Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Looking back

The other day, as my lady friend and I were settling once again into that groove we've worn in the highway between here and the Peach State, I saw a car next to us that had, hanging from the rearview mirror, about four or five of those cheap plastic leis you might find at a backyard luau in a place like Daytona, Florida. You know - tiki torches, little umbrellas for the red plastic party cups full of Bud, middle-management assholes in Hawaiian shirts trying to figure out how to roast a whole pig with Kingston Matchlight.

Anyway, I figured the leis in question (we're back on the highway to Georgia now; keep up) probably populated about 20% of the driver's field of vision. It seemed a little excessive to me, not to mention pointless and perhaps dangerous. Do they not have a better place to store their dollar store lei collection, like maybe a doorknob or the back of a closet? What could these cheesy mementos possibly commemorate that would warrant such a visible display? A high score in Skee Ball, maybe? For 24 tickets it was either four leis or one of those switchblade combs. Yeah, I would have gone with the comb too.

At least they weren't Mardi Gras beads, which seem to have supplanted fuzzy dice as the mirror decoration of choice. I don't know. I guess I've never actually known anyone with fuzzy dice, but you get the point. Either way, there's no way all those people with Mardi Gras beads hitting them in the face when they take a corner too fast actually went to Mardi Gras. What I do know is that for every string of Mardi Gras beads I see hanging from your mirror, I'm thinking one thing: you showed your boobs to a stranger.

Oh, sure, I bet there are all kinds of other ways to pick up shiny colored beads, but unfortunately for those of you who got yours at a New Years Eve party or maybe for a high score in Skee Ball, the rest of us are thinking you drank one too many hurricanes and earned them the old fashioned way down in Nawlins. That's just the way it is.

But at least they have a story to tell, if they can remember it.

My rearview bauble has a story, too. (Yup, that’s what we’ve been getting to this whole time. And you thought this post was about boobs.)

It’s a carabiner. Big surprise, right? Actually, this ‘biner is what we call “found gear.” If you spend time in the mountains, you’re bound to find all kinds of lost and left behind swag. If it’s a water bottle or a shirt or a pair of socks, use it. If it’s something intended to hold body weight in a survival situation, don’t even think about it. Hang it from your rearview mirror.

This oval ‘biner came from about halfway up Crestone Needle in Colorado. My buddy Dave and I were right around the 14,000-foot mark, near the top of the all-day climb, when we got slammed by the inevitable afternoon thunderstorm. If we had realized just how close to the summit we were, we would have finished up the last pitch to the top. As it was, we thought we still had the crux pitch ahead and figured we didn’t want to tackle it in the rain.

So we decided to descend. This is not an easy thing to do on an alpine rock climb. I don’t remember how many rappels it took us, but for every one we either needed to find gear to rappel off of that had been left by others stuck in the same situation or leave our own behind. What I said about not using found climbing gear - sometimes you have to fudge it a bit. As it was we still had to leave behind about $80 worth of stuff to get down. One found piece we didn’t use was this carabiner and the rusty piton it was attached to. I believe Dave has that piton. Both are souvenirs of an unfinished challenge. I intend to go back and climb that route again, to the top, this time with a little more urgency to get up and off before the storms roll in.

What’s hanging from your rearview mirror?


Julie said...

I do not have anything hanging from my rear view mirror. Is that boring or progressive?

I also have only one cd in my car - the one that is in the player. I've entered a minimalist stage of my life. You know, as minimalist as a consumer whore can be.

The Dutchess of Kickball said...

I am now embarrassed to admit that I do have Mardi Gras beads. And no, I didn't get them at Mardi Gras, nor did I earn them with any flashing. The collection started with my Kickball superlative medal for Least Coordinated which came on a string of beads. I have this medal along with my newer MVP award along with a handful of other necklaces from other parties.

Meaghan said...

I actually don't have anything hanging from my mirror either. Well, unless you count the inevitable dog hair.

I saw a 2- or 3-year-old donning many Mardi Gras beads the other day and thought that was just wrong. I think the beads are starting to lose their meaning. What a shame.

nancypearlwannabe said...

Yeah, I've got nothing.

Oh! But back in the days of driving the hot pink Dodge Daytona I had fuzzy blue dice in the mirror.

Allie said...

I don't have anything hanging from the mirror. My friend Sarah sent me a patron saint of good parking spots air freshener, and I had that hanging for awhile. But it smelled awful, and it looked like Jesus hugging a car. I found it hysterical, but I started to worry that other people might not see the humor and actually think I was all about the J-man to the point where I needed him with me in the car. I felt it was a misrepresentation of myself, so I took it down.

On another note, I cannot stand that c-word. Not even a little bit. It makes me cringe. I call the metal object hanging from your mirror a clippity-do, or clippy thingy.

Stefanie said...

Nothing hanging from my rear-view mirror, either. I remember my mom telling me when I was a kid, though, that fuzzy dice were illegal, for the exact reason you mentioned: how do people make sure they can see around them? (Yes, I am apparently a huge goody-goody, and my mom obviously trained me that way.)

Courtney said...

Allie: You're the first person I've ever met to be offended by the word caribiner. And I can think of a word starting with C that offends me much more.

Over the years I've had various things hanging from my rearview mirror. In high school it was my graduation tassel. When I thought I was super-Christian it was a cross necklace. There have been various parking passes and ID badges. But now there's nothing.

Jacob said...

Mickey, you rode in a car with Mardis Gras beads hanging from the mirror last week, even if they are very subtle small green and silver beads. I also twist and hang them twice to be short. I've never had any visibility issues with them, because the object I'd have to be avoiding would have to be coming down from the sky and I figure by that point I'm screwed anyway.

Jacob said...

And I didn't get them from Mardis Gras, but I did somehow end up with them after that trip in college to New Orleans where we were all ending up taking bets on which girl would end up with Mickey.

em said...

Nice story, Mickey.

And actually, I'm with Allie. The word caribiner makes me cringe. I think it comes from living and working on a river with the inevitable lot of annoying gear heads. It's like, yes, they serve a function. You need them. Do you need to wear 80 of them with straps around your waist? Overkill, weirdo.

JustinS said...

Is it at all weird that my eyes immediately focused on the word "boobs" half way down the page as soon as it loaded?

Personally, I think it's an undervalued skill. Suck it, Ms. High School Guidance Counselor, who thought I wouldn't amount to anything.

Noelle said...

I actually used to have a dollar store lei hanging from my mirror. But then my friend drove my car and convinced me it was too distracting. So it went on the head rest of the passenger seat, and it's been there ever since.

After high school graduation, I had my tassel hanging from there, reminding me every day that I never had to go to high school ever again.

surviving myself said...

I don't have a car, but when I did it was one of those green smelly tree things because I used to smoke blunts all the time in there.


Mickey said...

julie- Minimalist consumer whore. That's awesome.

dutchess- I knew somebody would have them. Don't be embarassed. Just know that morons like me immediately go to boobs when we see them.

meaghan- You're right, they've been watered down. It's a shame because boob-flashing needs a distinct trophy, if you ask me.

npw- So I do know someone who has had fuzzy dice! In a Daytona, no less! (My choice of the city of Daytona in the post was completely random.)

allie- If you're in the army you can call them snap-links. But then you'd have to be in the army.

stefanie- It should be illegal. Watch the road, people.

courtney- Yeah, Allie's weird.

jacob- That's right! I forgot you had them. Funny- I've never seen you flash anyone.

em- So you know, I have never used a -c- outside of climbing or rigging applications. Not even as a keychain.

justins- I too am attuned to all things boob. It's like a sixth sense.

noelle- Hey, you never know when you might need a lei.

sm- So your car smiled like pine trees and weed. Nice.

Rachel said...

A Yankee candle air freshener that doesn't smell like lilacs anymore, and a formerly donut-scented air freshener that says, "Police are my favorite people." Not nearly as interesting as yours, but the police one still makes me laugh. :)

Chris said...

Also nothing on mine.

But on Rachel's police note: We did know a former police officer who worked at the newspaper and pulled T-shirts down over the backs of his car seats. The one on the passenger seat said, "In God We Trust... Everyone else gets searched."

Goofy cop humor, but it made me laugh.

em said...

I knew you wouldnt. Mickey. I know you're not a douche bag.

Mickey said...

rachel- No, that's pretty good. Donuts and lilacs- it's probably good that they're worn out.

chris- Nothing, again? Boring!

em- Between you and Allie, I'm really struggling with this inexplicable hatred of that word. But I'm glad I'm not a douche.

Anonymous said...

im back man. the only thing i have on my mirror is a picture of the greatest guy alive. every time i look at it, there i am.


Jacob said...

And I'm still waiting for the ivory penis fungus photos from the trip.

Mickey said...

hightower- Welcome back.

jacob- Yeah, shore leave can be a bitch.