So, I entered into this long-term committed relationship with this guy who really likes to downhill ski. Like, really likes it. I, on the other hand, am poop-your-snowpants terrified of everything about downhill skiing, except- oddly enough- getting on the chairlift. I really never thought his love and my fear of skiing would be problematic because we are both fiercely independent, we value having different hobbies, I’ve never asked him to run a marathon, and so on.
Last winter, his love and my fear finally collided. He pestered me for months to “just try it.” And I responded fervently every time with, “I don’t think you understand. I have tried it. I went skiing two times as a kid and both times ended in absolute misery. For me and everyone around me. I have crashed into people, I have crashed into some godforsaken wooden cutouts of elves that were strategically placed to injure people on the bunny hill, I have crashed into picnic tables and planters. And I have cried. A lot.” I thought that last one would for sure get me out of it because he hates when I cry.
“I really think you should just try it. You’ll probably be better now.” His persistence.
So, a year ago I found myself paying out the nose for what I assumed were the implements necessary for my sudden and complete demise: two unstable, slippery planks of Death Plastic with Razor Sharp Metal Edges, and a “ticket” to the top of the hill I was expected to later hurl myself down at speeds unnatural to the human body.
I planted my skis firmly in the classically incorrect “snowplow” or “pizza” formation and forced myself down the hill at speeds no greater than 1 or 2 mph. I snarked at him if he got too close to me (“Stop! What if we crash?!” and I cried if he got too far away (“You ABANDONED ME on that hill! Whyyyyy?! [Sobbing]”). The line between ‘too close’ and ‘too far’ is admittedly unclear and subject to change, regardless of circumstances. In some of my greatest acts of love and maturity, I told him that I hated him for bringing me out there.
I was mildly entertained by the challenge of downhill skiing and was pretty much tacking up gold stars for all of my achievements, such as:
- getting my ski boots on
- getting my skis on
- getting my skis off
- getting on the chairlift without incident
- getting off the chairlift without incident
- coming to a complete stop at the bottom of a run
- not coming to a complete stop at every turn
- making it all the way down the hill without a whimper, cry, or rude comment
Over the Summer…
I realized I was probably going to be doing some more skiing this year, and I felt like the cost of the lift ticket and rental were pretty high to pay every time. So I did the classic “spend lots of money upfront to save money later” thing and bought skis and poles, and got boots as a wedding gift.
Where Am I Now?
Almost exactly one year ago, I was in Aaron’s car, riding down to Welch Village for my first time on skis in my adult life and wanting to vomit.
Just since the new year, I have made it successfully down my first run of medium difficulty (with no tears!), I have had my first very minor crash (into a tree- with no tears!), I fell while disembarking the chairlift (with no tears!), and I have not quite conquered, but at least come to terms with, a run that has absolutely frozen me in fear the previous times I tried it (with no tears! but, a few curse words for being ‘abandoned.’ Because some things never change).
Is there a life lesson here? Yes. Yes, there is. When someone you love pesters you for a long time to try an expensive hobby, you should make them pay for all of the stuff you are going to find you have to have once you realize you really enjoy that stupid hobby.
And something about trying new things or conquering fears or whatever…