Sunday, December 16, 2007

heroes and gyros

X says she possesses something called “Exam Brain” that she claims is triggered by the desperation of finals. I think it sounds like a superhero of sorts – “Quick, call Exam Brain! A high school junior in Manhattan has overslept for his SAT." Ta Dah! She says it’s not so much a superhero as it is a setting, an on and off thing. As an example she gave me this, and I’m not making it up, “It’s like the bagel setting on the toaster. Have you ever tried to toast a bagel without pushing the bagel button?” Or tried to take and exam without the bagel button? Maybe it was meant as allegory, or irony, or simile, or some other type of grammar I don’t understand but I now think of this highly-evolved brain as something akin to a kitchen appliance add-on.

On my way home Friday I took a picture of the warning sign near the doors on the inside of the Metro car. I know it’s a little out of focus but you can make out the premise: not only should you not block the doors, you shouldn’t do it in superhero fashion.

My rush hour Metro riding is limited to running against the tide and staying out in the safe Virginia suburbs but I’m certain that when the doors do get blocked it’s not like this. Most door blockage is generated by riders scurrying, like rats, into overcrowded cars – some rats doing so more effectively than other rats. One of the only instances I remember hearing concerned some lobbyist, young lawyer, or congressional staffer jamming his arm into the closing doors as if to say, “to hell with forward motion and all progress! I'm getting on this damn train.” The warning sticker model seems much more heroic in the “I will, through brute force of heroism, maintain the open valley of passage for all commuters large and small. I. am. Door Man!” vain.

I took the boys to their final gymnastics’ lesson Saturday morning whilst X took her Evidence final. There are normally three classes flipping about the well-equipped Arlington Aerials training facility/gulag. On Saturday the instructor of the 5-8 year-old bouncing daisies has split them into two, the 12-14 year-old bevy of twisting and rotating girls where there, and there was an additional school of 15 year-old balance beam artists tumbling and rounding off. What I find so disturbing about watching all this crazy activity is that I’ve never been able to do ANY of it. Ever. I can barely summer sault and I’ve got no cart wheeling genes. These pixies spent an inordinate amount of time upside down and hurling themselves through air with a future landing on some appendage (or behind) as an afterthought. Up they bounce as if it’s nothing. It’s strangely peaceful to realize that the six year-old flying five feet in the air will eventually come to a landing on parc ferme. I’ve decided after much thought to use this collective term for the limber, flipping hordes: an inversion of gymnasts.

That’s that, for now.


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