia is alive and well in rural California because most of you KNOW that already. I bet you can tell me a story about harassment right in the Castro! I want to talk about Mount Lassen this week and the birth of P.A. Cooley Bay Area Cub 2010 OUTDOORSMEN !!!

My last trip to the Redding this past Spring my beloved took me on a nice little SEVEN MILE stroll on the banks of the Sacramento River. Beautiful scenery and many folks were on the Sundial Bridge that day. I was determined to show him that 7 miles on a pretty sunny early spring day was EASY for me. In truth -I felt like I was on the Bataan Death March. Truly my legs needed to be removed from my hips I was in such agony. I smiled tightly trying not to show Lando I was NOT suffering that day but he wasn't fooled. I think when I cried out in anguish sharply as I lowered myself into the car seat and passed out momentarily he had gotten the idea that a 7 mile was a bit much for my sedentary body.

This Saturday he proposed that we hike up the "active volcano" Mount Lassen. (no -no Lava just nasy smelling sulfur fumes) He'd lived in that area for 20 years and had never done it. I was game. I even joined him for his PX90 video work out before breakfast. He looked a little stunned when I suggested it because typically he woke up to exercise and I slept on. I didn't do too badly for a guy who hadn't lifted a weight in over a year, but I couldn't keep up the pace that the buff, playful video instructor had us on. When we got to the abdominal exercises Lando swore at the television screen. I pooped out a little over half way through.

So Lando made some rockin pancakes and then we had a little private celebration of the rockin pancakes and showered and got ready for the big hike. It was a beautiful drive in his convertable and the 97 degree heat was tolerable. He told me that since he knew that I couldn't handle the hellacious tempatures of Anderson, (Sunday reached a fire breathing 103) he thought I would enjoy the much cooler mountains. When we saw "Drag me to Hell" we had joked about the demons reaching up from the earth and snatching me down into the center of Redding CA. We stopped at an Australian hat store so I could have some nice sun protection for my fish belly fair complexion. I like my new hat and can't wait to show it off at Lazy Bear. I will spare you my Crocodile Dundee impersonation.

We drove up 8000 feet and the air immediately had cooled to a comfy 79 degrees. The scenery of Mount Lassen Park was stunning with the towering Pines and lush green meadows. Tons of families and couples were about -I didn't find any Gay couples but there were some shirtless athletes running around. WE pulled into a parking lot that had a giant mound of ice sitting near it. "What's that?" I asked. "A Glacier" Lando calmly said. My eyes shot up. "A Glacier? really? " I ran up and touched it's dirty granular ice. Some patches looked pink from the minerals. At least I hoped they were minerals. Then he showed me what we were going to climb..."huh! well lookit that! That's a lot of mountain" He then informed me it was 2 and a half miles to the top. " Oh well...that's not all that bad.."I said uncertainly The Sacto River trail was 7 miles and this would probably be a piece of cake..Then I noticed it was straight up.

We saw a one legged man -(I'm not lying) and his pack of 7 and 8 year olds completing the last leg of the journey down..(sorry) as we were headed up. "See honey?" Lando coached, "If they can do it then you can certainly do it!" I stuck my tongue out at him. I was indeed daunted by the steep hill. I was amazed at the vastness of it. It wasn't straight up. It kind of zig zagged so that every view you saw as you arrived at each turn was dramatically different then the one you saw that was a mere 20 feet away. We stopped quite a bit to drink it in. "This" Orlando said, sweeping his arm out in the direction of beautiful mountains and lakes..inspiring enough to make you start singing about purple mountain majesties and amber waves of grain, " why I bought you up here so you could see ..." I watched him gaze serenely at the endless stretch of mountains that hundreds of thousands of years ago were spouting lava and ash. We trudged further and saw a sign saying that we had reached the 1.5 mile mark and only a mile to go. ONLY A MILE??? MOTHER OF GOD. My face was boiling off my head and I could barely speak because of the lack of oxygen at this altitude- as an elderly obese woman trotted past me. This was treacherous!!! Couldn't she see that? There were stones that one could EASILY slip on and go sliding down the rubble and smash into a glacier! In fact -walking across the glacier in sneakers was no easy feat. Lando suppressed a chuckle as I carefully did this cross country skiing motion in my rapidly dampening sneakers.

After we rounded the 35th corner and found yet another elderly couple cheerfully munching on granola bars under the shade of a huge rock. We were only .5 miles from the top and stood there gasping coated in sweat. We had been smart enough to bring water-albeit in a dreaded carcinogenic plastic bottle-but my beloved had a brilliantly mapped out picnic lunch that regrettably never made it to realization.I looked sad when he told me about it, and he went over and hit his head on a rock over and over saying " I'm a bad boyfriend a BAD boyfriend" The elder couple looked alarmed. "Honey? you are scaring the elders. Now wipe the blood off your forehead and lets conquer this bad boy!"

I scrambled up the rubble with renewed vigor. "Hey!" Orlando called after me "You never told me you were part Billy Goat?" A wispy basset-faced woman who looked like she'd be more comfortable at a bar with a Cosmo in her hand loped by me and said, " Keep going baby, if I can do it -ANYONE can!" A surprisingly obese couple prattling away in Spanish stopped and cheered me on in English. "There's a beautiful blanket snow at the top, you are almost there." Behind me Orlando said, "I'd love to see the expression on your face right now so I could see what is inspiring everyone to cheer you on." I gasped and grunted and huffed up the crushed bits of volcanic rock. Orlando was reminded that he had heard the same sounds emanating from me this morning when we "celebrated" the pancakes. I was indeed getting one HELL of a work out, yet it was more fun that morning.

The top was at least within out view 30 min later and a happy Mom pointed toward the peak for us as her sullen teenage daughter stomped by her. Suddenly Orlando heard the theme from Chariots of Fire in his head and sprinted the remaining 20 feet. I couldn't swing it. I walked up dragging and paused with him as we looked out. It astonished just how far the mountains went. It was cool but not cold -despite my river of sweat dripping down my back. Families and couples chatted -camera happy Dad's clicking away like mad. We clicked some pics and drank the water that earlier was a burden and now was a God send. A chipper frat boy and sorority girl took our picture. I ruined it by blinking. I am the KING of the safety shot and I am Kicking myself for not having the chick take a second one.

Orlando and I sat very close under a rock looking out on to the Northern California Landscape. I don't think I can write a big enough word to give you an idea of what we were seeing. He reiterated "This is why I brought you here honey." I rested my hand on his thigh. "I'm glad you did babe..I'm glad you did"

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