Dear Younger Triv
Now that I’m 45 (so grown up!) and you’re still only 44, I’ve decided it’s time to share some hard-won wisdom on a few topics. I hope these insights help you avoid some of my mistakes, and rewrite our shared history for the better.
I know you have the chance for a slightly spontaneous snow trip soon. So first up, I’m writing to let you know that, after many such trips, I’m calling bull-scheisser on the whole family-skiing-holidays-are-awesome myth, and urging you to reconsider future snow plans.
Every morning, you’ll need to squish your loin fruits’ tootsies into these rented torture machines, while Seriousimo, who’s the one who grew up on skis, takes work calls in your hotel room. (Or, as he reframes it, “pays for the blinking holiday”.)
At some point, due to oxygen deprivation at altitude, too many Kirs Royale the night before and four types of processed meat at breakfast, you’ll kick one of the aforementioned rented torture machines across the room in frustration after bending to attach it to a child’s foot. You will then look like a total tool in front of your loin fruits. And it won’t even be 9am.
While you’re frozen with fear on the side of an alp, with your feet attached to two long fibreglass sticks, a man looking suspiciously like this one will holler at you with Teutonic zeal that you need to “LOSE YOUR FEAR!” You will weep like an abandoned baby, and no-one will give even the vaguest of sh*ts. You will mentally self-flagellate over the fact that you first donned skis in 1999 yet most of the time can still be found ascending a teeny gradient on a magic carpet, surrounded by four-year-olds. You’ll now regret the moment you adopted a ‘growth mindset’ and hooked up with the man in red. Back to the carpet for you, loser.
You will spend AU$8.00 on this. And you will spend it again, and again, and again, like you’re trapped in some wallet-clearing, environment-killing, Groundhog Day nightmare. Which, basically, you are.
You will have to wear deeply unattractive footwear.
Even though you lived in the northern hemisphere for more than a decade and have visited cold climes countless times since, your long-held belief that only people who grow up in alpine environs know how to dress for the cold will be reaffirmed. You will continue to (not) layer up like someone who grew up in a sunny coastal suburb, with the frostbite spots to prove it. The Russian oligarch bride brigade will look down their rhinoplastied schnozzes at your lack of après style. Even your boy loin fruit, who could hardly look bad in a paper bag, will resemble an impoverished Romany urchin dressed in a Stasi’s cast-off coat.
You’ll wonder anew at what hotels wash their sheets in as your dermatitis flares up like a field of commemorative poppies in the Tower of London moat.
You’ll wonder, too, at the wisdom of booking the ‘gallery-style’ hotel room. All four of you in one room, and only one bathroom in that room, will prove to be less than ideal as Seriousimo toils through the night, and the familial bladders do their usual trick of needing to be relieved simultaneously. Please, Younger Triv, avoid this EPIC BOOKING FAIL.
You’ll allow your valuable loin fruits (let’s face it, with both of them at private schools now, the sunk costs are significant) to ski down mountains in conditions such as these. You’ll pine for the good old days of paying for them to ride on carny-built death traps at the Royal Easter Show, and promise to kiss that tatt-covered, leather-skinned man with the fag dangling from his gob manning the Mega Drop next time you see him in sideshow alley.
You will be forced by the man in red to go on one of these. Beware: they are scarier than the seventh circle of hell, than Jason’s rotten corpse rising from the lake, than Vader unmasked, Freddie Kruger ungloved. Don’t lose your conviction that you will meet your mortal end in one of two ways: either driving north at 4pm on the M1 between Sydney and Gosford, or in a chairlift. Stuff the growth mindset.
And yet. At times you will be felled not by your lack of facility with skis, but by utterly humbling and improbable natural beauty. By the smiles on the faces of your loin fruits as they emerge triumphant from the fog, at the bottom of a hill they’ve descended, a feat that 20 minutes ago they thought was impossible.
You’ll marvel at the Matterhorn, the grande dame of geology, presiding over the clomping, messy, shoving, schussing sea of human chaos, unchanging and unbowed. She’ll be here long after you’ve drained your final flute of Kir.
And you’ll realise that no family holiday’s perfect, but there are worse places in the world to sit and think and write and wonder.
And then you’ll get hit in the face with a snowball.
Oh, alright. Go on. Book the trip.