Okay, let’s see. I got my first east-coast paycheck! (Actually, I think I got the stub yesterday, but still, kickass.) I’m not trying to sound money-grubbingly materialistic here or anything – this whole moving thing tends to leave you broke, since everyone wants your money before you’ve got any. And now I’ve got some, so hah, take that, ya big bad world. Anyway, this morning, my senior engineer guy says, “Hey, we’re going skiing today, you in?” Of course, since this guy’s never serious, I’m like, “Are you serious?” And he’s like, “Yeah, we leave at 4:00.” Riiight, like senior engineer guy and pals are going to skip out of work early when there’s a deadline coming. And encourage me to skip out with ‘em. So I’m like, sure, I’m in. So 4:00 comes along, and guess what? He was serious. So me, senior engineer guy, Jac* and this other guy ditch work and hit the slopes. Now, by slopes, I mean slopes; that is, an actual mountain about an hour and a half away. I was asked at some point if I had skiied before, and I said yes. Looking back, I’m not sure if we had the same definition of “skiied before”, or “skiied” for that matter. My previous experience was referring to strapping on some skis for a couple hours at this sledding hill; maybe a couple hundred feet tall, with a little rope to grab onto to be hauled up to the top of the hill, while waiting for people to show up to this one guy’s superbowl party some years back. And I “knew” the basics from that one South Park episode (you know…”pizza…french fries…”)
Our destination for today was NOT a sledding hill. This was a mountain with an actual lift that your ears popped on as you went up. So, I get up to the top of this mountain I wasn’t exactly prepared for, and there are “easier” and “more challenging” directions. So I take the designated “family slope”, because it was definitely the easiest they had at the top of this lift. (I hope a blue square means ‘easy’!) And it was, for the first hundred feet or so, a nice gentle glide. And then… I’m not sure if ‘cliff’ is exactly the right word, but I think the slope decided it was done being nice; seeing people fly down it at ridiculous speed yelling “OHHH SHIIIIIIIII….” is far more entertaining. This is the point where I wish I’d learned how to STOP, or at least prevent acceleration in a way that didn’t involve hitting the ground, rolling a lot, then climbing back up to look for your skis :-)
So yeah, I wiped out. Luckily, I seem to lack the ability to injure myself. (Whether it’s falling out of trees, diving headfirst over fences, or doing any other stupid thing that results in an unassisted 3-point landing, I can’t seem to tear or break anything.) Got back up, made a valiant and futile effort at maintaining a non-deadly speed, failed, wiped out again. This happened maybe 5 more times. Nothing discourages you from wiping out like a crack-full of the cold stuff. Wooo! Snow wedgie…..*refreshing*.
As I approach a speed where the path before me starts to distort in wierd ways and everyone else starts aging faster than me, I hear G* yelling from higher up, “Make a ‘V’!”, which I attempted in various permutations to no significant result. Just as it looked as if gravity just might kick my ass all night, he explains the big secret to dropping speed, and it is explained thusly. “You know when you’re in an outhouse and go to sit down, and there’s that very last moment, when you’re not sure you want to sit down at all because it’s so filthy or whatever? You should have that feeling. Like you’re sitting down for a big crap, but haven’t quite gotten there yet.” And that made all the difference in the world.
So, with this new get-low-and-lean-back advice, I was surprised to find that I could cut speed, provided the slope wasn’t too steep. Look Ma, no fall down! And this whole skiing thing started to be really cool. By the end of the night, moving at ridiculous speeds again, but on purpose. Almost habit-forming… :-)
QOTD: “If you’re not confused by quantum mechanics, you really don’t understand it.” – Niels Bohr