and things I've done just once or twice ... and that was enough.
Renaissance Festival! The SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) used to put these on every year near Atlanta, and I went several times. There's a big one out here in California, too, and I've never gone - in part because it's inland in the summer, which is a place and time that I do not want to be (HOT). I appreciate the historical re-enactment enthusiasts on a performance-art level, but if you're not involved yourself, I think a little goes a long way.
- Rock Climbing! Mr. P and his gang of extreme athletes (a varied assortment of UCLA-based smarty-pants types who liked mountain biking, mountain climbing, camping in the snow, and other such nonsense) took me along to Point Dume early in our relationship. So I climbed up the rock at the south end of the beach. And at the top I saw a trail that clearly goes back down to the beach via a route that allows the use of only two extremities. I like being in high places, but if there's a trail ... I'll take the trail, thank you very much.
Dragon Con! This was a big fantasy and science-fiction convention, also in Atlanta, and I went once for sure (in costume) and maybe twice. Can't honestly recall. I am one of those poor benighted souls too young to have watched Star Trek when it originally aired; I didn't discover it until grad school and cable TV; but read dozens of SF and fantasy novels between ages 15 and 30. Several of the friends who were into the Renn Fest were also into Dragon Con. One of my friends had a truly awesome replica sword that went with his costume. I think there is a picture somewhere of me in my warrior princess regalia and that sword. I don't think I will post it here.
Labyrinth of Jareth! This was fun, a giant masquerade fantasy performance art musical extravaganza, but like the Renn Fest, if you're not part of the show it gets old pretty fast.
- Bookhounding! Fossicking in the shelves of a used-book store used to be my primary entertainment. You may think that is an exaggeration but it isn't. One of my first jobs in Atlanta was at a rare-books dealer called C. Dickens, and I could spend hours at Oxford Books. Moving to California was most of the cure - I didn't find a store even remotely equivalent for a while, and that store was actually in Anaheim. There is another one out in North Hollywood, but by the time I found it I was kind of over the book-collecting thing.
Riding a bike! When I was a kid and young teenager, I had a bike. I rode it a little. When I was ten we moved out to the country and the dirt road we lived on wasn't exactly primo bike-riding surface, and the adjacent road was a fairly high-speed rural highway with no shoulder. So it's safe to say it's been more than thirty years since I've successfully ridden a bike. Mr. P tried, early on. He put me on his landlady's son's bike, which A) was too tall for me B) was too heavy C) had bad brakes. Establishing myself in the saddle was a painful and embarrassing process.
He then led an expedition down a precipitous twisty street in Santa Monica, across PCH, and onto the strand where I was faced with Rollerblades, skateboards, joggers, and hate-filled pedestrians. At the end of that stretch of hell, we took the bikes over the pedestrian bridge and CARRIED THEM up the staircase to the park. It is actually kind of a miracle that this relationship survived that outing. I must really love him.
- Scuba! I've actually never done this. Mr. P (again!) paid for a scuba-school two-weekend course for me the summer before our wedding. We were going to Hawaii for our honeymoon, he was Padi-certified, and sweetly thought it would be great if we could dive on our trip. ... As with bicycles, swimming is something I've done very little of since moving out of a house with a pool when I was, oh, EIGHT YEARS OLD. I can swim. I don't really swim. I had never even snorkeled.
The class was huge, the training pool was small, the wetsuit tore most of the skin off my knuckles, the second-weekend dive boat was vilely diesel-fumed, a swell threw me into a bulkhead and gave me a bone bruise that took nearly a year to heal, and the weight belt was too heavy and hurt my back and nearly sank me. After my overweighted panic attack was over, I got back on the boat and did not go back in the water. My snorkel-equipped kelp crawl had gone all right and I would have been happy to spend time dog-paddling with the seals, but since that wasn't an option I was given (because they had too few instructors supervising the enormous class), I stayed in the sun.
I learned, subsequently, that most of the best underwater viewing is done at snorkel depth. Think I'll stick with the equipment that won't kill me if things go wrong.
Generally speaking, I'm not a fan of activities that require much gear. That's one reason I love dancing, I guess. I only need a pair of shoes.
*republished from the archive