Sunday, December 30, 2007

Golf Kamp

Despite my disavowal of such things, I had a sort of revelation and a breakthrough at some point this week about the game of golf. I'm quite sure that there's no latent pro-golfer in me, but I had the occasion to go out with some gentlemen for a nice walk in the sun on a very nice green, while randomly hitting a little white ball with a dizzying variety of sticks. It was fun. Nothing too stiff and formal, just a beautiful afternoon. After some consideration, I've come to understand what it is about the game that is so compelling, to the point that I, too have caught a bit of the fever - the compulsion to hit that ball a little better, a little more consistently, with more predictable results. I had the chance to take myself down to a nearby driving range to get some practice, to get that 'more predictable result', to work on the swing - 200 some odd balls later I had to stop, mostly because of the blisters on my left hand - there's a reason golfers wear those dainty gloves. I narrowed my club of choice down to a beautiful driver, a 3 wood(?) that seemed to have the magical qualities of consistency and predictability for me - when I hit a ball, it went, usually in the same direction, with some force and distance. I played it until I could repeat it like 5 balls at a time- Ahh, good. I won't completely humiliate myself on the next outing. I was wrong. What worked that day, really didn't the next and I have no idea why. Chalk it up to another of life's great mysteries, but now I know why people get so maddeningly obsessive about the game of golf. I will never think badly of another man's choice of pursuits again. It worries me a little that I feel so compelled to keep at it, to get better, to prove to myself that if nothing else, I can do this thing. Right now, I'm in golf paradise - or I would say golf kamp, or golf hell, but my opportunities are limited by the wonderful, but always demanding Dear Alex, who cares not a whit, and has no feel for daddy's compulsion to improve his game. Maybe that's a good thing. Finding time (or squeezing in time) for one's own pursuits has become a small obsession for me over the last few days, as I am certainly in paradise for someone like me - with the ever-present temptation of driving ranges and golf courses and even worse, a delightful general aviation airport not 20 minutes away. I did make the time to go flying, to re-acquaint myself with the ins and outs of flying a light plane, seriously, for the first time since Dear Alex came into the world. I have to say that in my two-year absence, things have changed. The laws of physics, and the actual act of flying a plane remains the same, and I can honestly say that I've still got it, but somewhere along the way the average rental aircraft has moved into the 20th century. The instrument panel looked like a freaking video game, and the throttle and mixture controls are all digital with a glass panel where the tach and other analog gauges used to be. The good news is that I can still fly a plane, the bad news is that it could take me a few days to master the systems and new technologies onboard. Change is good. Beautiful Wife, I think, understands my need to do these things, and has indulged me as much as she can, what with Dear Alex suddenly finding her terrible-two-ness. I wrote glowingly of her sweet goodness and her having skipped right through the terrible-twos to a terrific place - boy, was I jumping the gun. The kid's alright, to be sure, but has developed a leech-like attachment to either or both of us (with BW taking most of the hits, probably due to her extended absence) Dear Alex can't burp without mommy (or occasionally daddy), so it's been my loving duty to spare BW the constant on-duty status. So far, it's been a wonderful vacation in paradise, but well tempered by the realization that while the delights of grown-up recreation are tantalizingly close, they remain just a little out of reach. On the other hand, it's been a delight to watch our little girl grow wildly in scope and will, and to watch her delight in the sheer physicality of being outside with one or the other of us, from early in the morning until well past what used to be her bedtime. We'll probably have some serious adjusting to do when we get back to the cold grim north, but for now it's been spectacular to watch Dear Alex blossom and whine incessantly while doing so.

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