Sure it's summertime now. But let's take a moment to enjoy the evergreen material that is laughing at all my wintertime mishaps. Whenever/wherever you're reading this, have an active day!
It takes a certain kind of person to snap one of her ski poles in half just getting on a chairlift. It was my first ride up of the day—my second of the season—and I was trying to feel good about it, and then I somehow planted my pole between my feet just as the chair was coming around. I figured I would sit down anyway—things would work out fine—but the chair and the ground and the pole all formed a bizarre love triangle that creaked and groaned and ground everything to a halt before the chair finally lurched forward. I looked over my shoulder to shout “Sorry!” at the lift operator and saw the sea of polar fleece hats in the lift line duck, taking cover at the noise of the metal and plastic and who knows what other kinds of space-aged materials fought the turning gears of that great machine.
“Great,” I said to my date, looking at the handle of my pole, “now what am I going to do?”
“It’s not like you need your poles,” he said, “you don’t use them right anyway.” He was pulling his neck gator over his face, either to protect himself from the wind that had kicked up, or from being recognized. Later, he imagined out loud that those who had witnessed my own special brand of clumsiness were turning to each other, reverently saying things like, “Wasn’t it nice of that girl’s brother to pick her up from the institution and take her outside like that?” He told me, with flagrant disregard for my feelings and everything else, that I was a skitard.
In my defense, the day that my trusty ski pole and I unknowingly jousted a giant, I’d already been through a lot with the sport of skiing. As someone who’s done nothing but watch TV since she was born, the concept of skiing as a nice, enjoyable, attainable sport didn’t jibe with the “agony of defeat” scene from the opening sequence of Wide World of Sports. My parents were never athletic or outdoorsy, and the thought of driving an hour each way over mountain passes and black ice in a 1975 Ford LTD was a little too much for people who eventually sold their season tickets to the Broncos because they refused to brave the traffic or sit outside in winter weather. Like the clichéd character in sitcoms and movies who’s terrified she will die a virgin, I vowed to ski, in a half-assed attempt at finding something—anything—that could whisk me away from our house on the weekends. I lived in a shrine to the NFL, where worshippers came in their Sunday best jersey knockoffs to baptize themselves in Velveeta and chili, and where “the host” referred not to the body of Christ, but to Howard Cosell.