X Games: Year 5

I woke up to my best friend rustling in the kitchen. He woke me up because that is where I am sleeping for two days. There’s a bed and a wood burning stove there. His girlfriend got up too, and we said our hellos and they gave me instructions for the laundry and the stove. Then they left together for work.
I called my girl – Hannah is her name, though Baby Doll is the moniker I use if I’m pretending we’re bandits (and of course I need one too: I’m Cowboy to her) – and we video-chatted for an all too brief four minutes and twenty-three seconds before she had to go into work. So often we have all the time in the world and we talk for hours at a time. We even Skyped for nine hours and had a “sleep over” as she so youthfully named it. I love Hannah, she fills me with so much warmth and happiness that I can hardly see straight when she does, and that’s an amazing feeling.
I hung up with Hannah and got a homemade kombucha out of the fridge. I bottled it yesterday. Unfiltered, there is a lot of scoby in these four bottles. My other the gallons weren’t ready, but, if last summer was any indicator, I will have a nearly endless supply of kombucha to share before too long. This will be my gift for Burning Man.
I got back into bed. I ate a big piece of Lilly’s chocolate. That’s the brand that is sweetened with stevia and erythritol so that it has less sugar. I really like it, and I bought three bars last night, knowing that that might be a setup to over indulge. I took a sip of my kombucha and slipped another square of 70% Extra Dark chocolate into my mouth, and I realized that I have a life worth writing about. As always, my journal entries have been scant this winter, although come to think of it we’re only about a month in.
I started to write. I noticed the crackle of the fire and the occasional creek of the warped cast iron wood stove. Allan says the choke doesn’t close all the way because the stove has been overheated too many times. So I’ll need to “stuff it” and then close the choke completely before I leave to help keep Jake, his parrot, warm.
Next, I think of all the wood I’ve chopped in the three weeks I’ve been at my new job. Big rounds to heat giant cabins and tiny sticks for kindling on sub-zero mornings. I think about how I need to be more careful; Danny Davis, a famous snowboarder, was hampered at X Games last night by a hand injury: he had accidentally hit his hand while chopping wood with an ax. This, according to a short montage that they showed entitled “The Road to X Games” before his halfpipe run. I was there. I stood on the deck (i.e. the top of the halfpipe) from 45 minutes before the event started until 15 minutes after it was over – talking with my new friends, college guys who love to ride steeps at Crested Butte, and waiting just in case Shaun White wants to come skittering down along the edges, throwing spray in his steezed-out halfpipe slide like he did when I first visited X Games Aspen five years ago.
And I notice the theobromine coursing through me. Kombucha and chocolate are both rich in this stimulant and its character is unmistakable. I realize that it’s time to go snowboarding and do homework and go to the hot springs – and probably go back to X Games for day two to see a new event: Snowbike Cross. So I finish my chocolate bar with no dilution as to its healthfullness in my empty stomach, and whip open the end-of-chapter quiz for the first chapter of Linear Algebra, which happens to be a chapter I have yet to read. 85% is almost good enough, but an extra 15 minutes nets me an additional 5%, and then I move on to answering the discussion about why each of us is here.
“It’s required for my major,” many students replied. Others chimed in with “Its useful for _____” – take your pick of programming, CompSci or myriad engineering majors. Truly, though, it was to me a question of existence, and my well-explicated reply seemed terse for this weightiest question of all: “Hunter Thompson said to discover the lifestyle you want first, then make your career to fit. To this end, I left the University of Colorado to find myself…” I begun. This response was a lie, however, or at least a half truth: Finding myself was a byproduct of something I did first. Something I did out of utter necessity: First I lost every trace of who I was except eight fingerprints.

#xgames #XGamesAspen #kombucha #lillyschocolate #aspen #snow #snowboarding