Thursday, July 31, 2008

Smell the Testosterone

So, not done with the Emersons, per say.

I've spent the last three days bouncing between two different heroes. My sister Leah is editing The Best with an iron fist. It's not the slaughter I had on my hands when she did Marrying, but it's a little messy as I work in some better backbones for Bobby and Lily in the early going. She makes my books better, so it's worth the pain.

Simultaneously, my Mom is doing the first reading of A Part - "Engrossing," she called it, but as I thought it was, the setting is weak. And as I work in better descriptions of the land and try to get a better handle on a Lakota mindset, I've been in Jacob's head a lot.

And it's not easy to shift gears between 1960s sweetheart and 1990s noseless cowboy, especially when I lack the requisite testosterone.

So last night, I went about getting some.

That's right, we went to a demolition derby at the Adams County Fair.

Ah, the smell alone - ancient boats of cars leaking gas and coolants, wet mud mixed with the distinctive scent of pig, the collective sweat of a crowd eager to see some serious destruction blending with funnel cakes and corn dogs - was, well, smelly. In a manly kind of way.

So we ate carnival food - the toddler LOVES corndogs - he eats all the corn part first, dog part second - and sat to wait. Occasionally, a few tractors would move some dirt, which was just enough toddler entertainment to keep the tantrums at bay, but we got an extra 40 minutes of quality people watching as crowds filtered in and back out for more fried foods.

It's good to do some people watching, even if you are endlessly waiting for cars to crash. I tend to see the same seven people every week - Hubby, toddler, coworkers, boss, daycare ladies. Seeing every manner of human - teenagers trying too hard, farmers with their overalls unbuttoned on the side (why???), thugs smoking directly under the no-smoking signs, beautiful people, ugly people, kids hyped on candy and lurching carnival rides, and the fashion choices everyone makes - gives me a better worldview from which to base other viewpoints.

And then the cars rolled in.

There's no better way to get in touch with sheer masculinity than to sit next to the hubby - the man who makes the best damn chocolate chip cookies in the world, who does the dishes and spends time with his son - the perfect man, in other words - and see him transform into something more essentially, elementally male before my eyes. The harder the crunch, the deeper the rumbling "Yeah!" that sprung forth his chest until it was little more than a primeval growl of satisfaction. I swear, if I looked hard enough, I could actually see the testosterone levels increasing. Fists began to pump, and when a car caught fire, he actually stood and howled with the crowd, toddler in his arms, yelling with him.

The most dramatic part of the evening was after the red flag was waved for the flaming car. One car either missed the 8 red flags waving or purposefully ignored them, and, backing up, t-boned two stopped cars at full speed. The crowd held it's breath for a moment before it erupted, torn between cheers for the solid hit and boos for the new bad guy. Both drivers of the other cars climbed out, and we nearly had a brawl on our hands. One of the refs mucked through the mud as fast as possible to head off the fisticuffs, tearing off the offender's flag to disqualify him for unsportsmanlike conduct, but the crowd's reaction was classic.

The women, almost to a female, cheered heartily at the disqualification.

The men were doing their best to egg on the fight. Hubby included.

Distinctly manly.

And then we came home and he read the toddler a story and tucked him in. The perfect man.

So, after blending with a broader cross-section of humanity, I'm going to spend the afternoon in the heads of the men I've created. I think I understand them a bit better. And if not, there's another demo derby the next county over on Friday night.


Carolyn said...


Caley Greene said...

Sounds like a good time was had by all.

I too managed to grab some testosterone as it flew by, while photographing a motorcycle rally followed days later by the 25th anniversary of the Fiero Car Reunion. I'll share pics. Eventually.