Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Go-Pro Story

In my last post I told you about my awesome writing class. Last weeks homework assignment was to write something humorous. I don't usually write funny, so I was pleasantly surprised when the entire class was cracking up as I read my story. I thought I would share, so here it is.


As members of the aging baby-boom generation, we are generally not as savvy as our children and grandchildren when it comes to the latest technological gadgets. When my highly entertaining husband announced he was finally going to experience one of his life long goals, and had booked himself for a week of helicopter skiing in the Canadian Rockies, none of the family was too surprised. Being dropped off at the top of an otherwise inaccessible mountain in the dead of winter, for the first time at the age of 63, may seem extreme to some people, but if you knew my husband you would shrug and look forward to the stories of his exploits upon his return.  

As Christmas approached, one of our sons, who is an amateur photographer,  decided his dad needed a GoPro camera, the type of video camera you strap to your helmet, for his upcoming ski trip. I agreed it would be the perfect gift so that Mark could capture the experience from his perspective and share it with us once he returned home safely. He was delighted to receive such a great gift when he opened it on Christmas morning. 

In preparation for the extreme skiing in Canada, Mark had planned to go to Mammoth to work on his form and get in shape. He also wanted to learn to use the GoPro so he would be sure to get some great shots of this once-in-a-life-time adventure. He read the instructions, secured the camera to his helmet and headed to Mammoth Mountain with a friend for some fun on the snow.

After a day or two of getting some good practice on the slopes Mark decided to focus on using the camera. His companion was taking the afternoon off, so as Mark began each ski run, he would reach up and turn the camera on as he was headed down the mountain. When he reached the bottom, he would reach up and switch it off. The camera is made for this easy on/off operation, but not being able to see the switch, it took a little getting used to. The thick, awkward ski gloves didn’t help either, but he seemed to be doing fine and assumed he was capturing some great footage of his afternoon runs. 

After Mark returned home, the day came to figure out how to get the videos from the camera to the television screen. I suggested he wait for one of the boys to come by to help, but he didn’t want to wait and set to work connecting the camera to his laptop computer, and then the computer to the television. The process took time, many expletives, and some frayed nerves, but low and behold, there on our big screen TV we could watch the tips of Mark’s skis schooshing down the sloops as pretty as could be. We watched together and marveled at the technology that allowed us to sit in our family room and almost feel the wind on our faces as if we were skiing the run together. After viewing a few videos, Mark put one on for me and left to answer a phone call. 

I was enjoying the scenery rush by and felt like I was skiing myself, when Mark reached the bottom of the run, skied up to the lodge, and reached up to turn off the camera. His hand came down, but the camera was still on. He proceeded to take off his skis, put them in the rack, apparently thinking the camera was off. I watched as he climbed the stairs to the lodge, kicking the snow off his ski boots, pushing the door open and heading inside. I got a view of the skiers at the bar having a beer, and when he turned his head I saw the restaurant filled with people eating lunch, and then, oh no, he is heading for the bathroom. “Mark” I thought. “You didn’t go in there with that camera on!” But yes, that is exactly what he did. Then there it was, on the TV screen, the door of the Men’s room, being pushed open and a wide view of the interior came into view. 

The camera scanned back and forth as Mark looked for a vacant urinal, capturing the backs of the other users as they stood at the urinals and other men as they secured their belts, and zipped jackets on their way out. By this time I was in hysterics. This was just so typical of the kind of antic my husband is known for, and as he assumed his position at a vacated urinal, with the camera still filming, I thought I was going to die laughing. I couldn’t see him, but the image of him sauntering into the men’s room with that camera secured to his head, with the red “camera on” light blinking was just too much. 

My laughter brought Mark back into the family room wondering what could be so funny on his ski films, until he looked at the TV exclaiming “What's this?”

“It’s you in the men’s rooms at Mammoth with the GoPro on.” I stammered through my hilarity as we watched his urine stream arc into the toilet bowl.

“But I turned the camera off, or at least I thought did.” He stated as he sat down to watch.

He had no idea the camera was on when he went into the bathroom, and after I rewound the video we watched, and rolled with laughter as he innocently scanned around the bathroom filming the unsuspecting skiers taking their bathroom break. 

Mark returned home from his helicopter ski trip in one piece with some great shots from the peaks of the Canadian Rookies. I was a little disappointed after watching the films though, as there was not a single bathroom shot.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Writing Class

Writing an autobiography can be a daunting project, especially when you have lived sixty-two years, and have so much history. I work on it in spurts, and sometimes I get bogged down and just don’t want to face the enormous amount of work still to be done. For inspiration and encouragement I take writing classes and workshops. The workshops are great for feedback and to get me writing because I have to have something ready to present to the class each week. While searching the class catalog, I noticed a class titled ‘Write Your Own Story’. I thought, “This could be perfect,” but I wasn’t sure. I did not recognize the teacher’s name and hesitated before signing up. I really wanted another workshop. I finally did sign up, assuring myself if I didn’t like it I could just drop out. 

I have not dropped out and am so glad I am taking this class. The class consist of 7 mature women and a female teacher, a teacher who, in her unique way, can get each of us to pour our hearts out onto paper. During the first class she instructed us to write about our elementary school lunchtime. As we read our work aloud to the class one at a time, we laughed, cried, and learned so much about each other. From this simple assignment I realized I was in the midst of an amazing group of women, women who have survived abuse, poverty, and tragedy. Their stories are heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time. 

Each new assignment requires us to dig deeper into our pasts and to learn to share these secret memories through writing. Some of the stories I am hearing may never have been shared with anyone before and I can see healing happening before my eyes. We are there as writing students, but have become a support group, encouraging, and comforting each other. These women’s stories are rich, human, and real. I truly hope each one of us completes our autobiography. With the help of our amazing teacher, who has an unimaginable story of her own, it just may happen.