Thursday, April 5

cowboy weak

I bought another book. My seeming total lack of self-control disappoints me. 

But this collection of short stories was irresistible: Cowboys Have Always Been My Weakness. Sigh. I hear ya, sister.

OneArmGirl and Lil Sis
When I was a girl, I could imagine no more romantic life than by the side of a charming, muscled wrangler. In my fantasy, his hat and our porch wrapped around.

I can't say that I've actually known any real cowboys. Except maybe Grandpa Switzer who, though he may have been a cowboy, was definitely not my grandpa.

Mr. Switzer was really a good family friend. When my dad was a boy, he would visit the Switzers and their horses in the mountains. When I was a kid, Grandpa Switzer put me in front of him on a horse, who promptly saw a white paper in the grass and started rearing up. But Grandpa Switzer held me in place and collected the horse before I had a chance to get scared.

One summer, Grandpa Switzer came to help my dad remodel the house; actually put a second story on the ranch style. Read: ranch style, not ranch. He had a thick Oklahoma accent and worked nearly non-stop all day without a bathroom break. One day he accidentally put his cowboy boot through the roof into the room below, to the great surprise of Little Gen, who's handle was then literal.

In many ways like the American cowboy, Grandpa Switzer seems timeless. I'm almost certain he hadn't changed a bit from my father's childhood to mine.

Entering adulthood, I put cowboy love aside. Raising cattle really takes a lot of work, I figured. Plus I had college and world wide fame to daydream about.

But now college is a distant memory; world wide fame a mirage. And I'm getting back to my roots. I put a lot of thought into which pair of jeans I put on each morning; I've developed a healthy appreciation for Bluegrass; and on any given day, I can be found shoveling manure. I'm becoming a wannabe cowgirl.

Car seat cowboy
So I couldn't help but note an abundance of cowboy references in my life this week. On Friday, I picked up The Onion horoscopes and read the forecast for Gemini: "You'll be roundly condemned by members of the Academy of Country Music when, despite their specific instructions, you let your babies grow up to be cowboys."

Two nights ago, I found myself out on the mesa, in a small white pickup, making out with my ex-boyfriend. What, like that never happens.

Between kisses, I tell him about the book. In the title story, this girl dreams about cowboys her whole life, then she goes to live on a ranch and a cowboy shows up that couldn't be closer to cliché. He has impeccable character, and muscles. They go dancing. They gaze at the stars. She's finally found her cowboy. On the day that she leaves, he rides after her car on his horse across the prairie to ask her to come back soon. But as she watches him ride away, she realizes that saying cowboys are her weakness is more about her identity than the cowboys; it's a story she's created to define herself.

"So, I'm your cowboy?" Mountain Guy says.

"You're not a cowboy!" I say.

"I could be a cowboy." He seems offended.

Then I had to pee, but there was nowhere to go, so I had to squat in front of his truck. Talk about a romantic cliché kill.

But I don't think I'm that into cowboys after all. Maybe I'm just weak for a boy, and my self-control has obviously gone on vacation. Or maybe I just like being that girl, the...


post delay

Due to it being National Poetry Month and some related but unforeseen circumstances, today's post will be delayed. In the meantime, please enjoy this poem from a blog I stumbled on this week...