Montana Jones

Montana n: A state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. Admitted as the 41st state in 1889. The fourth largest state in the union, it includes vast prairies and numerous majestic mountain ranges.
Syn: Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Last Best Place.

Jones n: slang. An addiction or very deep craving.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Locked Out

The center beam was artistically slanted inwards between the two vertical supports and it was just wide enough for my boot. It was fairly easy to grasp the outer posts, brace myself and walk the center beam up to my balcony. The visual flashed in my mind that if my grip slipped right now I would fall flat on my back and probably knock my head pretty good. I shooed the thought away and focused on the foot, foot, hand, hand alternations I needed to climb. At the balcony railing I shifted my grip to the bars and tried to pull myself up hand over hand. Action heroes in the movies make this part look easy, I was surprised how difficult it was to pull my own weight up even a few inches. I struggled myself up far enough to awkwardly contort my foot up to a purchase on the balcony ledge. An ungraceful move but it did get me to where I could raise to a stand on the outside of the balcony railing.

Back when I was younger I had gotten pretty good at crossing fences with a combat roll. Throw yourself headfirst over the top, plant a hand while lifting your legs up and over behind you and then a pivot, tumble brings you right side up and usually on your feet. When done well it both looks cool and feels good. This time the gymnastics were more of a face first surge over the rail onto the balcony floor. All the grace a sack of cement would have being manhandled into submission. I wanted to blame the heavy boots and the thick winter clothes on my lack of style, but the truth is that I am not a young man anymore.

I don't recall from my youth putting so much effort into leaving the house. Choosing the right pair of shoes for the snow and wet, the right jacket, the checklist of phone, wallet, checkbook, to-do list, hat, gloves. I can recall being a much more carefree youth. But then again, carefree attitudes will let you forget your keys until you are halfway between locked front door and locked car door.

After coming in from the balcony and collecting my keys, right where I left them on the desk, I set off again on my outing. I was feeling pretty good about myself for having overcome my obstacle, but as I settled into the drivers seat I realized my heart was racing and my hands were shaking. My body was not used to exerting and climbing. The sedentary winter hasn't helped either. A few deep breaths calmed my heart and my muscles steadied themselves. My shoulders would be sore tomorrow, my shin ached from a collision. But mostly I was sad. I was sad for the young man that used to climb trees and cross fences without a second thought. There was a day when I would not have cared about the right shoes or jacket or even a to-do list. I could have climbed a balcony with ease; I would have done it for the fun of it. I was sad that an older, fastidious, less fit person was now living in my place.

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