Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lean in. Drink wine. Maybe not at the same time.

We basically looked like this. But girls. And not bald.
The three of us girls stood by the closed door in our bathing suits and flimsy towels, hopping awkwardly from foot to foot as we anticipated going outside. It was 9 degrees and storming but given the over-all wind chill factor it felt roughly -678 degrees. We clutched glasses of wine and cursed under our breath, waiting for the jump.

Fernanda ran out first, jumping into the hot tub that we were torturing ourselves for with a slick little leap. Her wine never sloshed over the rim and I wished for the 3,794 time that weekend that I was as cool as she was. I was second, and as soon as my bare feet touched snow, I froze. Literally and figuratively.

"HAND ME YOUR WINE!" Fer yelled over the sound of the wind, swimming forward with a hand outstretched to help me. "I'LL HOLD YOUR WINE. JUMP IN NOW, IT WILL BE WORTH IT. JUMP! NOW!"

I did as she demanded, screaming obscenities at the top of my lungs while I hurled myself ungracefully into the swirling water. She smiled and handed me my perfectly protected drink as the hot water forgave the last seconds I had put my body through. She was right. It was worth it.

Jodi came third, and Fer nudged me as Jodi ran screaming out into the snow. "Grab her wine too. Help her in." I reached out for Jodi's drink as she splashed gratefully in next to us, her hair already white with frost. And then she slipped and did a nose dive into the water and came up laughing. Which is why I love her. And it was ok, because her wine was protected in my hands.

We then leaned back into the jets and chatted aimlessly for an hour. We touched on deep topics, sad topics, and then the topic of my boobs. We punctured the sadder moments with whoops of laughter when we saw each other's hair and eyelashes turning white from the snow. We cupped our ears against the chilly wind while we maintained conversation. And then we decided that we were probably going to die out there, so we went inside- the wine hand-off done backwards, but a seamless exchange all the same.

This might seem like an unremarkable story, but it held a lot of meaning for me. Lately my life has been a little crazy and I have been questioning a lot of the relationships I keep. I need someone to say: "Hey. What you are going through sucks right now, but I am going to be waiting with your wine in my hand so you can get into the good stuff safely. Ok? And, when you finally get your ass in here, you can have a drink and talk about your boobs. So- jump. I got this."

Or something like that.

Earlier in the day Brett and I had gone cross-country skiing, which I complained about bitterly right up until we strapped the boots on. I was cold. I was hungry. I peed 4 times before we left, which made me have to get naked in the ski rental's tiny bathroom while he waited patiently. I was basically being a little shit, and having a little shitty temper tantrum, which is sexy on NO ONE. I blamed my bad mood on a series of events that led us to this weekend, but even in my pouting mind I was wrong to act this way. I mentally slapped myself and pushed off into the snow, gliding along expertly, taking in the scenery and the muffled quiet and the sound of my own heart selfishly and childishly beating in my chest. We came up to the trail and I stopped cold, Brett almost toppling into me.

"What's wrong?" He asked in a strained voice, because he had probably had enough.

"There's a drop." I said, pointing with my pole. "There is a sheer drop. The trail isn't flat. You said it would be flat."

And then Brett said the one thing I really needed to hear. "It's only as steep as you want it to be. I've seen you go down steeper drops. Bend your knees and lean into it."

(And then he said something about "you might want to do this now, because there is a family of 12 behind us, so please don't take all day thinking about it like you usually do," but that was less poetic.)

And I leaned into it.

And made it (shakily) down.

The rest of the day went by with quiet serenity as we glided through the trees and ice patches and BEAR PAW PRINTS WTF. And then we got to a drop that made the last drop look like a wet dream and I halted once more. THIS DROP basically led to a burbling creek. Unless you pulled a sharp right. And if you have ever been on those long-ass skies you know that sharp rights for beginners are like unicorns in the middle of a grocery store looking for soy milk. Not entirely realistic.

Brett halted briefly before expertly handing the drop/death curve and then turned up to holler at me that he could give me the point-by-point directions for making it down. As he started in on instructions, I held one gloved hand up to (nicely, I swear,) silence him.

"I got this." I said calmly, taking in his bewildered face.

"Are you sure?" He asked.

"I have to know that I can do this in my own way. I know you want to help me, but I can do it. I'll come up with a way to do it, ok? Just be supportive? I'm going to just lean into it."

He blinked twice and then smiled. "Ok."

And then I leaned down- sat my ass on my skies- and slid down. And fell over at one point and couldn't get up.



I guess if I had a moral to this story it would simply be: "Surround yourself with friends that will hold your wine for you as you lean down into the steep slopes of life without dying or physical injury."

Or maybe something like: "Hot tubs in -76890 degrees are never a good idea health-wise, so maybe don't drink while you do that or maybe don't do that at all."

Or maybe the moral would simply be: "Always have someone there for you. Trust your instincts. Make your own way...and lean the fuck into it."

Put that onto a t-shirt and smoke it.


  1. Or maybe the moral of the story is all three. Surround yourself with good friends, shocking the body with extreme temperatures is never a good idea while mixing alcohol and having someone there for you to remind you to trust your instincts and help you along the way are all priceless. Cherish every moment, because it will never come again.