For the last six-point-five days I’ve pretty much been obliterated with one of the only summer cold/flu/sinus infection type things I’ve ever had. I don’t get sick as a general rule and if I do, I can usually just ignore the symptoms for a couple days until they go away or I get used to them and move on. However, this time it crushed me and I found myself canceling a mountain biking trip to Fruita, a climbing jaunt and just about anything else that involved standing up or breathing.
I managed to work a full day yesterday and today but I can say with all honesty that my heart wasn’t into it. What’s worse was all the people coming by, seeing me in the throes of death and asking me cerebral questions such as “are you sick?“. The nice thing about having a sinus infection, about the only thing actually, is that when people say stuff like that you can produce a nuclear wave of green snot on command and cough up things the size of a house cat. That’ll send ’em running for the hills and it doesn’t take but once or twice until word gets around the office and people leave you alone. Not covering your mouth during a violent coughing attack or offering to show the results of the Kleenex gets quicker results. Just sayin….
Anyhow, today I was actually feeling saucy enough to make the trip up the three flights of stairs to my office without having to stop ten times to avoid passing out. Small victories count in my world. By the afternoon I was feeling better and actually thought of maybe taking a walk this evening, or dare I say, maybe run a mile or two. Yeah, well, by the time 3:40 rolled around I was plummeting from my Sudafed Non-Drowsy stoke and gave up on those thoughts. Once again I resigned to just coming home and making dinner for myself (Donna’s in Jackson Hole this week on business and Carly is out with friends).
As I pulled into the garage I glanced back into the jumpseat of my Tacoma and decided that since the pile was approaching the height of the back of the bucket seats, it might just be a good time to take advantage of my lack of physical energy and clean out my truck. And what a treasure trove of goodies and memories of the past few months that produced. Okay, I do get things out from time to time but I ski, run, mountain bike, climb or whatever else every weekend so sometimes it’s easier to just leave things there.
First was a dangerously warm can of Oskar Blues Old Chub Scotch Ale that I acquired a couple of weekends ago at the Singlespeed USA Mountain Biking event. So many good times there and so many memories…and some I’ll never get back. Glad that baby didn’t go off in my hot truck over the last couple of days!
Among other things were my filthy cycling shoes, ski helmet, tele boots, Gorilla Pod, assorted Clif Bar wrappers that had hidden under the seat, a lift ticket from skiing on Memorial Day in Aspen and a t-shirt I’ve been looking for.
Ah yes, and lest we forget the dirty woolen ski sock that had gotten down beside the jumpseat and eluded detection for a while. I think that’s the one that went missing after a particularly warm skin up Peak Nine in Breckenridge a month or so ago. That may have also been the day my toes were actually pruned up from all the sweat in my boots. Man alive, finding that thing certainly explained some things and got the cat off the hook. Good times.
On a roll, I decided I’d clean out the glove compartment, which is a name I find odd because I’d never put my gloves in there. Anyhow, various stickers, torn lift tickets, the requisite insurance and registration stuff for big brother Colorado, napkins from various road trips and various and assorted condiments. All things I fully expected to find after a long ski season and all with great memories attached! Then came the thing I didn’t expect to find.
I pulled out a folded piece of paper and when I opened it I saw it was from the funeral home where my buddy Chris had his service back in November. Hit me a little harder than I expected. I read through it, folded it back like it was and put it back. Amazing how fresh that sting can be after almost eight months.
So I gathered up all those other awesome treasures and brought them into the house…and tossed some things into the trash en route (not my sock!). Needing a little fresh air, I spent the next little while out in the garden watering plants so I wouldn’t get in trouble for neglecting them while Donna was away! While I was out there I thought about all those things in my truck and how it kind of told a story about how I’d chosen to deal with Chris’s death.
I could have sunken into despair, given up or scaled back everything I did out of fear of the same fate, but I didn’t. I don’t live in fear at all, quite the contrary actually. I admit it was hard at first just to find the motivation to get out of the house because I was so shattered with sadness, but I did. It took me a while to get that mojo for adventure back, but I did. Chris and I shared a frenetic, sometimes crazy zest for life and we fed off each other. Chris helped me be who I am and he would always knock down any self doubts before they could ever materialize…not just for me, but for everyone.
Yeah, I was down following his accident, still am from time to time, but I know what it felt like to live the dream and go big before all that happened and there is no way I was staying down forever. I just needed to reset for a bit, honor what Chris gave me (and still gives me), then come back even stronger and more hungry for life. Chris was a huge part of that and I will never let him down when it comes to living the way I should.
One thing that I need to mention is that by being hungrier for life and living bigger is that I’ve met some of the most amazing people. It is a privilege to call them my friends. They’ve been incredibly supportive through those tough times and contribute every bit that Chris did to my life. I hope I can repay them someday.
Anyhow, a little later, while making myself a nice dinner and looking for the right red wine to pair with my chile de arbol shrimp pasta with feta and amoxicillin, I grabbed a bottle of wine a mutual friend of Chris had hand crafted and brought down to help celebrate his life back in November. No better time to open it than right now. Salud Chris. Salud Tom. Thanks for the life you helped open for me Chris. And thanks Tom for the friendship and good times to come. Familia. That wine rocks.
So finding all these little trinkets in my truck this afternoon was actually a brilliant reminder that I’m back to living my life “in the right”. Not living every day to the fullest is dying a slow miserable death and I’m honestly not quite ready to check out just yet. And once I get out of this amoxicillin/NyQuil coma I plan to rally with a renewed vigor.
Pretty amped about finding the sock and solving that little aromatic mystery. My friends will be happier passengers for sure. Good day.
Paddle far, climb high, run long and drop those tele turns deep.