The first time I went snow skiing - and the second to last time because somehow, the magnitude of the disaster didn't really sink in - I did not enjoy myself. I got altitude sickness, which was bad enough, but it was the nighttime torments that were truly awful.
But let's talk about altitude sickness and the advisability of maybe taking some ski lessons like your friends, who were serious skiers and who had no interest in hanging out with novice you, who had never been on snow skis before, kept suggesting.
No! No lessons for me! How hard could it be, anyhow?
Those are the famous last words that have preceded every haircut I have ever given to myself. I would like to say that I learned the self-haircut giving lesson a long time ago, like when I was 12, but that would be a lie. I have taken scissors to my own hair within the past three months and I am less than three years away from an AARP card.
Omigosh. I hadn't really thought about it like that. I am just now getting used to the idea of being in my 40s and now I have to start getting ready for 50? Does this mean I will never be thin and with good skin and hair, all at the same time, ever? Has the chance passed me by?
I think so.
That means I am going to have to work on being a nice person instead. I'd rather just diet.
Back to altitude sickness. I ignored my friends' advice to take some lessons and followed them to the top of the hill instead. They zipped down merrily and I stood there, trying to think of what to do next. I had poked around some on the lower slopes but this was a little bit harder.
Did I mention the altitude? We had come from Austin, which is not a high place, to Utah, which is. I hadn't had a lot of sleep. I think - this was over 20 years ago - I think I might not have eaten breakfast that day, which would be highly unusual as I Do Not Miss Meals.
You know those people who say that they forget to eat? What a bunch of crap. I have never forgotten to eat in my entire life. I have been prevented from eating and it's been miserable, but I've never forgotten. Indeed, I carry emergency food in the car and in my purse - peanut butter stuffed pretzels, dried pears, Kashi mocha granola bars, almonds and red licorice - just in case I'm out and it's a mealtime. I will not be stuck without food.
But I think I had skipped breakfast. So there I was: up high, not a lot of sleep, and no food in my stomach.
That's a combination that leads to feeling like crap which leads to the utter and total humiliation of being taken down the mountain by the ski patrol because you feel too crummy to ski.
And then you have to wait in the lodge because you 1. don't have a key for the condo and 2. even if you did, you can't remember where it is.
I hate skiing.
And I hate the condo part of skiing. There was a group of us. My friend Gwen and her husband. Gwen's brother and a friend of his. My friend Janelle and her husband. My friend Alexander. Me.
Here were the sleeping arrangements:
Bedroom #1: Gwen and husband
Living room pullout bed and whatever I didn't really pay attention: Gwen's brother and his friend
Bedroom #2: Janelle and her husband
Loft off Bedroom #2: Alexander and me
Alexander and I were not an item. (Not from a lack of interest on my part, I assure you.) The loft was a little cubby up high in the wall off the bedroom. You had to climb the ladder on the wall to get there. No door. It opened right into the bedroom. There were some mattresses and sleeping bags on the floor. Alex and I each had our own sleeping bag. No hanky panky. Alas.
First night. Alex and I had climbed into the loft. Janelle and her husband turned out the lights and went to bed. A few minutes later, I heard a noise.
A noise I hadn't heard in a while because I had a rather lackluster love life, although I realize in retrospect I got around a little more than I probably should have. Oh the perils of setting low standards for onesself.
But I knew that sound.
It was the sound of sex.
It was "We're trying to be quiet" sex, but it was sex nonetheless.
I lay there, horrified. I didn't know if I should say something to Alex or not. What is the protocol in this situation?
They didn't stop.
I pulled my pillow over my head. I didn't want to hear it.
The next morning, Janelle acted as if nothing was wrong.
The next night, we went through the same thing again. Quiet, then, sound of sex, then pillow over head.
This happened every night of the trip.
Did I mention Janelle and her husband had been married for 20 years?
Knowing what I know now after just 2 1/2 years of marriage, I should respect someone who can do it every night. But every night while I had to listen?
And WHO WANTS IT EVERY NIGHT? When I was in college, I thought daily sex would have been the bomb, but in college, you don't have to clean bathrooms or make supper or go to work or cut the grass and you have a heck of a lot more energy. In real life, you want to read your Belinda Carlisle autobiography and then go to sleep.
I was miserable on that stupid trip. I couldn't ski and I was too broke and too dumb to take lessons. I felt like crap. And every night, I had to dread hearing someone else's love life while a man on whom I had a massive crush lay next to me.
When we returned to Austin, somehow the subject of Janelle's nocturnal activities came up. Somehow the information that I had heard them came up.
She didn't even have the grace to be mortified. She just laughed and said that her husband always got romantic on vacations and that they had tried to be quiet.
I made a mental note never to be anywhere near them at bedtime again.