Wow, it’s been a pretty exciting day here in Central Oregon! We just got back from a trip to Bend and Sunriver in which we visited a Costco store! Yes, it isn’t politically correct to admit this, since Costco is one those giant “big box” stores that squeezes out local competition, but we love Costco. It’s so full of surprises. We went in with the single-minded intention to buy some supplies for the Camp Sherman cabin, and as soon as we passed through the door we were sidetracked by the giant display of men’s and women’s winter jackets.
A men’s Fila 3-in-1 jacket, suggested retail price $150, Costco price: $62! I didn’t even know I needed a jacket. But at less than half price, I immediately knew that I had to have one. A woman’s Pacific Trail 4-in-1 jacket, no suggested retail price, Costco price: $59. Laurel always knows that she needs new clothes. And at that price, she too immediately knew that she had to have one. We’ve just spent an enjoyable half hour back at the cabin exploring all the possibilities of our “3-in-1” and “4-in-1” jackets. Laurel has that extra option open to her because her fleece liner is reversible, while mine isn’t, a fact she has now pointed out to me, oh, about two dozen times. Hey, whatever a person needs to do for self-esteem is fine with me.
Actually, the fashion excitement started the night before, when we watched a taped episode of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” A chill went up my spine when one of the Fab Five was showing the straight guy how to improve the look of his beard, and the very same Norelco beard trimmer was brought out that I had just bought myself for my birthday a week ago. I’m cool! I’m using a Queer-Eye certified personal grooming device! And I got it before the Fab Five gave it their imprimatur!
Another clue that I’m getting more in touch with my sensitive feminine side came this afternoon as we were riding our bikes at Sunriver, trying to find the path that leads down and around the golf course to the river. We had parked in the Sunriver mall, and went into a few stores hoping to find something to buy so we wouldn’t feel too guilty sneaking onto the Sunriver bicycle paths, which, technically speaking, are only for the use of homeowners and guests. Armed with a map of the development, we had deadended at the golf course fairway, where I was intending to set out along a course that undoubtedly could have been a bike path to the river, if only for the minor detail of a sign that said “To the 1st tee—golf carts only.”
I considered this to be an advisory, not a command, since my innate masculine sense of direction, combined with a cursory glance at the Sunriver map, had convinced me that we should keep riding in the direction of the 1st tee, regardless of all the golf carts—and no bicycles—that were using the path. However, Laurel came up with the astounding suggestion of asking someone for directions, a notion that at first left me shell-shocked at its brilliance, its unexpectedness, its where-did-you-get-that-idea! surprise. Ask for directions when you don’t know how to get to where you want to go…the old Brian wouldn’t have been able to recognize the wisdom in this unfamiliar postulate, but the new Brian—perhaps freshly sensitized by his Queer-Eye certified beard trimmer—was wonderfully open to the idea.
Well, perhaps not wonderfully open. But I was able to stand by mutely as Laurel asked directions from two guys standing by the golf course pro shop bike rack, staring off into the distance and not exactly meeting their eyes, but not exactly totally ignoring them either. I even said “thank you” when they pointed us in the exact opposite direction from the 1st tee, and vowed that one day, perhaps, if my life depends on it, and no one else is around to see my shame, I may again ask directions from two guys.
We ended up enjoying a nice loop down to the river, past the Sunriver air strip, and back to the mall—all without needing any more help from strangers, and with minimal consulting of the map. My self-esteem had pretty much recovered by the time I hoisted our bikes up onto the rack with my partly-frozen fingers. Tip: bike riding at Sunriver in mid-October should not be done with half-fingered bicycle gloves. Second tip: your chances of getting lost will be lessened if you take a woman along on your ride.