Monday, January 01, 2007

Push the Button*

Yep, it was as cold as it looks.

Because I wanted to kick-start the New Year, at noon today Richard and I went down to the annual Polar Plunge event at North Ave. Beach.


I’m not normally one of these people that thinks it’s fun or cool to go for a swim in Lake Michigan on New Years, but this year it felt like something I really wanted to do. I don’t typically make resolutions but over the past week as I would reflect on 2007 there are some specific things I want to accomplish, all of which will take Strength, Courage, Commitment and Focus. For me to do a Polar Plunge would require at least three of those things, so I thought it would be a good symbolic test.

Plus, it helped having Richard there to encourage me. As soon as I even brought up the idea he was practically running for the car keys and the towel. Unfortunately for him (ahem), he had a really bad cold and decided to cheer from the beach instead of taking the dip with me.


When we arrived at North Ave., the parking lot was already full and people were gathering on the beach. I didn’t quite know what to expect, but it was like we crashed a big beach party. There were probably 250 people there (I think about 100 of whom participated) and everyone was in a festive mood. Or still drunk from the night before.
WTF am I doing here???
[Have I mentioned how much I love my hat? I thought about wearing it into the water.]


Ten minutes before noon I took off my shoes to get my feet accustomed to the cold. Standing barefoot on cold sand in the middle of winter feels exactly as you imagine it would - fucking cold. A few minutes later I stripped off my pants and soon I was shivering from both the cold and adrenaline. Up to this point I really wasn’t sure if I could do it, but I pretty much figured that now there was no turning back.


Definitely no turning back now...

At about noon there was a big frenzy and everyone started rushing into the water, and I followed suit. It’s best not to think too much about what you're doing and allow yourself to go with the flow. Some people were immediately diving under, others were making their way steadily towards deeper water (I was one of those), others were running in and immediately running back out. Most everyone, however, was in and out of the water in seconds. I tried a few times to just fall into waves and get it over with, but I was so cold I kept losing my
breath. I feared a complete loss of bowel control was imminent and unavoidable. I wanted to get back to shore.

As I watched more and more people do their business and head back to the beach I thought about just turning around and calling it a day. I had gone in up to my waist and thought, well, this is the best I’m going to do. But as I looked to shore I saw Richard there cheering me on and I knew that I would be really disappointed if I didn’t go all the way under since that’s what I came out here to do. It felt like one of those now-or-never moments and fuck it, you only live once (and I don’t plan on doing this again next year).

I wish I could say that as my body went completely under the surface I felt a tremendous sense of achievement, or that I felt “reborn” or some bullshit like that, but it happened so fast that there was no time to contemplate any great symbolic accomplishment. The next thing I knew I was running back to the shore, the feeling in my feet and toes completely missing. On the plus side, as far as I could tell my bowels had behaved themselves nicely (although my testicles were somewhere near my sternum).


Look closely at that thing going under water on the far left.
That would be me.


And that boys and girls, was that. Over the next few minutes Richard helped me get dressed back into warm clothing and feeling began returning to my extremities. I thanked him because if he wasn’t there I would have never done it, and he thanked me for the good show. For the rest of the day I felt high and it was a good way to start the year, I figure.



Happy 2007 Bitches!

* "Push the Button" is a kickass song from the Sugababes, that also may be my unofficial theme song for the year. If you don't know this song, you should.

22 comments:

Prashant Sridharan said...

I have long claimed to be eccentric and insane. I must admit now that I am actually quite boring and even more dull. You, sir, are my hero. You are positively certifiable, and I mean that in the most amazingly good way.

As Van Gogh would say, Happy New Ear!

Katie in the UK said...

You can take the rest of 2007 off...you've done the craziest damn thing you can do. The Alaskan in me is horrified but the thrill-seeker is proud of you!

Way to keep it real in 2007.

Now go drink some hot cocoa! Buen Ano CherryRide!

NAME: Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

I was going to do the PBC last year, but I couldn't find any information online, like they're a secret society or something . . .

Big ups to you for going for it! It's like a babtism of sorts for the new year.

Julie_Gong said...

Way to go on controlling the bowels. I can't imagine that would be easy. Happy 2007!

Airam said...

Holy Shit! That's so awesome!

Congratulations on going through with it. The closest I've gotten to doing anything daring is attempting to walk across Capilano Bridge in BC. Basically I couldn't do it and I've regretted it ever since so good for you!!

What a great way to start 2007!

Gregg Smith said...

Congrats - way to go. I just want to know one thing - are you warm yet?

classyandfancy said...

I am pleased that you had a photographer to document the happenings. Thanks Rich!

2007 in the house WHAT WHAT!

Alison said...

That is so awesome! I'm impressed...happy new year!

Ace Cowboy said...

The look on that dude's face in the pic where you go under says it all...good work, man.

I can only imagine the amount of shrinkage at a polar bear event...

RevRee said...

I want to see pictures of you in a speedo! Damnit, where are they???

Mood Indigo said...

OH MY GOSH - I can't believe you mentioned "Push the button"!!!! I heard it when I was in London last January and I haven't been able to find it (at least not on itunes) because of U.K. licensing (I presume?). It is the damn catchiest song and I would so love it to be part of my 2007 soundtrack. Where can I download it?

Aside from my general excitement about how much your taste in pop music rocks - congrats on taking the plunge! That is a fanstastic way to kick of the new year!

K.I.D. said...

Brrrrrr!

Good on ya. I was still in bed while you were accomplishing that.

Dop said...

I will totally do this with you next year!

Lori Mocha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lori Mocha said...

I don't get it.

Ryan said...

Remember when you almost got me fired? That was awesome...


not

Happy New Year!

Katie in the UK said...

Mood Indigo - you should go to allofmp3.com. It sucks that you can't create an account on the UK iTunes without a UK billing address. Grrr.

Mood Indigo said...

katie - thanks for the tip!

Matt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt said...

That has to be the most sadistic start to 2007 yet, way to go Cherry! You're setting the bar pretty high for us there.

And I agree, Push the Button; great song and annoyingly catchy.

Taylor said...

i said BRRRRRRR, it's cold out here!

ah, diving in ice cold water to kick off '07 ... the new hotness!

ridiculous said...

that's awesome. what a nice way to start the new year! it certainly beats sitting on the couch, eating donuts and chugging an extra-large fountain soda...