Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Big Chicken

I am not happy to blog this story, but it made Jason laugh, so it may make you laugh, too. At my expense, of course.

Last Friday night Ains and I met Jason after work at our gym's new outdoor pool. You may remember that I blogged last week about the bad experience Ainsley and I had in a tube slide.

Because of that bad experience, I've found it impossible to talk Ainsley into doing any of the other slides they have. They are pretty tame as far as "waterpark" slides go, and she loved the slides at Sunlight Pool last year the day we went, so I have been trying really hard to convince her to give it a shot.

She had promised that when Jason was there, she would go down a slide with him. But as she hem-hawed around Friday night, I saw that she was going to chicken out. So I decided to try a bargain.

"Ainsley, if you would just go down that orange slide you would love it. You'll see."

"I don't want to go down the orange slide!"

"Oh, don't be such a chicken. It's just like the ones at Coney Island. You've seen me go down it."

"I'll think about it."

"How about this," I said, eyeing the diving boards at the deep end which had thrilled her so when her daddy used them to enter the pool. "If I go off the diving board, which makes me a little afraid, will you go down the slide?'

"It makes you a little afraid?"

"Yes," I lied. I used to go off diving boards twice that high up in my sleep when I was a kid and used to tag along with DD to the local swim club.

"Maybe," Ainsley said.

The more I thought about it, the more frustrated I got that Ainsley was so afraid of something I just knew she'd love once she tried it. To show her that life is about trying things that sometimes look scary, I wordlessly got out of the shallow end and stood in the line for the diving board.

My turn came. My family was watching. Ainsley waved. I walked to the end of the board, looked down at the sparkling blue water 4 feet below, and gave a little bounce. 1, 2, 3....

And then I realized my legs were shaking, and my heart was pounding, and 4 feet seemed a lot higher up than it used to, and what the hell was I thinking jumping off a diving board at 34 years old?

So I very bravely turned around and walked the length of the diving board to go back to my family without jumping in.

It was humiliating, I tells ya.

Jason was laughing by the time I got to him. Ainsley was just staring.

"Good job there," Jason said. "You just taught your daughter that she doesn't ever have to slide down the slide."

Yeah, yeah. But deep down, I thought I had avoided certain death.

I was willing to live with my husband laughing at my cowardice ("What exactly were you afraid of?" Jason kept asking; the best response I could muster was, "I don't think I like heights so much anymore,") but as time passed and my heart rate slowed I realized I could not live with my daughter seeing me chicken out of a situation that has less threat for personal danger than crossing our street. So a few minutes after making like Brave Sir Robin, I found myself in the line for the diving board again. And that time, I jumped off the end without pausing to give it thought (though in mid-air, I desperately wanted to scream out my favorite curse word.)

And what did my bravery earn me? Did Ainsley go down the slide that day or on today's return trip to the scene of the crime?

Do pigs fly?

She still hasn't gone down the slide. But I have stopped pressing; what business do I have, really, after showing myself to be possibly the biggest chicken in the Cranky all-white-meat bucket?


dd said...

Bwak, Bwak, Bwak!
I am only laughing because I have yet to go off the diving boards at Coney, myself. (Well, 2 years ago, I did a toe touch one late summer night after a few of the BIG BEERS and on a dare but not since then...)
I used to attempt back doubles all the time when I was younger and now I use the lame excuse to my nephews that my bathing suit top is not conducive to me diving into the water....

Karen said...

Hehehe...I don't really like going off them much either. Now that I'm older, I feel like all the young kids are staring at me, and when I bounce on the board, too many things keep bouncing now. ;)