Tuesday, February 22, 2011

the trouble with nudists

Since I am the one writing this blog about my family & our life I think it only fair that as introduce us further I start with myself. To quote the Bare Naked Ladies “I have a history of taking off my shirt.”  I’m not an exhibitionist I am simply a time-challenged-changer.  We visit a lot of hot pots.  It is a cheap or free family multi aged activity we all enjoy.  Most of my ‘wardrobe malfunctions’ occur on the banks of undeveloped hot springs.  So you’d think I would be pleased to stumble across the nudists.  And at first I was but we’ll have to back up a bit to the beginning where all great adventures are born in the mountains in the mud.  

The Dirty Dash is a mud run advertised as:

“Have you ever said to yourself, “Marathons are too easy, and Triathlons are for sissies?”
We haven’t either…those races are really hard. Think about it…the first person to run a marathon actually died. HE DIED!...and he probably didn’t even have fun along the way! Well let us introduce you to the new race in town…THE DIRTY DASH. This race puts all other races to shame. The Dirty Dash is where a military boot camp meets your inner five-year-old’s fantasy and subsequently converts boy to man and then…man to swine.
You’ll need endurance to trudge up mountains of sludge, courage to overcome uncompromising obstacles, a complete lack of shame to wallow in pits of mud and a smile to show through at the end!”

And I am a runner.  So I spent more than half the summer training for the DD.  Along with my team mates 4 girls & 1 guy we ran as Brother Brandon’s Brides sporting black Sister-Wife t-shirts, it's a Utah thing.
“Sister Wife Brown, you have just finished running a 10k through the mud over walls, bales of hay, through tunnels, & a crazy sick swamp what are going to do now?”
“I’m going to Disneyland!”  No, wait I’m not.  That would suck. I have mud places you can’t imagine mud being.  I’m going to the only place my head is ever still, where my heart is clam, and there is no time, to Utah’s West Desert & Baker Hot Springs.

Four hours later driving in the dark drinking gas station coffee Beach asleep in her car seat we roll into Baker for a well deserved soak.  Only the place is crazy alive with campers & tents.  There were more people there than the last three towns combined!  We have 5 living things in the van, two adults, one child, & two dogs.  Well then, let’s be considerate & make sure they are okay with the dogs. 

Colby slips out into the landscape of camper land. I dutifully wait.  Okay I’m bad at waiting.  The second he leaves I strip to a bikini while convincing Beach she has to wear a swimsuit because we don’t want to freak other people out.  I grab the wine & the kid & start walking the wrong direction.  Oh yeah, I am bad at direction too.
I wander down a row of motor homes & the whispering begins, “She has a child.”  “The child.”  “A child.” “Oh my, a child.”
It’s creepy, ever read The Witches, by Dahl?

Okay, so with the newly anointed Christ Child, the miracle of the wine, the creepy voices whispering above the bond fire, & me wandering into the desert like Moses I realize this is not the last story I want the narrator to report of my life. 

Not wanting to look too stupid in the dark in front of strangers I pretend I meant to do this by showing Beach the night sky exploding in stars unobstructed by city lights before turning back.  An older woman grabs my hand, “Oh excuse me are you with Colby?”  It’s the way she said his name all dreamy & sexy & I think ‘wow dude that was fast’. 

As it turns out she met Colby & his Apollo like athletic body at the hot springs.  She begins to explain to me that the dogs are great, & Colby, well we already know how she feels about Colby, & I’m okay, (hey I’m more than okay in this suit after four months of serious training!) but the offensive kid has to go. 

We step out of billowy blushes me-bikini-child-wine & strange older lady into the rising gray mist to face Colby-2 dogs & 30 naked adults the water peeking out just behind their glistening butt cheeks. 

Important fact: Baker Hot Springs is on public land, it’s a small world after all but the nudists have a not so small legal issue. 

Second important fact: these are not the nudists of my dreams.  Yep, not what I envisioned when I heard the word ‘nudist’ but I will spare you my idealistic vision of what naked people in groups should look like I’ll just say my disappointment was much like the moment my older sister proved to me that there was no Santa (& no Spin-out 360 big wheel in my future) by showing me all my wrapped Christmas presents hidden in our parents room.

The legal issue, Utah State law states they can’t be around children while congregating nakedly but clearly no clause about physical fitness. The discussion Colby was engaged in plummets south very quickly when the Child clutching a yellow rubber duck comes into view of the group.  A wave of unease moves through them & as the Child’s mother feeling the negatively directed at her, the tightening of the grip of her little legs around my waist, I instantly morph into a grizzle bear. If you’re a mom you know what I’m talking about.     

Their point, we have to leave because they can’t be around Beach.  Our point evolves from 'hey there is room for everybody' & 'we won’t tell if you won’t', into my point which became ‘hope you all know where your left your keys cause I’m calling this one in and you all might want to get going!’ 

I am an angry mom who just ran a 10k mud run at high altitude & then drove 4 hours to get in that water & pink shriveled parts were not going to stop me and nothing was going to separate me from my child. 

Colby on the other hand was catching a very subtle under current of something less wholesome.  Noticing the way the crowd would shift their eyes in the same spot, to the same man every time the ‘Child’ was mentioned.  He decided it was time to get his family out of harms way.  

Colby takes instructions to another spring near by.  Unfortunately this was the moment I boiled over. The two things you have learned about me 1. I am not good at waiting.  2. I have the worse sense of direction on the planet.  Well here is the third, for all the crazy inappropriate things I think (& write) I hardly every say them out loud, on purpose anyway.  So back to kid on hip, wine in hand, rocking a bikini in the night air & out it comes, “For all the nudity around here I sure don’t see any f$#&ing balls!” Silence falls through the group Colby gasps then snorts, choking back a giggle & leads us away.

I hate to admit that the other springs are better.  Three magical pools out in the field surrounded by grasses, a thousand shades of green blanketed in stars & whiskey clouds.  No one around & suits not required, no bears in sight.  Just don’t tell the pack of nudists because we don’t see eye to eye.  Maybe the only thing we can agree on is Colby, he can be pretty wow.  And life is like this, the idea of something like Santa or Nudists can be so great so grand so pure in your mind.  Like a naked seven year old running through a field, two moons shinning in the night but it only takes one drop of evil to spoil it for everybody.  

‘We all live down stream’.  And no matter how poor my sense of direction is I will always manage to find myself in hot water.                 

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