Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Comin down the mountain...

So before pimping THE RATIONALES big show this FRIDAY OCT 3 at Obriens in Allston at 9pm - i will share the following tale - imagine - early 90s, fitchburg state college campus - one of those beautiful spring afternoons after a long cold winter. probably about 55 degrees after warming up from a morning that had one of those snow squalls that didn't stick to the ground.

5 kids walking across campus through the near 60 degree sunshine with hats, gloves, scarves, sleds and an inflatable raft. everyone on campus wondering if it is some sort of mis-timed pledge or practical joke. comments of 'it didn't snow enough to sled' were plentiful.

finally we reach Erik's car. pile in and head for our favorite spring destination: the newly closed for the season watchusett ski mountain.

heading to a ski slope of a closed mountain on a warm spring day was one of our favorite activities. Covering the dual goals of having alcohol fueled fun in the sun while drinking and sledding combined with the rare and wonderful extra bonus of bounty collection from the melting slopes. (you see back then people actually skied in their jeans and street clothes. they wipe out in the cold winter - contents of their pockets go everywhere and get buried in the snow - we would each year head up in spring as the slopes melt) you could come away with a pocketful of change, the occasional other treasure- i still have the skeleton key i found that day.

We had a small surise when we got to the mountain to find that they had somehow plowed out the auto road up to the summit already. The road cut across the various ski slopes that had built up over the winter to depths of 20 feet - the plowed out road created chasms in the slopes wherever the road crossed them.

it was like standing under a glacier as we crossed across the lower slopes on our way up the road to the big slope. we head up and begin climbing the slope.

probably about 200 feet up or so we are having a blast having whiskey fueled snowball fights, finding change, keys, filling our pockets with treasure and found items, and sledding on the upper slopes on everything from inflatable rafts to cafeteria trays.

as the time wears on the guys pile into the raft and make their way back to the road. they steer off to the gentle slope at the edge and walk out to the road.

i've stayed behind having found my key and looking for more amazing treasures. finally everyone down on the road are calling for me so we can go.

i sit on a cafeteria tray and (ala Christmas vacation) take off at an unexpected and ridiculously high rate of speed. i'm a big guy and was then. it made steering the direction i was headed near impossible given the speed i was moving with the tray.

as i sped toward the the road it became clear that i wasn't going to be able to steer toward the graded slope but instead was headed straight for the tall part of the drop. a good 10' drop off the edge of the ski slope with a drop down to the hard asphalt of the road below racing toward me.

the next 10 seconds went by at such slow motion that the drama was far above what can be conveyed here.

suddenly i saw one of the funniest and simultaneously most alarming things ever - all 4 of my friends, marc, cliff, erik and mike came rushing along the road to the point where i was likely to land. all instinctively bracing for impact and extending their arms as though for a catch.
as i said - i'm a big fellow and was then as well and my only thought seeing them all primed to catch me was - a lot of people are about to get hurt.

apparently psychically hearing my thoughts- simultaneously and with no words between them - all 4 of them sort of looked up at me, looked at each other, looked at me and the speed i was approaching at... and lowered their arms, and got the hell out of there.

as they cleared out of the way leaving me to brave the 10' drop at lightspeed on my own - my first thought was 'i'm about to qualify for a darwin award' quickly followed by the only rational thought i could muster - which was 'bend your knees'. And as the cafeteria tray flew out from under me and i bent my knees i flew through the air - and i hit the ground and rolled aside. before i could assess if i had killed myself or not my thoughts were drowned out by the collective laughter of my friends.

i was fine if not a bit shaken -- nothing more whiskey wouldn't fix. and we were all had enough change to pay for a half pint of something that'd probably make us choke - won from our scavenging on the lost belongings of other people who had wondered if they'd survive coming down that slope.

So come out this friday - i promise that if i fall off the stage i'll spill some change on the floor that you can get in the spring when the floor of obriens melts!

The Rationales, Friday Oct. 3, 2008 - Obriens 9pm

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