As far as I can remember, “I Can Fly” by Ruth Krauss and Mary Blair was the first bedside story my father ever read to me. I blame that Little Golden tome for the sure knowledge that I’m going to watch more television in the next two weeks that I will in the other fifty combined. (There will be a spike during Wimbledon and the US Open.) You see, I’m a Winter Games geek . Also: I want to fly.
On the first page of “I Can Fly” our heroine in a red dress is standing up on a swing trying to catch as much air as she can, willing herself to fly. While I’m glued to the tube, my butt broadening every day, I’m flying vicariously.
(Note: I’m not crazy about commercial air travel without a muscle relaxant and a Johnny Walker, but that’s not flying — it’s taking an airborne Greyhound.)
The Gold Medal for the scariest aerial Olympic split seconds happens in pairs skating, when the man tosses his bodacious besequined partner into the void. I hold my breath every time, terrified we’ll see a painful ignominious splat on the rink instead of that graceful gleaming landing on one blade.
Today was my introduction to a thrilling form of lunacy called Skateboard Cross. It’s a wild ride down a ramped, curving course dotted with, in the lingo, Features. I call them freakin’ huge flat-topped mountains, over which one , well, flies through the air. I’m so glad my daughter sticks to tennis, and I’m holding my breath and sending my prayers to other snowboarding parents as their kids take on the halfpipe.
Moguls: what the heck? (And Oh Canada!) What maniac came up with this one? I’m glad other people want to tear downhil, skiing in what appears to be an enormous, icy upside-down egg carton. They pause twice to launch themselves off ramps, fly and twist head over heels, stick a landing and ski tight and fast as hell. Thrills, spills and chills in about 25 seconds.
Sure, I want to fly, but I want to float like a butterfly, not cling to my coach at the gate like a baby. For me, ski-jumping is like the gentlest floating, dreamlike in its beauty. I’m a true blue chicken, a Lady of a Certain Age, and I don’t think my ankles could survive the landing, but I’d love to, just once, look down a pristine mountain, hearing chilly silence, and fly.
I’m considering saving my allowance for the next big birthday and striking a bargain with Hot Air Balloons ‘R Us.
Winter Games Hunk Alert: I’ve never strapped on a ski. I’ve never been in a room with an actual gun. So why was a glued to the Men’s Biathlon yesterday? Because these dudes look like the heroes on the cover of some Nordic bodice-ripper, that’s why. So muscular, so fleet on the skis, so controlled with the gun, oblivious to frozen snot or anything but the wild beatings of their hearts…