Eat my dust

My first time ever riding an ATV was a lot like the half marathon. I repeated the same panicked reactions over and over in my head, consisting of “It’s so hot,” “There’s literally sweat on my brow,” “I can’t believe I’m eating dust,” and of course “Knee’s in!” Oh, I forgot, not many people have an ATV safety license. If you don’t know, you have to keep your knees in, which you wouldn’t do naturally. Trust me.

On Wednesday I got to spend the day out of office on Randall’s Island (don’t picture island, picture dirt lot) with a cameraman from work. We met three other people in training, two trainers, and a media rep on the hottest day I’ve experienced in NYC. I went into this outing with absolutely zero knowledge on four-wheeling. I accurately convinced myself of what ATV stood for the previous evening, and otherwise put all my trust in this course for education. Fortunately, the instructor and I had three major things in common: we’re both from the Church of Christ, the South, and Lipscomb. If you even have one of these attributes, you know how significant it is to find them in another, especially in NYC. This was his first visit, so he was tickled (i.e. “I can’t believe I found me a sister in the city!”). I was unjustifiably trusting once I heard his accent. You can’t grow out of some things.

The most typical and memorable comment he made was, “Girl, you done got to talking too fast in the big city. Don’t forget where you came from, ya hear?” I can’t repeat this without laughing. Little does this Georgia boy know I’ve talked this fast since I was born, as my best friend says, and if anything I’ve slowed down at my brother’s lifelong demand. I told him to snap a rhythm the way Brian does, but I think he gave up trying to decipher my pointless stories. Plus, the more I learned and attempted on this course the less talking I did. It was hot. I thought to myself, the only way to really portray this day in blog-form is to repeat, “It was hot” every few sentences. But even then you’d have to personally wear the 10-pound helmet, thick gloves, tight goggles and long sleeves in an open field to really relate.

Believe it or not, this isn’t to complain or be cynical. I had the time of my life. There’s an essence of, “how many people get to do this?” accompanying so many big city experiences that overshadows most anything uncomfortable. I’ve overlooked embarrassment, sweat, pain, rain, filth–you name it–to take advantage of all this city offers. People do it for trips abroad all the time. I was completely enchanted by Rome and didn’t even remember until looking back at photos that it rained the whole time I was there. Coney Island is outright disgusting, but it’s Coney Island, and you have to embrace it if you can make it there. And no, I would not include being hit by an Escalade if I could start over again, but how many people can say THAT? (Bit of a stretch)

I never had this adventurous attitude in Nashville. It took a year to get over the fact that I had so little input in my decision to move there to proactively discover all the city had to offer. But even when I’d worked with country music stars, served trademark southern Bar BQ, and relished in Centennial Park the rain was so recognizable. It came when I could least endure it, and reminded me I wasn’t here yet.

It’s boggling people’s minds that I would live in Florida and Tennessee then finally open up to hunting and fishing upon arrival to New York City, but how much more exciting is four-wheeling when it’s as close to Manhattan as legally possible? You’ll find I’m up for just about anything with that skyline in the background. I’m a sucker for it. In general though, I just love to try new things. I’m legitimately hungry for adventure ever since I began traveling, and now I can say I know how to get dirty. Sure, I’ve sweat and believe it or not performed manual labor (see, I even use the term perform here), but I got dirty. I was completely covered in dust (as was my mouth) and I have the video and photos to prove it. Did I want universal web access to my sweaty dirt mustache? No, that’s no more what I had in mind than riding home on the subway was, but I was having too much fun to deny such an opportunity. I revved an engine for the first time and rode over rocks and weaved through cones, and you can read about and watch it here.

In the interest of full disclosure, I did choose the only sparkly ATV (they didn’t have pink) and wore a hot pink shirt in case the boots and helmet concealed my sexual identity. Baby steps people, I can’t go butch overnight. Plenty of outdoorsy adventures to come for this princess. There’s word of a fishing trip floating around…


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