by Carrie Kirk
It was a Saturday evening and I had plans, but my get-up-and-go had gone. My love and I were celebrating Feb. 14th the day after, and we thought we were pretty smart to do so. We had a good night's sleep under our belts without following it up with the previous day's scramble of work and school routines. And though countless couples had wined, dined and copulated, now it was our turn.
I had main stage tickets to the Indianapolis Repertory Theatre show Who Am I This Time? (And other conundrums of love), about Kurt Vonnegut. John and I didn't know what to expect. And before you go jumping to conclusions about my literary background (After all, Kurt Vonnegut was a Hoosier native. Didn't you know? I can just hear it now.), this was really about living under a rock the last couple of months. With my long lists lately, I have seldom removed my blinders. They fit so snugly that when it snows, I think to myself, "Wow, who knew that was going to happen?" And when my kids ask me if there is a school delay or -- better yet, for them -- a cancellation, that is the time when I access local news. I like to say that rather than being in the dark about lots of stuff that I'm rather a bit "nocturnal" as of late. It just sounds better and makes me feel less guilty about not having my finger on the pulse of Indianapolis.
And you know what sounded better than cleaning up, dressing up and heading out? Being dirty, wearing pajamas and staying in. Why do plans always sound better the farther away they are? Tickets to a concert in May? Why, yes! Host a party for 200 come August? Certainly! Head to the theater in the middle of February when my pallor matches the gray skies? Count me in!
But despite our hibernating instincts, partly brought on by the previous afternoon's 5-inch snowfall, we shook it off and left our lair. Once at the IRT, we settled in our seats with a Sun King beer for me and a Johnny Walker Black on the rocks for John. And everything changed. Not because of the drinks, but because of the mood in the theater and the message of the show. The actors came out to set up their stage and conversed with the audience, setting a tone of informality and a wholesome, down-home production. The place was peppered with numerous couples, all with the same good idea we'd had. And as the play's three stories unfolded, I watched those couples sitting in front of and around me. They began to lean in. Hands were held. Arms reached around shoulders. A peck on the cheek or a caress of the neck's nape was given. Young and old valentines simmered.
I thought of all the times I lectured my kids about the consequences of actions. If you brush your teeth, you will have teeth. If you put your clothes in the hamper, you will have clean clothes. If you throw away your wrappers, mommy will let you live another day. And I was reminded of the power of going -- just getting up and making yourself move. As some of us watched the Olympic skiers at the top of their run, I liken it to what might have been running through their minds. If I don't take that first move, I will remain just as I am -- at the top of this enormous mountain. But if I push off, what awaits me? The thrill of the run? The gold medal? An experience to last a lifetime? Maybe all three. Maybe more.
And though the majority of us are not and can never hope to be a record-setting Olympian, we each have our own metaphorical mountains. Going wherever it is we've committed ourselves to be. Not giving in to the status quo, the easy, sometimes lazy state of nothingness. Following through. Forcing ourselves through the motions, because once we're there, doesn't it feel good?