Balance and Beer

I went swimsuit shopping on Wednesday.

Nothing about that went well. I did not expect that to go well, because trying on bathing suits is even less fun than trying on jeans, and no matter how successful one has been with one’s New Year’s Fitness Resolution, one can not help but be reminded of one’s vulnerabilities, liabilities, and insecurities when one is mostly naked under florescent dressing room lights.

One shudders, just remembering it.

I went directly from The Swimsuit Incident to an event at Fullsteam.  It was sponsored by the Nasher, in celebration of the Calder exhibit.  (You’ve been, right? Tell me you’ve been?)  The whole point was to drink beer and have fun making things, which was pretty helpful in my state of mind.  “Swimsuit Angry,” I was dubbed.  Veronica had all kinds of helpful swimsuit suggestions, and Julia was mainly concerned that I was going to throw my back out gesturing about how I am Never Going To The Beach Again Because It Is Not Worth It, and Jason had the good grace to smile and listen patiently and not say anything, because what could the poor man say about a crazy swimsuit rant?  But then we got beers (Moon Pie beers!) and considered the task at hand: to make the tallest tower we could, out of spaghetti and teeny marshmallows, which would support one giant marshmallow.

I couldn’t even face it.  I considered just eating the marshmallows, and then throwing the spaghetti at all the successful people around me, and having another beer.  Veronica, who has never for one minute hesitated to dive into a task with confidence in all the years I’ve known her, started assembling a tripod and bam, like that, went vertical with the marshmallows and spaghetti.  I couldn’t resist.  I love to make things.  So I marshmallowed.  I towered.  I considered what Calder would have done: he would have started by balancing the tiniest, most delicate parts first, and then moved outward; I spent too long just figuring out how to support the big marshmallow, before I even figured out what my tower would have to be.  While my sculpture was still an inch tall, I glanced over to a table full of the aforementioned successful people across the bar, with a two-foot high marshmallow cathedral.  It was gorgeous.

My master’s degree in architecture and I almost cried, and we thought about calling up my astronomical student loans and seeing if the three of us could start over on a more productive career path.  But I pulled it together.  I went vertical, too.  Veronica helped me attach the bracing, and we discovered that unspooling a marshmallow and then using it like tape is really satisfying, if messy.


My tower was not the tallest, or the widest, or the prettiest.  It was kind of elegant, in its own spindly way, though.  I glued it to the barstool with little bits of marshmallow goo, because structure is everything when you’re aiming high, and damn, that thing had staying power.

All in all, I’d call the day a success.

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