Any Excuse For A Party

Two bits of advice I never followed:

1) Friend Owen M.’s : “you cannot be a party girl and expect to get results as a bike racer” and…
2) sitting in a sauna between two women, the issue of discipline came up as we all shared our reasons for a daily swim. One asked me why I ran everywhere (i was into jogging for transportation in the late 1970′s), and if I liked it.
I answered: ” I run for fun, so yes of course l like it. You learn every inch of the city“.

San Francisco is a city worth combing carefully through, the treasures (Victorian architecture, plantings, shops and parks) are in every block.

The other woman sniffed, “you cannot expect simply to run and swim and play your whole life away”…she was an opthamologist who had trained as a lawyer before deciding on medical school.
Surprisingly, the one with the arch comment prevailed. I was still beating myself up about that childhood promise to become a doctor.
I re-entered (and again left unfinished) pre-medical studies.
Somehow I wasn’t ready to follow my (Ur-slacker’s) heart –which raced as merrily at 180 b.p.m. as at 50 beats).
As fate would have it, the next year brought such upheaval—a Hurricane Katrina of the soul—that I granted myself permission to ….run and swim and play. Forever.

There was much to celebrate in my decision (not fully conscious) to be a professional er …’athlete’. Freedom from routine and freedom from imposed makeup and yuppie clothing. Even cycling uniforms put me off, I hardly ever got with any uniform.
I’m sure it can be attributed to allergies: to work, to tidiness, to ….responsibility.
This freed up time to drag others down the same path (in very small increments).

I’m winding up to something: the first decent party I ever went to.
Tobias Baskin was the host, he was a friend of my sister Jill’s, and he had a dozen friends over to make pizzas. LOTS of pizzas. After that evening of fresh piping hot tomatoey pies and flour-coated hands and clothes I was sure this was the Correct Way To Throw A Party.
“Have a Mission”.
So before long I was having Bicycle Swap Meets (which were indeed quite the little trading parties, and I served food to the ‘guests’), Moon Viewing Picnics and Birthday Garbage Pickups. The flyers were fun to make and they fell out of a binder when I was moving my files around the mogul-field known as my storage closet /former bedroom.

There is almost no white space. The words are packed in, margin-to-margin…and of course I’m in love with my ‘copy’…I had no idea that writing would become Homework For Life.

Nowadays I’m ashamed of the hodgepodge look ( flyers even more messy than my room, my hair, my daily non-routine). But I’m not afraid to show them to you and say: you shoulda been there, finding a much-desired rare bicycle… bike part… jersey…riding buddy. You coulda pickedup half a ton of trash on my birthday “Planet Polishing Party”… or fabricating non-Hallmark Valentines, the ultimate do-it-yourself declarations of sincerity.

There remain twenty three more cutting and pasting days…

~ by jacquiephelan on January 22, 2008.

3 Responses to “Any Excuse For A Party”

  1. The flyers are quite wonderful and fun to look at. i was perusing them this afternoon before you had written about them. I have found other examples on the web and always marvel at the fertile mind that creates the word plays and connections.

    I think you said that the book was about riding for women, but have you ever considered just doing a memoir/autobiography? A lot of people, men and women alike probably admire and value your unique perspective on life and would like to know more. Perhaps even a how-to book about living the serendipitous/outlandish/uninhibited life, focusing on the here and now, the precious present (to refer back to something I learned in alcohol rehab; yes, a dark side to my background). I don’t know if you are familiar with Sarah Susanka, author of the “Not so big house” series but she has now written a “Not so big life” book, about how to find the time to do what we want to do. Maybe you could write a “How to live a Bigger-than-life” life style book with zany ideas like the parties you refer to and other typical. Just some random thoughts, but you have a lot to say to people about finding and living the life you want to have.
    Ciao, Paul

  2. Yes, that was a great party, but I am amazed to be reading about it on line 25 (?) years later. And then there were the make your ice cream parties, dozens of folks turning the cranks of freezers. And then dancing like wildfires. TB

  3. Jacquie, I just want to read your book. I could give a flying flarch what it’s about.

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