Sunday, October 18, 2015

contact high

When I was a kid, I was lucky enough to go skiing pretty much every winter with my family. I had a child’s fearlessness and boundless energy, so it was pretty much the most fun evarrrr. Whooshing down the mountain at breakneck speed (no helmet, of course), only stopping for a lunch of chicken tenders and fries? Yes please. Skiing was amazing!

In high school I got a snowboard, so I learned how to snowboard. At first I scoffed at the idea of taking a lesson. I was a SURFER, so obviously I could snowboard no problem. But then it turned out that (for me at least) the skill(s) did not transfer from one board sport to the other, so I spent a day careening down the hills and falling violently ass-over-teakettle many MANY times. It’s a miracle that I didn’t break anything. It’s possible that I did sustain an untreated concussion.

Anyhow, the next time I went I took a lesson! And it was easier. And from then on I’ve been a snowboarder. I mean “a snowboarder” in the most literal way possible—a person who snowboards. Not, like a person EXCELS at snowboarding in any way. I’ve never felt completely comfortable on a snowboard. There’s always the possibility that I very well could break every bone in my body. I  mean, it’s fun, but interspersed with moments of panic: getting off the ski lift, getting on the ski lift, looking down while on the ski lift (though this is not limited to snowboarding- can we agree that ski lifts are terrifying?), going too fast, going on too steep a hill, too much ice, too many trees and/or rocks, that moment when you catch your edge and you’re about to fall, falling, trying to get up after falling with people careening around you.

Last year, Niall and I went to Tahoe for his birthday weekend. We stayed in a little hotel by the lake and went out to fancy dinners like real adult humans. On his actual birthday we planned to go up to Heavenly for some fun on the slopes. Niall had said he was going to rent a pair of skis from the local sports shop, and I got the brilliant idea to also rent a pair of skis. Skiing! Hey, I used to be REALLY good at skiing! I probably still am! It’s one of those skills that you retain forever, I’m sure!  I totally should rent a pair of skis and show Niall just how awesome I am at skiing!

As I learned in Tahoe, if there is one thing that can make me feel like an ace on a snowboard it is SKIING.

Holey shirts and pants, you guys. It was so awful. I hyperventilated every time my skis were pointed down the mountain and parallel. Also, I couldn’t keep them parallel. Also,  I didn’t know how to balance facing forward. I didn’t know how to be on my edges  or to lift up a ski to make turns. I spent the entire time with my skis in “pizza” position, body hunched over, and ski poles dragging on the ground, using them like sad little brakes.

On top of all of this, I also couldn’t wear my prescription sunglasses because they were made more for looks than for sportiness. They wouldn’t have stayed on my face, so I just wore regular, non-prescription sunglasses. Not being able to see very well added a nice extra layer of difficulty, so the whole endeavor was frustrating, to say the least.
I managed to take out my frustrations pretty singularly on Niall (on his birthday!). He would shoot off ahead of me and then stop and wait, but the problem with that was that I got mad at him if he waited for me and also if he didn’t. And then he kept POINTING at stuff with his SKI POLE, even though I kept helpfully REMINDING him that the ski pole was the SAME COLOR AS THE TREES AND I CAN’T SEE WHICH WAY YOU ARE POINTING AND ALSO YOUR JACKET IS TOO WHY DID YOU WEAR THAT COLOR JACKET THAT MATCHES THE BACKGROUND I CAN'T SEE YOU WHERE ARE HAPPY BIRTHDAY BY THE WAY.


Eventually I just took the gondola back down to the lodge, hiked out to the parking lot, and switched over to my snowboard. It took me about an hour to accomplish that task (and it was probably the best hour of skiing for Niall).

As you may recall, I recently got married (Hurrah!). Because I’m vain, I decided that I didn’t want to wear glasses on my wedding day.
Sidebar: I still don’t fully consider myself as somebody “who wears glasses,” even though I wear glasses pretty consistently. Maybe that’s because it came upon me gradually. At first I just needed my glasses once in awhile, if I were sitting particularly far back in a college lecture hall. Then I started needing them in all of my lectures. And then all of my classes and at the movies. And then while driving at night. And then a few years ago I went in to get my license renewed and the lady told me to take off my glasses and read the eye chart, so I took off my glasses and the eye chart disappeared. So. Now I wear glasses.

Anyhow, I didn’t want to wear my glasses on my wedding day which mean my choices were either (a) get contacts or (b) possibly not recognize my betrothed as I walked down the aisle. Niall, apparently traumatized by our skiing incident, encouraged me to get contacts.

So I got contacts! I went to the eye doctor and he had me put my head in an assortment of odd devices while he…. I dunno… took some measurements and assessments of my eyes or whatever. And then he gave me a starter set of contact lenses and showed me how to put them in. I spent THIRTY DUCKING MINUTES (literally ducking) trying to put in the first one before I finally got it. And the doctor, while very patient, had to wrap up our appointment. I went home and FINALLY got the damn things both in. They felt like tiny pieces of sandpaper.

People told me I would get used to them and I smiled and nodded, slightly teary-eyed and headachedy. Despite the initial hiccups, I have indeed gotten more used to them over time and have been able to enjoy a whole new world of non-prescription sunglasses, including this baller pair that I wore on my wedding day:

Niall still hasn’t said whether or not he’ll ever go skiing with me again, however.