We went skiing this last weekend.
That sounds like a lot of fun doesn’t it? It sort of conjures an image of daring and sportiness, Apres ski, and so on.
When I say we, I really mean my partner and daughter went skiing. Off they went and down they came the ski slope again and again and again. Me, I either watched them shivering in the freezing cold breeze, or you would have found me skiing several times down the last 50 meters or so of the slope, cursing like a trooper, moving like a skewered Giraffe on drugs and sweating like a … well, pig actually.
You see, Skiing terrifies me.
It sounds good. I’m going skiing! The reality is that anything more than 15 degrees sloped downwards and I can’t. My legs, back and arms tense up so much that it actually looks as if I have muscles. I begin to sweat in total and utter fear. It doesn’t matter how hard I try to convince myself I can do it, I just know that I can’t.
Meanwhile, kids the age of 4 go whizzing past me laughing like crazy banshees as they go. It just makes it worse. It just makes me feel so ashamed and guilty that I didn’t see a skiing slope until the age of 43 and not again until I was 47. That I didn’t really try skiing until I was over 50. Had I learned at 4 like these Czech kids, I too would be whizzing by like EVERYONE else on the slope.
I stagger back up the hill. The boots feel like vices around my ankles and I cannot walk in them. The skis actually seem to weigh a ton and have a life of their own. I reach my destination and dump the skis down. It takes me 5 minutes to get my feet in the bloody things and I nearly fall over, or rather do the slow splits several times trying. Eventually, I look right and left for whizzing kids and, spotting a gap, I push myself out. I criss cross the slope about 10 times doing 3 mph and do a snow plough stop 50m down slope.
I wave at my daughter, 7 years old, as she whizzes past me shouting “Daddy, Daddy, look….” She has now learned to stop properly somehow leaning into the skis and showering everyone around in shaved ice. It just makes me feel worse. I quit totally demoralized and after taking 20 minutes to remove the vice-like boots (which have resulted in swollen legs), I trudge off for my hot chocolate…… if I wasn’t driving I’d have a drink, God knows I need one.