Saturday, March 21, 2009

Taos (Part One)

This past week has been quite the adventure... When people ask me what my interests and/or hobbies are (which isn't often, but I like it when they do, because let's face it everybody likes to talk about themselves), I always tell them triathlons, music, writing, and making spontaneous life choices. Spontaneous life choices possibly being my favorite item on the list. Of course, there's this whole American obsession with work ethic that has become an obsession with 9-5, Monday through Friday jobs that give you maybe one to two weeks vacation a year for your first, say, five years on the job. Now, I don't want to dismiss the endeavors of those who are dedicated to their professions. I appreciate these people because, well, being able to focus so diligently on one thing 50 weeks out of the year is, quite frankly, impressive. It's an idea that as a young, occasionally reckless, and at times flighty young adult in my early twenties, I have yet to fully grasp. Because I always wonder... don't they get bored? I think we all know (or at least, I hope we all know) that we are the only country that works its white collar laborers to the extent that we do. Our pre-disposition for pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps has allowed the executive powers that be to milk those under them for every available drop of stamina and mental energy that they can squeeze out. And what's really interesting is that we don't see it as such. We just see it as "work" - it's work, it's not necessarily supposed to be fun. Ok, so tell me this. What's the point? You're born, you work, you die. Sure, some work is necessary to fairly provide for yourself and your family. Agreed. But past that... ? And if we say for the benefit of society... what's the benefit? New inventions and toys? Are they really helping us? Or are we earning loads of money to give away to third world countries and starving American children?

Anyways, all that to say, the thought of being tied down in such a job terrifies because it would totally hinder my ability to make the aforementioned spontaneous life choices. Like I did this past week. I have a new best friend - his name is Eddie and, well, he's awesome. You know when you find one of those people you just click with? And not necessarily in an opposite-sex-I-want-to-be-all-over-you-ASAP kind of way, but in a I-feel-like-you-already-know-me-and-I-know-you kind of way. Well, that was Eddie. We have lots in common, our mutual love for nature being high on the list. I met him through a sorority sister, and I guess the rest is history (if you can consider two weeks ago history). Anyways, Eddie and I bonded over a Grand Canyon IMAX feature and then he asked if I wanted to go to Taos, NM with him the next week while I was on Spring Break (not that Spring Break means too very much in graduate school, but the mental connotations still linger from undergraduate days), and explore the mountains and the town with him. Well, duh. So I e-mailed my coach, who sent the welcome response that he had scheduled that to be a recovery week anyways, but some base layers and warm socks, and packed my things for an adventure.

Now, I love triathlon. Those of you who know me... You know this. Obviously. It's a love that borders on obsession. But the past couple of months, so much has been going wrong, and I feel like I haven't been able to make the kind of progress that I want to be making, and that every time things start to look up, some other crisis occurs... and so it never gets better. It's made training difficult at times. When it feels like I'm working just to stay in the same place. and that's the thing - training has started to feel like work, when it never has before. It's not always - most of the time I'm still thrilled to hit the road/trail/pool for a good workout. But there have been days where I just... haven't.

(I'm going to take a moment to comment on the fact that I just got up to get a refill on hot water here at Jupiter House where I'm typing, and just had the cutest kid ever literally trip and fall right and front of me, and I'm almost positive his family, including the incredibly good looking guy next to them are going to think I knocked him over. Fantastic.)

So anyways, there's been a little bit of strain on my usually positive attitude towards training that's left me feeling like I was on the edge of a rut. I figure this is probably a pretty common experience among anyone who does anything obsessively for long enough. I'm sure that it's been apparent in my blogs as I've griped about broken bikes, hurting knees, and chronic sinus infections. And it's become increasingly apparent to me. So when the opportunity for spontaneous adventure arose, it seemed the only thing to do was grab it and hope for some soul renewing in the Rockies.

Our plan was to leave Sunday night, and drive all night, arriving at Taos early Monday morning and exploring the town and Ski Valley until we could check into our hotel and crash for a couple of hours before going to get unashamedly and utterly irresponsibly intoxicated with the obvious advantage of the newly increased altitude on our side. Our friends wondered if we might be jumping the gun a bit traveling 10 hours in a car together after meeting only a week previously. His friends asked him, point-blank, if he wasn't worried that, not knowing me for very long, he might realize on the road that I made him absolutely insane and was possibly the most painful travel partner of all time (a thought that perhaps crossed his mind when, at the beginning of the ride, he asked which Gatorade I wanted from the cooler, and I told him whichever one was on the bottom). But, despite friendly concern on both sides, the ride went as smoothly and quickly as a ten hour car drive at night could ever, ever be expected to go.

As we got closer to Taos, the sun rose in the east at our backs, lighting up the red plateaus and endless plains of easter New Mexico. Turning north, we started to increase in elevation, rocky outcroppings and steep hills becoming more and more common. Exciting terrain for two born-and-bred Texans. Right outside of Taos, we finally caved and pulled over at one of the many "scenic overlooks" along the road, where I shot pictures from every possible angle - none of which did justice to what we were actually seeing. Of course. Finally rolling into Taos at about 10:00 in the morning, we were faced with road terminated in the distance by immense mountains. At this point I was pretty much silent, focused on the natural beauty that had surrounded us for the past 2 to 3 hours of the drive. We ate a quick but substantial breakfast at a local cafe before wandering around a nearby bookshop, searching for a book of New Mexican ghost stories to entertain ourselves with at night, and occasionally going back to pet the giant, motionless cat the was stretched out in front of the local fiction section (well, that was more me than Eddie). Then, we headed to Ski Valley to investigate the snowboarding (for Eddie) and snowshoeing (for me) opportunities there.

To be continued - I have to return to the seminar paper for my Civil War lit class, as much more entertaining as this certainly is...


  1. when do we get to read the thrilling conclusion?

  2. I must say that I'm jealous of your attitude toward life ! I am very much a planner, where do I want to be in one, five, ten years kind of girl. I know what I will be wearing two days before I wear it. I have a lot of lists and deadlines.. That said, I LOVE LOVE LOVE my job. I'm an Assistant State's Attorney (prosecutor) and I find my work rewarding and interesting. Plus, I really enjoy my coworkers' company.

    But still... I wish I could be a little more spontaneous ! ;)