Tuesday, February 17, 2004

The solution to a Hallmark holiday problem

I successfully navigated VD this year with a minimum of pain and agony. I actually enjoyed it, much to my surprise. I had a great day of skiing, loads of sunshine and a great class. I also took the day beforehand off, which was really, really nice and very helpful in the mental health department. I didn't even garner bad karma for it as I took vacation time rather than calling in sick. Good for me. Plus, I went to an amazing concert with a great group of girls. Listening to a bunch of loud, angsty rock music never sounded so good.

Anyway, after teaching, I came back to the ski school building and as I was talking to my friend's wife, whom I haven't seen in forever, another buddy comes up and asks if I have time for "one last run." I'm thinking one of the bowls on the front side, 5 minutes max. No problem. "Sure!" "OK, then, Rock Garden to Jack's Woods." Oh, OK, now we're talking more like half an hour, but it's a beautiful day and my ride isn't done with her class yet. OK!

We took off, skating quickly over the packed-down base area snow, over to the far side of the lift line. The general public, for some unknown reason, tend to cluster on the closer side of the lift line and thus the far side is always a shorter line. Good thing to know. We poked each other with our poles, joked about classes, talked about our fellow instructors and generally shot the breeze until we were finally set free by the lift operators and ushered onto the long, black plastic chair rapidly ascending the side of the hill. The moguls and tracks fell away beneath us and the chair surged forward up towards to top. The wind pressed against our faces, drawing forth cherry-red cheeks and breathless laughter. As the chair crested the top of the hill, it slowed to allow us to deboard and we slid right, bending at the waists as we slid and snapped our boot buckles closed at the same time. My friend leaped over the side of Elevator Shaft and lightly bounced through the snow. I followed suit, although not nearly as gracefully. We chased each other over to Rock Garden and pounced on the giant piles of snow down the run. We had to skate over to the Ho Chi Minh Trail and cross-country over to Jack's Woods, where we darted in and out of the trees in the giant glade. My thighs burning, we swept down into base of the lift and laughed as the liftie brought the double black chair around to our backs.

We decided that we had had quite enough fun for the day and headed back to ski school. We swept in, snapped off our skis and I picked mine up to take in and put away. As I walked down the metal grate steps, I clutched my gear close so I wouldn't drop it. My plastic boots clanged like bells off each step. I got down to the bottom of the steps, punched in the doorcode to the locker room and quickly changed into warm, dry, cotton clothing. After repacking my gear bag and arranging my locker, I slammed the door shut and went back up the stairs, two at a time. I dropped my bag and went to look for Marshall, who was my ride back to town and to the show.

The show, the show. We had tickets to go see Linkin Park with Speedy, Martini and her friend from school. Fortunately, Speedy and Martini got there first and staked out some amazing seats for me and Marshall. All we had to do was catch the bus and then get down to the Coliseum. We managed to arrive and have Speedy meet me with my ticket right before the opening band went on. They were called Story of the Year and were actually physically painful to watch. The bassist kept doing backflips off the speakers, so that was interesting. However, the music left a little to be desired. Hoobastank and POD were much, much better and really got the crowd going.

However, I would have paid the entire cost of the ticket just to see Linkin Park. They were amazing. It was emotional, energetic, engaging and exciting. It's so refreshing to see a group who not only rocks very hard, but has so much raw talent. Watching Mike Shinoda play piano, listening to Chester's voice, watching their DJ spin...the whole thing was perfect. I go to a lot of shows, and this one was one of the best I've ever seen.

Quote of the Day: I feel so alive/for the very first time/and I think I can fly. Alive, POD

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