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Monthly Archives: July 2017

Lift shift

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After all the grouchy old beeatch musings of yesterday, awoke to a new day and a new, improved attitude.

The snowmakers had been whirring away overnight, erasing the previous day’s lumps and lines, and La too had been reforming, shape-shifting, evolving…into someone determined to conquer a chairlift.

Eighteen years La’ve been stuck in a snow plough, confined to magic carpets. Trapped by fears of knee injuries past and because GUTLESS. Spectating. Benched. It’s a metaphor for life. And as ol’ Georgie Michael (*sob*) would say, “Choose LIFE!”

It was a split second decision, highly spontaneous. Out of character. (Put it this way, no stonemason in 2061 is likely to be chiselling, “You never knew what she’d do next!” on La headstone.)

We’d relented and sent the Male Junior Cost Centre (JCC) off for his first snowboard lesson. As the owner of the loins that fruited him, it’s hard to see this as anything other than the first step toward a future of unemployment, dope-smoking, butt-crack revealing half-mast trousers and slackerism. But at least he’s off a gadget.

Walked into the rental shop in my civvies, and rented the goods. When the slackerdude boot-fitter asked how I’d go on the slopes in my non-waterproof ponte pant, I replied, “Oh, fine. I don’t fall over.”  I mean it, I don’t. I’m so rock-solid and cautious I make ‘glacial pace’ look Schumacher-esque.  (Well, before he brained himself on a ski slope, poor Michael.)

Seriousimo accompanied me to the dreaded lift. The non-stop parade of doom-and-gloom signs began to scare the bejeezers out of me.

In all honesty, I couldn’t tick the box on this one, but I persisted.

The chairlift is a hairy, scary one — yup, its official moniker is “The Easy Does It Chairlift”. Or EDI to those in the know (and trust me, everyone except me seems to be in the know in Thredbo). Shit! It’s been ferrying ski-flesh as long as I’ve been out of school? Is it safe? Does it get maintained by people who aren’t stoned and have all their teeth? *Breeeeaaathe*

Seriousimo takes my poles, the chair slides under my ponte-panted butt and — we’re away.

Find it hard to look at these empty returning chairs and see anything other than the ghostly forms of skiers who never made it home. Am determined won’t be my narrative.

This makes me want to void my bowels: cross sections of chairlifts, a spaghetti junction of wires and dangles. Remind self to sit back in chair as instructed by shouty nanny-state sign. Thankful am person happy to do as told and not nihilistic counter-cultural slacker on a snowboard, always looking to break the rules.

Find self nodding in violent agreement with signs. Look fore and aft to make sure everyone doing right thing. They seem to be a good crowd. Mostly they are under the age of 10.

Hyperventilation sets in. Have never successfully dismounted a chairlift and stayed upright, even one called Easy Does It. Seriousimo takes poles. Pushes up bar. Slacker-type chair attendant beckons for me to slide forward and…I do it. Upright. Skiing. Facing downhill.

Loving self sick! Schuss past the boardy slackers, always on their half-mast arses, lazy bastards, too hungover to be upright. Get some pride in yourselves, people! Be one with the nobility of the alps! Look sharp! Pull ya dacks up!

TOTALLY SMOKED these little bastards! They were so freakin’ SLOW! Ha! They think they’re so farking great, bloody Thredbolanders! Not today! They ate my snowdust!

Think I’d earned today’s reward. And let’s face it, one’s better than four.

Internal Monologue of a Non-skier on a Skiing ‘Holiday’

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7.30am. Wake up in Hotel d’Hovel, Thredbo. Hit up the breakfast buffet. Shall I go Swissy (seedy dark loaf, cheese, processed meats), continental (boulangerie goodies) or fry-up? Shit. Remember am on skiing holiday: best go for all three. Food = therapy. And three coffees.

8.00am. Fark, time to wedge the four loin fruit feet into rented ski boots. Requires bending. Hate being lower than cost centres: sends wrong message. Must be top dog. Friggin’ ski boots. Friggin’ skiing. 

8.15am. Meet girl child’s school ski chums for lesson. Instructor from Brisbane. Looks like a foetus. Has he lost his shaving cherry even? Can I trust him with the lady loin fruit? Think so; he has short hair and all his teeth, no visible ink. I probably went to uni with his parents. Might have snogged his dad… FOCUS. Off they all go. Graceful, upright. Bastards. Hate people who can ski.

8.17am. Jesus, everyone’s so WHITE. Where’s the diversity? Oh, there it is — Scots and Kings boys are here. Clearly fluoro is the new digi-print on the slopes. Fluoro. Choose Life. Georgie Michael. Teary. When will my ball of Georgie grief shrink to marble-size from Swiss-ball size? 

8.30am. Seriousimo and male junior cost centre (JCC) heading up mountain. Breathe out. Time for me. Me time. Temps pour moi. Suddenly overwhelmed with a desire to write about how generous skiing is in terms of the shits it continually gives me. Hear birdies. They’re nice. Nice birdy sounds.

8.35am. Seriousimo calls with news of major falling out with JCC over skiing. Sadly this comes after five minutes on slopes and yesterday’s purchase of $180 fluoro (ah, George. Sigh.) kid helmet. Little turd. Feel like publicly whacking child with now redundant rented ski pole, but exercise atypical restraint. Will exact revenge later. For now have withdrawn iPod privileges until he’s 26.

Off goes Seriousimo, child-free, schussing like a pro, draped in Helly Hansen and new ski boots. Bastard. He might cop a ski pole to the eye socket too, later, for being that graceful on skis and a whole bunch of other reasons I’ll think of in due course. Because marriage.

9.00am. Return to Hovel HQ. Assume submissive position to remove male JCC ski boots (“Last time I wear them, EVER!”). Install male JCC in hovelroom reading due to no gadgets til 2033. Reflect on outdatedness of hotel. For $530 a night. Ugh. Reflect too on fact bathroom has only one roll of bog paper. Bugger. Will take action.

Suddenly fret, then sweat, about Thredbo landslide of 1997. Have they addressed the underlying issues and fixed the poles into the hillside properly? Is it all good? Who’s in charge? Who certified? Is Hovel HQ in danger of dribbling off the mountain come the midnight hour? Remember Stuart Diver? Spunky. But apparently a bit thick and boring.

9.15am. Jeez, is it only 9.15? Faaaaaaaarrrk.

9.16am. Schlep to car for computer, 20 minute walk away. The birdies again. That’s nice. Sun’s out. Appreciate vista of babbling brook, then almost land in it when side-swiped by passing charcoal-grey Range Rover with three private school stickers on rear windscreen. W*nker. New dove-grey Uniqlo puffer now covered in slushy alpine road sludge. Whip out phone and take photo of retreating four-wheeled arsehole. Will take action.

10.20am. Muffin time.

10.22am. Muffin time, again.

11.30am. Drag male JCC to Thredbo Alpine Leisure Centre. Sport Billies and their habitats make me nervous. Don’t trust fit people. Don’t trust their motivations. All that personal excellence and barrier-smashing, it’s fishy. What are they running from? To? JCC finds an inflatable water gadget and is happy, for a time.

12.15pm. Muffin time. Jeez, this has to stop.

12.20pm. Pizza time. Feel ill. Deep down, wish I could become graceful skiing Sport Billy but getting too old for self-reinvention.

1.00pm. Meet female JCC and crew of swishing ponytails after ski race. They’re excited and fit and fresh and rosy-cheeked. Reflect on occasional lovely camaraderie of alpine life. Wish I could be more than a spectator, but too scaredy to ski. It’s a knee thing. Oh and because GUTLESS.

1.20 – 5.00pm. Devour friends’ piccies of Amalfi, Split, Lago Maggiore and Roma on Facebook. Weep into fourth muffin. Loathe self for marrying schuss-loving husband.

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Thredbo: the ski resort equivalent of an outdated Commodore with venetians on the windows.

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Pretty bits.

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Pizza parlour humour.

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Small mercies at Hotel d’Hovel.

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W*nker.

5.30pm. Dinner at Burger Bar. It’s tasty. Walk home past all the lovely non-hovelish accommodation one can secure if one books early enough or doesn’t travel during Interschool Championships week. Weep a bit for chalets lost. Quietly hate smug lodge-dwellers with open fires and bathrooms they don’t have to walk sideways into. And no breezeblock. Want to do a Britney with a ski pole on the clubby smugness of it all. Must take action to curb violent fantasies.

7.00pm. Walk by hotel bar and witness frightening spectacle of middle-aged people on way to being plastered, wearing fleeces and bootleg jeans (I know), dancing to some dude playing Pink Floyd on guitar. Lots of overbiting. Battalion of JaegarBombs on bar. Die a little inside, then feel shame for being repulsed by scene. Why shouldn’t old white people be allowed to shake their babymakers? Vow to take action on attitude when return to big smoke.

8.00pm. Tired from excessive jaw exercise as a result of muffin, pizza and burger mastication. Sleep.

12.10am. Woken by Seriousimo shouting at turdwad teens racing through hovel hallways. Jeez! Thought these rendered breeze-block walls would be soundproof. Apparently nots.  Seriousimo says female JCC has been barfing for two hours and he still has two legal opinions to write. Ask self, why do we holiday? Might embark on M.Phil course at Sydney Uni to investigate. Remember beloved old Wordporium boss’s wise words: “Never go on a holiday where you’ll be less comfortable than you are at home.” Sadly, am on that holiday.

7.30am. Repeat til…

4.30pm. Pack of teenwolves race past while I’m loitering in hallway. Guess they’re the turdburgers Seriousimo shouted at the previous night. They stop outside Seriousimo and female JCC’s door and holler, “P*nis!” An unholy wall of sound issues forth from my mouth as I chase them into the upper reaches of the building. (Suddenly I’m thankful for the super-echo powers of the breezeblock walls — I sound über-menacing.) I may even have shouted that I was a cop. Seriousimo’s been telling me for years this is illegal but he’d have to try harder to make me physically, figuratively and actually give a shit. Sometimes I wish I was a cop. Would get to scare teens professionally. Have vision of self as tough but benevolent law-enforcer, showing strays the path to good behaviour, handing out wee moral compasses to the ones who show promise. Must investigate coptions on return to big smoke.

Jeez, so much to do, so much action to take. No time for holidays.