|The stuff of dreams|
I had brought one along with us with almost god-like (for a ten-year-old) foresight, and once I had broken into the meeting and wheedled the car keys from my mother to let me go get it out, all was anticipation. I raced to the car; the door opened with a gagging whoosh of superheated air. I had somehow forgotten a phenomenon I had witnessed firsthand every day of my life to that date -- cars parked in the Hawaiian sun get HOT. I extracted my precious Mountain Dew, now almost too hot to touch, and returned the car keys, crestfallen. I stared at my once-frosty midday treat; what was I to do? And the answer is, drink it anyway. Besides, Mom had told me to wait a few hours for it to cool down with her in the air-conditioned conference I was continually interrupting, so of course I had to keep my treasure out of the hands of that longstanding Mountain Dew-hating nemesis. Besides, I knew what I was doing! Yeah!
I knocked it back like a champ. I don't know if anyone else in the Universe has found occasion to drink an actively hot soda, and I really don't think the lone survivor of that experience would happen upon this blog, but if the unthinkable has indeed happened -- you know what I'm talking about. There's just nothing else quite like it. (And you're glad there isn't, because that would be a nightmare world with acid-trip demons and shit.)
But I had accomplished Dew, and that meant I was victorious; and now, giant stairs! I had come from up-campus, so first I got to scramble down them; hop, hop, hop. Awesome! This was like being Alice in Wonderland! I drank something weird, and now I'm tiny! I jumped down at the bottom, spiked the landing, and looked back up the stairs; this was gonna be epic.
It was going to be much harder, my tiny brain suddenly realized, to get back up the giant stairs than to get down. But I was determined, I was ten, I was caffeinated; and most importantly, I had all day. And that, my friends, is the secret formula to achieving any goal. Can't get that spare bedroom cleaned out, or finish that last chapter you've been meaning to write? All you need is a time machine to Being Ten, a soda pop, and no supervision. I SOLVED those stairs, yo; with energy, brains, and good joint strength. If you run at a stair, I found, then sort of grab the lip of it and pull yourself up with the momentum, you'd get the upper half of your body onto the next stair; which is, of course, enough of you to then flail and heave yourself up to victory. It sounded sort of like:
Flail, flail, strain, flop
Grin, pant pant pant
The first one was easiest, because I had an unlimited space for my run-up; the following ones could only be the length of the stair I was on. But I had. ALL. DAY.
I think there were something like four to six of these stairs -- numbers have never really been my thing -- and by the time I got to the top, I was the happiest little mess you'd ever seen. I ran a jelly-legged victory lap on the lawn at the top of the stairs. But strangely, as elated as I was, my stomach didn't feel so hot. Or rather, it felt like I'd put hot Mountain Dew in it and then slammed it into the edge of several giant stairs. Whatever you want to call that; maybe slammy.
Essentially, I had regrets.
Slammy tummy or no, I at least wanted to look back at my achievement -- but when I went back to the top of the stairs, instead of admiring my hard earned view I immediately threw up (still) hot Mountain Dew over the edge.
Of course, by the time Mom got out of conferences and the shadows were growing long, all distress had been forgotten -- after all, that was like, four hours ago -- and all I remembered was that I'd climbed Alice's Stairs. And that I didn't want any Mountain Dew.
It wasn't until high school that I managed to return to Mountain Dew's embrace -- but it was there, waiting for me. It understood, it forgave; we fell in love all over again. Unfortunately, since then I had developed a terrible chronic headache, and caffeine apparently made it worse; but after surviving the Alice-Stairs Incident, what was a little more head pain between friends? And to this day, I just chase my (now Diet) Dew with water, or at least try to take it with food; but most importantly, I just drink it anyway. Like a ten-year-old champ.