Friday, December 29, 2017

Riding Ferris Wheels With Men

Sunset with Ferris Wheel in Distance

I rode a ferris wheel with the man I loved in the parking lot of a strip mall somewhere in Nashville, Tennessee.  It was the last century. It was the last millennium. The air was still dense with humidity even after the sun sank,  a pale disc that had hung baleful in a colorless sky for months. The Chinese restaurant where we ate beforehand was dark and cold. We ordered hot and sour soup and shredded garlic pork that came with rice. We read our fortunes. Men trip not on mountains, they trip on molehills. I know I threw my head back later and laughed into the sky, my hair damp on my neck, drops of sweat in the small of my back, our fingers entwined, legs dangling over the parking lot far below. I couldn't bear to look down. The bench creaked when we shifted. He always made me laugh. Did we marry later that summer? Did I betray him less than two years later?

That dizzy dancing way you feel.

Men watch football and they watch baseball. They watch basketball. When they aren't in the kitchen, men watch cars going round hairpin bends in foreign countries. The sisters of men watch football, too, and they watch basketball and crack nuts in their new teeth, crunch like the bodies on the screens. The girlfriends of men watch football in their team's jerseys, screaming at home on the couch or in sports bars, lunging toward screens, so many screams. I'm a girlfriend of a man who watches football and who watches basketball, but I don't watch. I can't bear to watch.

I was delighted to find myself swept upwards and downwards at such speed. But the wheel turned round so rapidly that a Greek who was sitting near me couldn’t bear it any longer, and shouted out “Soni! Soni!” (enough! enough!)

Pietro Della Valle, a Roman traveller visiting Constantinople during a Ramadan festival in 1615, riding what was known as a "pleasure wheel"


  1. A pleasure wheel...
    And sometimes, yes, we do have to proclaim loudly, "Enough! Enough!" in whatever language we need to say it.
    I don't watch sports either. Can't. Won't. Don't. I will make nachos for those who do, however.
    And one more thing- this post was heartbreakingly beautiful in all ways. Thank you for giving it to us.

  2. the writing here is just stunning, whole worlds of emotion and experience in a few sentences. wow.

  3. May 2018 be a pleasure wheel. Happy new year, Elizabeth!

  4. I too hope you find your pleasure wheel in the coming year. Best to you and thanks for being here.

  5. Sometimes women like to watch sports without any male involvement at all.



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