First Person: The Must List
A few weeks back, I interviewed wrestling coach C.D. Mock, who is a joy to speak with. He loves his University, he loves his program, and he loves wrestling. We spoke at length about a common and necessary practice in college wrestling: weight cutting. Not a conversation most people have before the holidays and I only felt slightly guilty about eating and drinking liberally while writing the story.
The most interesting part of the conversation was our discussion about hydration. I knew wrestlers had to limit their food intake, which sounds terrible enough, but I had no idea they had to endure not only hunger, but thirst. When wrestlers are cutting weight, much of what they’re losing is water weight, to be quickly gained back later.
One thing Mock told me stuck in my memory. He said, “Most people have no idea what it means to be thirsty. The minute anybody gets thirsty they can quench their thirst. When you have to go to bed at night and your tongue is sticking on the roof of your mouth, it takes an ungodly amount of discipline to endure that.”
Think of a time when you were so incredibly hungry and you had that first bite of food. Pretty good, right? Now think of a time when you were so incredibly thirsty and you were finally able to gulp down that big glass of water. Even better! When you get to that point of extreme thirst, a glass of water can be more satisfying than even the most delectable food.
Mock is right, I’ve never been truly thirsty, but the closest I ever remember was during a flight a few years back. I was sleeping when the beverage cart wheeled by and when I woke up, I was parched. The flight attendants had settled in for the long flight and were nowhere to be seen. The flight attendant call button tempted me from above, but I felt too much like a little kid calling for her mom in the middle of the night, so I sat and tried not to think of how thirsty I was…which of course made me thirstier.
So I have I no idea what it’s like to go to bed with my tongue stuck to the top of my mouth, but if it’s anything like my flight from hydration hell, I’ll pass.
It got me thinking, besides water and food, what are some things I’d rather not limit or eliminate from my life? This is a different kind of Christmas list. It’s not things I want, but rather things I could not bear to lose. Let me keep these this Christmas, Santa, and I promise I’ll be good all year.
Sleep: You know those people who sleep about 5 hours a night but as long as they have a cup of coffee in the morning and they are up and running for the day? That is not me. I prefer 8 or 9 and will settle for 7. Get much below that and I’m sorry if you run into me that day. My second child is coming in May and I can only hope this baby loves sleep as much as his or her mom.
Online shopping: I remember a few months ago having to recite my credit card number to a man and when I didn’t have to pull it out of my wallet, he seemed impressed (or possibly disgusted). I was struck with the idea that many people don’t know their credit card or debit card numbers by heart. To my defense, I pay our family bills, all of which are electronic. But yes, I like online shopping and consider myself pretty good at it. In the past few years, my Christmas shopping has felt like cheating. Take online shopping away from me and you might not find a present in your stocking.
Library card: I love reading and I’m one of those crazy people who reads actual books. The Kindle, Nook, Nexus and all other tablets are fantastic inventions, but they just aren’t for me. I go through books too fast and I’m a bit too frugal (don’t let my online shopping fool you) to be an avid tablet user (which requires you buy books). But did you know you can go to the library’s website, reserve a book, and the friendly librarians will grab it for you, put it on a shelf with your name on it, and call you up when it’s ready for pick up? And it’s free? It’s a great version of online shopping with no financial penalties.
GPS: There are some lost arts with the newest generation. Cursive, for instance, is one discipline many schools are no longer teaching (my grandmother was aghast when she learned this and solemnly asked, “How will they sign checks?”). Another abandoned skill is the map reading, and I will count myself among the lost causes. Coupled with that, my internal navigation system is completely broken (actually, I’m not sure it was ever functioning). I can be in a hotel room for an entire week, but when I step out of my room, I’ll need to look both ways to see which way the elevator is. Some deficiencies life you make up for with practice and discipline….and some you just rely on technology. Thank you, GPS, for (usually) preventing me from driving around the Triangle aimlessly.
Hot showers: Everyone can agree that cold showers are terrible, but to me, a lukewarm shower will probably mean no shower at all. I love visiting my in-laws, but they have that kind of shower. The kind where the first few minutes are ok, but you keep turning the knob further and further to the left until it won’t budge any further. It’s a slow progression from hot to warm to tepid and I’m scrambling because I haven’t even put the conditioner in my hair yet. And forget about it if someone has taken a shower before you. Take shorter showers, you say? I’ll save the world in other ways, thank you. Before I buy my next house, I will insist on a full 20-minute shower and if my skin is red by the end of it, hand me the papers to sign. But hand me a towel first.
So there you have it. Just let me sleep, shop, shower, read and navigate this Christmas and I’ll be merry.
What’s on your Christmas list?