Those who can December 20, 2007Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
Humanity is divided into those who like skiing and those who don’t. Those who like having a go at things and those who are scared of everything. Those who like life and the world and those who don’t. I’ve got a feeling that those who fall into the second category on each occasion also happen to have a great love of drinking.
It’s dispiriting to look at those who like to ski. All perfect and sporty and young and healthy. Probably never had a drink in their lives. Dressed perfectly. Whooshing perfectly to a glamorous stop at the bottom of each slope. Wearing perfect boots and goggles. And the odd one that does happen to have outdone you in years also happens to have outdone you in everything else. Pensioner skiing couples are the ghost-writers of your destitute Christmases future. Pensioner skiing couples may say a polite bonjour and clomp past you in those awkward boots with a saccharine smile but when you turn round to see if they’ve noticed you’re not meant to be here, their eyes bore through you and tattoo the pensioner skiing couples’ motto into your shrivelled heart. “We have led perfect lives. We are still a perfect couple. We don’t touch a drop. What about you?”
My parents are to blame, natch. Not that I mind them not having created a skier, and I like drinking. They even tried to, vaguely, thinking it might be the done thing, or I mistakenly nagged them into it, and packed me off to Switzerland when I was 15 but Robert B_ and I bunked off the lessons and went to Montreux and a Liverpudlian girl of solid frame tried to snog me and then, when I said I wasn’t ready for that sort of commitment so early in our acquaintance, told everyone in Switzerland I was gay. And Paul T_ got unsightly cold-sores all over his face and John G_ had a problem with mucus so skiing was spoiled for me forever.
And I was sure skiing was better suited to other children. Like John G_, in fact, who seemed to do nothing but ski and go to balls. Balls! At 15! Whereas I came from a much more HP-Sauce, homework-on-knees, overlit-rooms, siblings-and-their-friends-everywhere and TV-constantly-on kind of home. And I double-knew I wasn’t a skier when I went to a discotheque for youths in Switzerland. The Swiss youngsters were, naturally, terrified of us marauding school-kids behaving with the disdain for abroad that UK youngsters are taught at school and went all out to befriend us, thinking it might mitigate their ultimate punishment whenever that came. (It didn’t, as far as I remember.) My 15-year-old classmates commented effusively on the quality of the Swiss totty and I probably threw in a half-hearted phwoar or two for the sake of decency while fainting with admiration for anyone that had mastered the snowplough. (John G_, a natural born skier, was awfully good, in spite of the mucal issue, which put paid to any potential admiration, actually.)
And here the Russian and I sit now, surrounded by those who like skiing, those who like having a go at things and those who like life and the world. The Russian more naturally fits into their number, and has the advantage of having grown up in snow. Yet good + bad = bad and, rather than him pulling me towards that noble category, I, sadly, appear to be dragging him towards the hellish domain of those who are scared of everything, those who don’t like life and the world and those who happen to have a great love of drinking.
“Darling, we hate activities and nature and yet we always seem to get stuck in some national park or nature reserve whenever we go on holiday,” I say, hopefully, mumblingly and quickly, trying to subtly claim we are both natural non-skiers who should only ever holiday in administrative areas with a population in the millions and vermin and humans as the only representatives of the animal kingdom. “No, darlink. You not vont do anysink. You lazy and scared of everysink.” “Um, yes, well, that said, should we run away to Barcelona tomorrow? It’d only take a hundred hours by two coaches and two trains.” “No, ve go cross-country ski.”
I love the comfort zone. The familiar. The unchallenging. That which takes no physical skills. Which doesn’t have to be learnt. And the Russian says my New Year’s Resolution for 2008 must be to learn to drive. Yet I’d happily move to the middle of the forest as long as any mountains it had in it were bulldozed and there was broadband. (Mind you, I saw wolves today, which was spine-tinglingly exhilarating and that made me forget how bad I was at life until at least half a second after they left my field of vision.)
And just let’s not even mention snowboarders.