8 Seconds to Sunrise  

Monday, August 25 : 8:53 PM : 0 comments :

For James' birthday, we rode a mechanical bull. It was colored like a Holstein and we'd spent an hour or so at the bar before I even knew it existed. Standing outside smoking and getting into a bit of conversation with Sam, we were summoned inside by the cry of "James is going to ride the bull!" This I had to see. Earlier in the day, I'd been worried that there would be no memorable happenings to commemorate his big 3-0, even if a birthday party was being planned for Labor Day weekend in San Francisco. That bull wiped away all those concerns.

I almost said "That bull gored away all those concerns" because how often do you get to use "gore" in a sentence these days? But bad puns are, well, bad. The mechanical bull, cow really, had plastic wrapping on the sides to make the bull easier to clean from all those sweaty thigh grips. Very sanitary and highly commendable.

Anyway, somewhere along the way, in all the excitement, it was decided that all the guys would have to ride the bull. At first, I vehemently said that I wouldn't do it, no way in hell. But I'm prone to peer pressure I guess. Plus, it was James' birthday and he insisted that everyone cowboy up (the puns can't stop, won't stop). The prospect of getting on an aggressive reverse Lazy-E Boy, of having friends cheer and jeer, it seemed the exact opposite of anything I'd enjoy.

But if you're going to step outside of your comfort zone, you might as well do it on a Monday night when the bar is only a quarter full and nobody's really paying that much attention. Any dignity lost would only contribute to your friends' amusement and fond re-tellings. It's weird and funny to me that the mechanical bull strikes me as the girliest thing to do in the world. I'll happily order a pink colored drink in a stemmy glass but riding a mechanical bull? Too feminine. Maybe watching a video of George ride one made that impression on me. Only drunk girls get on bulls in bars, am I right?

To be honest, it didn't really matter the whole falling thing. We were more concerned with style. One handed. An arm in the air like a real cowboy. I noticed Sam took the rope grip with his fist clenched fingers facing up, instead of down, like most people would naturally do. I remembered that that's how real bull riders did it on ESPN. That's when you realize someone notices the little details about life. I thanked god that I didn't go first.

For the record, James was the only one who stayed on the whole time. So I guess he's not quite over the hill yet. I got gnarly skin rubs on the inside of both knees from wearing shorts while kung fu gripping leather and plastic. Sam's hair swished to and fro like Tristan's in Legends of the Fall. Amit offered his usual panache and quips. "Let's not tell anyone we ever did this."

There's probably a metaphor somewhere in this story about aging, about facing challenges, and about hanging on, but it's not really that deep. The real moral of the story is: when in doubt, find a mechanical bull.

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