Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Putting the Cart Before the Horse’s Ass

Back out to play 18 holes at Fontcaude. As you may know from previous posts, this course is very hilly so, this time, we each borrowed a better-quality golfcart. I borrowed one from a friend of Bob and Michèle borrowed Bob’s cart. It helped, but we were still beat by the time we reached the last hole. The 18th is a par 5, boomerang-shaped. The first part is a long downhill slope off the tee, then a long uphill slope towards the hole.

After we tee off, we reach the crest of the downhill. Michèle says, “Bob’s cart needs to be adjusted. It always wants to go to the left. Watch this.” She sends the cart down the hill, and it gently turns left.

“Mine’s the opposite,” I say. “It always wants to go to the right.” With that, I shove the cart down the hill. Away it goes, gathering speed, slowly turning right, going faster, turning right…turning right for a drainage ditch that’s about a five-foot drop off the edge of the fairway!

Off I go after the cart, at a trot, then a sprint, then a full gallop. It’s downhill, the cart gathers speed…but so do I. My high school geometry and calculus, dormant these many years, suddenly activate. I plot the point where the cart, at its speed and turning trajectory, and I, at my speed and straight trajectory, will intercept. C’mon legs, don’t fail me now! I’m closing the gap, but my speed and the slope of the hill are forcing me straight downhill. Ten feet and closing…six feet and closing…but the cart keeps turning away from me. It’s getting away. I lunge for the handle and grasp it. I’m going one way, the cart is going another. The cart yanks on my arm and swivels me around. I hold on but the force of stopping flips the cart and my bag sideways. I won’t let go, not now, not on the edge of the drainage ditch.

The cart is safe. My clubs are safe. My self-esteem…well, at my age, it’s reassuring that the adrenal glands still work.

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