Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Reminiscing Rexburg

I was recently reminiscing with some friends about my days at Ricks College, and there's a topic I just have to bring up.

The ice.

Seriously. Whether it was in my nose, under my feet (where it belonged), or flying at my face as I did a triple-twist-land-on-my-rear in front of all those people, I have to say it is one of the top three things that instantly comes to mind when I think of the most memorable aspects of Ricks College life.

I'm from the Northwest. We don't do cold over here. Occasionally we'll get a little cold snap, but it rarely gets below 20, and doesn't usually last more than a few days. On average, if it hovers around freezing everyone here thinks it "sooo cold." I definitely belonged in this club.

Until the first time my nose hairs froze.

Can I just say what a shock it was walking out into Rexburg's sub-zero-freeze-your-rear-off temperature and having my nose hairs freeze? One innocent sniff of that arid, frigid, Rexburg wind and my nostrils became an ice forest. So unpleasant.

Then there was the battle up to the Smith Building. Eight o'clock am religion class - aka good-luck-getting-there-alive-because-they-haven't-salted-the-east-campus-sidewalks-yet. I vividly remember trying to make it up the sidewalk (in the dark) as that same arid, frigid, Rexburg wind (that was busy freezing my nose hairs) hit me so hard I would find myself sliding backwards down the hill. You can bet I was more careful in my schedule planning after that first semester. Nothing uphill until after nine. (Nothing period until after nine, if you really want to know).

But the worst thing about the ice, hands down, was the regular public humiliation that came with falling. It's almost like the Lord put the school in Rexburg just to ensure humility in all prospective students. You'd be walking innocently along, thinking you were doing fine, when all of the sudden BAM! Down on the ice. It wasn't so bad if you had a roomie or friend with you, because then the two of you could laugh together and you could act as if falling in front of hordes of people didn't bother you at all. On a good day, your roomie would go down with you (which could sometimes be arranged mid-fall), and you could share your humiliation as you crawled to the safety of a clear patch before attempting to once more attain a standing position.

But then there were the solo falls. The walking-all-alone-and-really-look-like-a-dork falls. It was like time froze as my feet flew out from under me, my arms desperately windmilling, and my legs flailing in a sad attempt to keep from actually hitting the ground. As I'd sense everyone suddenly slowing to watch the show (no doubt secretly hoping it was a worthwhile crash) I'd try to decide how to salvage a little self-respect once I was lying on the cold, hard, ground.

It doesn't matter how you play this one off, you're a loser either way. Try to act cool and get up as if you didn't just make a complete fool of yourself - and the crowd of people who stopped to watch just stand there and stare, reminding you that no, you are not cool.

Try to look like you're so well adjusted and secure that you can laugh at yourself and do your best to demonstrate how hilarious you think your acrobatics were - and the staring crowd doesn't crack a smile. In fact, you get the impression that they're all thinking you're a little insane, and that none of them have ever been the victims of icy-sidewalks. Liars.

Seriously. Staring people are so annoying.

Looking back, however, I have to say that overall that these repeated (and humiliating) falls were experiences in self-discovery. I learned that humiliation actually wouldn't kill me. I learned to be more considerate of others falling around me. And I learned that despite the hazards, I was not willing to resign myself to clunky old hiking boots every day. For me, feeling cute was worth the risks - both physical and emotional.

Let's face it - at the end of the day, it's all about the shoes.


Anonymous said...

A little humility goes a long way...

I am very proud to say that I never fell on the BYU-Provo campus during my tenure there. Oh, no. I had to fall in a hilly suburb OFF campus, where the gutters are two feet deep by the sidewalks so when the snow piles up, the road is even.

And better yet, I didn't fall on the ice -- it was a balmy 70 degrees at the time of my fall.

The good news was I got to wear a neon green cast for eight weeks, and I was able to park in handicap parking, and I didn't get the cast off until several weeks into winter so I got to park right close to every building on campus so I wouldn't have to hike through the snow on crutches with my neon green cast declaring to the world, "Watch out, here's comes an accident waiting to happen!!"

Nutty Hamster Chick said...

Wow, I felt as if I was right there next to you, but I wasn't laughing. I think this happened to me a few times at BYU. I hate that frozen nose hair thing, and especially when it is so cold that you can't even breathe. That is why I have lived in the southwest part of the country for the past 17 years.

The Crash Test Dummy said...

OMGOSH!!!!!! That is so true!!!!!

I used to work in the spud bar. It was right in front of a huge floor to ceiling window overlooking campus. We would sit and giggle at everybody slipping on the ice all day. I bet I saw you fall! I swear I did. What year were you there?

Alison Wonderland said...

You are your sister's sister after all. And I was starting to doubt.

Speaking of shoes, I hear you're not coming to take me shopping?

LisAway said...

SO FUNNY! And I love your commenters "I think I might have fallen/never fell at BYU." REXBURG IS NOT PROVO!!

I cleaned the library for a semester at 4 am every morning. I imagine going uphill was no fun, but making my way DOWN to the library from the dorms in the pitch black bitter, bitter wind and cold wasn't much of a treat either.

Now you have me wishing I'd kept a log of all the times I fell. But I always laughed at myself and I could just tell that the people around thought I was pretty awesome. (actually, I don't think I ever fell without someone asking if I was okay and laughing with me.) Those falls are great entertainment for anyone within view.

Barbaloot said...

I went to visit my cousin at Ricks once in January an decided then and there it would NEVER be the school for me. You people that survived it are amazing...and most likely crazy:)

I was uncoordinated enough to fall at BYU-Provo plenty...where I had no ice for my excuse.

Kimberly said...

Oh that nose freezing feeling! I grew up in the Northwest as well, so living somewhere now where we get down to the -30's (celsius) just boggles me.

Machen family said...

I'm sorry...that reminds me when I twisted my ankle, landing face first at WSU in front of my English class and the whole class was silent except my "best" friend who was laughing so hard she was crying. I don't know how you redeem yourself from that.
An edible yule log is a buche de noel. I'll blog about it one day.

Machen family said...
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Robyn said...

I left and came back, so now I live with it every winter. The driving isnt much easier. Lots of slipping, sliding, bumper crashing. Nose freezing is a strange sensation. Not much has changed when it comes to morning sidewalks in the winter. Funny thing is since the new track system has come out, I recommend to friends and relatives to get on the spring/fall track. Skip the winter all together and enjoy the nice weather here. Beware though, 2008 still brought snow in June, while my kids were in swimming lessons!

That Girl in Brazil said...

Great post. Comedy, tragedy, a little moral lesson, and shoes. Truly, who can ask for anything more?

Here in Michigan, ice comes from up above. Freezing rain. Cars left on the street have a solid layer of ice to greet their owners at 6AM on the way to work. Good times.

Do you know in Brazil our garages aren't even ENCLOSED?! I've tried explaining the precise feelings of frozen boogers ... but they think I'm making things up.

Kellie said...

Oh yes. I remember those days at Ricks when my roommates kept a running score on how many times I fell on the ice, thinking if I could just see how pathetic I was then I would magically stop falling and obtain some grace. Um. Nope.

Claire said...

I pulled a muscle in my left ass cheek this week from trying to negotiate the slippy ice and a double buggy. Grrr.

Machen family said...

You won the HSM card giveaway!! Details on my blog...you're such a winner!

Machen family said...
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Stephanie said...

Do you remember the heated steps by the McKay building? I don't think I ever had a really good fall to tell you the truth. I did get to see a lot of really good falls though. :)

Susan said...

I'm in Upstate NY - this is my world everyday!! And still at 38 I'm too humble many a times to wear appropriate gear. Someday, I am sure to turn into my mother with the boots, hat, scarf, etc. Not just yet though.

Laura said...

I just found your blog today and I must say I love it.

I'm down in Provo so fortunately it's not as bad, especially considering the snow hasn't actually stuck at all this year so far (my fingers are still crossed though). But I do know the feeling of busting it and immediately looking around to see who saw.

Anyway, love your blog. I'm sure I'll be back.

Alyson (New England Living) said...

Oh yes! Rexburg is like a ice skating rink in the winter. Keeping-you-humble capital of the world! Thank goodness it doesn't get that bad in CT.