Friday, August 31, 2012

Fail is a Four-Letter Word (So is Date)

After Juan stood me up, and showed up later bloody and broken, I agreed to go out with him again purely out of pity. Then he tried to kill me mountain climbing, but failed, hah. I only gave him a second chance to kill me because I really wanted to try skiing anyway. To be fair, the whole ski trip fiasco wasn’t Juan’s fault. He was terrific, all golden eyed and great smile. We walked into the lodge and stopped by the fireplace to warm up. Then the ladies swarmed, “Swoon!  Juan, didn’t we go to school together?  I’d remember your smile anywhere!” So he ordered drinks and started chatting up his admirers. Whatever. I left him there, recommending he take them hiking sometime, and headed to the ski slopes myself. He called after me to start on the Bunny Hill, where they offered lessons for newbies, and he’d catch up. Good luck with that.

Standing outside I noted Bunny Hill appeared to be slang for four-year olds, and that lessons would take up half of my allotted time. Talk about a waste of time. Besides that an unseasonable warm-up had hit, and the snow machine barely kept enough snow on the main drag. Most of the lower slopes were a slushy mess. I trotted over to the ski shack to rent skis. The Mandatory Handsome Ski Guy (MHSG) offered to help me out. Cool. Day is looking up. “How much do you weigh?” he asked. “I weigh 110 pounds,” I replied. The trick here is not to break eye contact. You must believe it when you say it. It’s a whole Jedi Mind Trick thing. “You’re not skiing in jeans, are you?” he asked. What else would I be skiing in?  I looked around then, and noted that the other skiers were wearing ski pants. Ah well, at that time in my life there was little on earth that could have gotten me into a pair of big puffy Santa pants. “I’m wearing jeans,” I told him. “They won’t be comfortable,” he warned. Comfortable?  Pants?  Where’d they get this guy?  These were the best pants I ever owned, they looked good!  Just a little tight in the legs, but no problem there, I avoided bending my legs.

MHSG (Mandatory Handsome Ski Guy) then needed to know what size shoe I wore. This is beyond the pale. State secrets. Like I was going to admit I pretty much fit the box the boots came in?  “I wear a size…7 ½ shoe,” employing Jedi Mind Do not look at my size ten feet Trick. “Our ski boots only come in whole sizes, so 8 or 7?” he said. “Seven.”  Damn that Cinderella and her little feet. How many blistered, hobbled feet is Walt Disney personally responsible for?  Or should we dump that sin on The Brothers Grimm?  Whichever. Personal responsibility is so pass√© I know the guilt rests with one of them.  Suited up I slid right onto the main thoroughfare. Hey I’m a natural. I can slide, cool.

For someone without an engineering cell in her body, a ski-lift is as wonderfully magical as a remote control. Big metal gliders are jerked up the mountain attached by what appears to be a twisty tie. Only the twisty isn’t tied, it magically sticks to a skinny little cable. That cable miraculously supports the weight of a hundred metal gliders and the weight of hundreds of skiers fed on cheesy fries. Could not wait to hop on!  Figuring out how to walk on skis, I made it to the ski lift and got in line. Wait. They don’t stop so you can get on?  Everybody just skied into place and hopped on the lift. Uh-oh, I’m pretty sure if I attempt to turn in these skis, I will be taking down everyone in a six foot radius. Maybe I’ll go practice.

Found a small hill and practiced. How cool is this?  Sliding down, sliding down, wait, sliding down fast!  Leaning back. Big mistake. How’d I get buried in snow?  No worries, I popped up and tried again. (Tip:  Don’t lean back.)  Now I’m moving fast, but going with it, because apparently there is no speed control on skis. And here’s the bottom of the hill. Stop. Stop!  People ahead!  How do you stop?  (Tip:  If you don’t know how to stop, don’t worry, there are many options. All of them hurt.) Okay, the stopping thing is a problem, but if you give yourself plenty of space to slow down on a flat surface, gravity will do it for you. Like skating!  Got it. Let’s go uphill so we can slide down and have some serious fun. Now getting to the top of the hill must involve the magical ski lift, because the other option was an epic fail. (Tip:  Don’t wear jeans skiing. After you’ve fallen, and been dragged through slush by the tow rope, your legs are now half frozen and soaking wet. No worries, the water is starting to freeze.)
Good news!  If given enough incentive, they actually will stop the ski lift to let you get on!  It’s all a matter of collateral damage, but you’ll figure it out I am sure. (Tip:  When you fall getting off, duck your head. They don’t stop it then.)  So here we are at the top and there are choices!  Let’s chat international signs for a moment. I don’t know about you, but to me they pretty much even everything out, because now no one knows what is going on in any language. Ah well, all the paths appear to lead down, and that is where I’m headed. Yep, I’m headed down, fast. This rocks!  Don’t lean back, don’t lean back. (Tip:  You will lean back, you will pay.)  Hey, what’s that sign say?  What’s a mogul?

We now know what a mogul is. Mogul is Mongolian for ‘You will fall on the far side of a snow mound and be battered by skiers who know what they are doing, Moron.’  The problem here is visibility. By the time you figure out where your skis are, and clamber to your feet, an airborne four-year old will take you out. Crawling isn’t an option either; remember you can’t bend your legs in those jeans. That is actually irrelevant though, because they are frozen stiff anyhow. This is where Juan shows up. Yep, he appears with one of those magnificent skier stops that blows white powder all over you and your frozen jeans. “Do you like it?”  Oh heck yeah!  This man is destined to mysteriously disappear while hiking with his wife someday. Considerately, Juan doesn’t help me out from beneath the mogul until I ask straight out. I am so not ever going out with this guy again.

You know what’s fun?  You can take another nearby ski lift, and go much higher up the mountain!  Let’s. And we do, and Juan shows me how to get on the chair without harming anyone, including myself. And he also shows me how to make it swing back and forth really fast, so I can enjoy the full experience. I wonder if he’ll just accidentally fall off of a ski lift someday – you know, skiing with that hypothetical wife. Betcha. At the top he expertly jumps out and waits while I manage my best imitation and flop out behind him. One of my skis pops off and goes sliding down the hill by itself. Really fast. Yep. There it goes. I put the boot on the snow and sink down to my knee in powder. “What do you do when this happens?” I ask. “I don’t know,” he says. “I’ve never seen it happen before.”  He bends down and checks my skis. “They shouldn’t have given you those skis; they’re for someone…much smaller.”  (Tip:  Don’t lie about your weight when you rent skis.) No jury of her peers will ever convict Juan's wife, should he ever have one someday.

Juan wishes me luck and heads down the mountain, all golden and graceful and gorgeous. I debate my options. I could try one ski…we both know I’m going to end up sliding down on my back most of the way anyhow…I could take off the other ski and try walking, but since the ski-less leg is now thigh-deep in snow, I’m thinking that won’t work…Maybe I could just sit and sort of scoot all the way down – it’s not like I have any pride left. “Excuse me?  Do you need help?”  It’s the Demi-god of Ski Patrol Guys (DgSPG) in spandex skiwear. He’s pulling a toboggan. I don’t know what to say. Would “I love you?” be too forward?  Possibly assuming I’ve suffered a head injury and cannot speak, he helps me into the toboggan very gently. I don’t even have to bend my legs!  This is good, because remember I cannot – and my pants are actually ice encrusted at this point, so he lifts them into the toboggan for me because I can’t. How awesome is this?  DgSPG takes off skiing as I recline behind him, sliding down the mountain. The only sound is his skis over the snow. It takes an impressive amount of time to reach the bottom, and once there he helps me out of the toboggan and apologizes about the defective ski. No problem, I had a great time. I love skiing! 

Have you ever noticed that trip is a four-letter word? Ever been on a trip that turned into a series of unfortunate events? The kind that are funny only in hindsight? Dish. What was your absolutely best bad idea?

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For the story of my first date with Juan, check out  .
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