Personalities in Progress - A Ski Story
Crossing the New Jersey-Pennsylvania state line within the Delaware Water Gap, I paralleled the muddy-appearing Delaware River close to the Appalachian Trail, the interstate narrowing to 2 lanes and shallowly ascending on the brown-treed, gray shale rock-covered Pocono Mountains. The slender, finger-like white patterns representing the still-snow-covered ski trails of Camelback Mountain were now visible in the left car window. As the miles rolled by, I thought of the past two ski trips, trips which in fact had been highlighted--perhaps "warped" is the better word--by the personalities of my group. Hook them up to skis and they excelled in ways than you can think of. Did I dare subject myself for many years again? I could have turned round now...
The descending, right-curving off-ramp led to my hotel, located four miles from Jack Frost Mountain, itself the converging point of my company's third annual ski trip.
We had consistently attempt to overnight in a different hotel property on a yearly basis. It had not even attempt to do with variety, actually, but instead the inescapable fact that the group's noise, rowdiness, and animalistic release had always banned their return. I had hoped that sufficient demand would prompt hotel construction in the neighborhood; otherwise, we would someday run out of locations--because, you see, they had not simply shined on skies, but wherever we got stayed. Read on.
The sun released an orange bath on the dense, bare brown trees blanketing the location. It would not be long now.
At about 11:30 there began several uninterrupted door openings and closings around the hotel corridor which continued until almost sunrise, indicating that my "group" had arrived. I can't think the manufacturer in the door hinge itself had subjected these phones such frequent testing before release for the public for sale. Oh, well, I had another look round my room, as it would be the last time I'd see it. We would quit welcomed back here.
The night clerk quickly rethought his "nice" gesture of reopening the pool for the group when their excessive noise, something like a tribal, return-to-barbarism chant, had quickly forced him to oust them and re-close it.
The group had apparently collected numerous, hopelessly unmixable kinds of alcohol and proceeded to sign up their liquid forces together in an glass under the collective name of "death"--with or without ice. It made no difference--except, perhaps, for all those headed to a hot put on the way out.
Whaid, who barely returned a primordial grunt to my daily "hellos" at work, launched into an alcohol-induced, therapy-session-waiting-to-happen lament throughout the dark hours in the night in his accommodation, crying, "Nobody loves me" and followed it having a finger-pointing, broken-record monotone of "But I am there for you..."
"I'll be there for you personally..."
"I'll be there for you personally..."
The following day he had slouched right into a Road Runner position on skis along with whizzed by someone who had fallen and obviously needed anyone to be there for him. He wasn't.
Luckily, Munny, who devoutly lived by his "you have to have a hug" philosophy, had been area with him the previous evening to dry his tears.
Josue had apparently also "tasted" one of those liquid suicides. So intoxicated had he become, in truth, that Berqui had been required to deposit him inside bathtub, where he'd continued to sleep. This is a good thing that he was the designated driver. I dare not look for adjectives to describe the conditions in the others.
Poor Dorit. The hotel's front desk, apparently pegging her as Mother Hen, had called her inside wee hours in the morning as she'd finally drifted off to sleep and warned, "If you never keep your boys quiet, I am forced to call the cops!" If she'd ever dreamt of having children, they weren't them.
We had opted for meet for breakfast at 8:00 and bleary-eyed Dorit, Rocio, and Ronald had walked on the hotel's breakfast room at this time. The other dozen, having only fallen asleep three hours earlier, will be lucky to make it by noon.
Completing the five-minute drive down deserted Route 940 with the hotel on that cold, clear morning right after a brief pause to allow the night's collected windshield ice to melt, I used to be among the first to arrive at Jack Frost Mountain. The lodge, exactly the same one used the year before, had already taken on signs of our pending invasion, with food and drinks lining the outside deck as well as inside bar, as well as fireplace having been recently stacked with logs and lit. There he stood in it, the Mike, nucleus in the annual event.
The room had otherwise been quiet, a calm prior to the storm, although with the night the group had been there would most likely remain so for a variety of hours.
Taking the opportunity to look over round, I walked in the main lodge and out the door to the snow-covered slopes and rotating chair lifts, which echoed the events as well as personalities of the previous year. Moving my visit the right, I saw it. There it stood, being a monument to a person who had discovered the best innovative use of something connected to skiing, wind-swept and nestled inside snow. A small placard atop it had read:
PICNIC TABLE Available: SIDONIE
With all the time she had spent advertising online last year, despite her "splinter issues," I had fully expected her to possess run a line out over it and to have arrange a computer--not to mention a little filing cabinet. I was sure that she had intermittently hired and brought an administrative assistant this year for her outdoor "office."
A petite woman, releasing a decreased, staccato cough, skied by as well as sound instantly transported me here we are at our first ski tip and little Moniquita. One should not be misled by way of a person's small size. Lurking behind it may be a personality more powerful than an atom bomb, which, visit think of it, had been a pretty accurate analogy of her. She had, however, been like a number of other things:
Like a rocket for the launch pad in Florida expecting someone to push her "take off" button.
Like the eruption inside core of Mount St. Helens inside state of Washington.
Like the hot section of a high bypass ratio turbofan engine powering a 747.
Like the poblano pepper in just about every hot tamale.
Like the circular wind in just about every tornado.
Like the chaos caused by the universe's Big Bang, took part in reverse.
Like the fire inside earth's inner core.
Like the nightmare from which one cannot awake, however, if one succeeds by doing this, he only finds her area with him.
Like Leona Helmsley having a Spanish accent.
One workday, one of Monica's employees had walked on the office and explained, "Monica sent me for getting some reports."
"Sent?" I had intoned. "Monica never sends anyone! Shoots from a cannon, maybe!"
People express their personalities differently. Ricky, as an example, who had attended not too long ago, seemed to assert himself with repetition. Indeed, his two-word question of "What happened? gave the impression to replace the need for other words in the English language.
"What did you eat last night, Ricky?"
"What time did you get up this morning, Ricky?"
"Are you enjoying your ski day, Ricky?"
I had once been alone with him in a small room when he'd been a student in a of my classes and through the end of the third day they taken me away inside a straight jacket! I'll only wonder what he will be like when he could be 80 and his hearing starts to decline
I had regretted that some of our colleagues, whom we got known for so long that they had become virtual relatives, will be unable to attend this year, such as Uncle Omar, admittedly a slightly older, burpy type whose notion of a strenuous evening began having a strong laxative, and Auntie Omiamalie, whose frustrated desire for getting the nice things in life had often surfaced with the first words she'd taught any maturing, aspiring young woman, that a majority of important of all success-promoting phrases: "Daddy, I want a credit card!" The truth is, if she had ever aspired to become a language teacher, she'd once explained, she would make sure that these are the first words her students would translate.
Making the short drive with the hotel to the ski lodge later that morning (Perhaps 11:55 can still be considered "morning"), the group arrived, carrying lipstick red-eyed Josue with the dirt parking lot for the lodge like paramedics (a stretcher is already on next year's "Mandatory Supply" list) and depositing him for the couch in front of the fireplace.
Spreading his legs apart just like he had been planning to give birth, he slumped right into a virtual comma. He later confessed the only thing he'd remembered about the ride was the wind returning his involuntary vomitary to him while he had poked his head with the open window. He'd also expressed regret that Annie was unable to join us for the ski trip this year, although she had sat across from him for just two hours. (!)
By 2:00, the sole ski-related accomplishment he had made was to attach his ski pass to his coat. He'd then lapsed into a second nap so as to recover from the effort. The slopes closed at 4:00.
After last year's torture, I had decided to engage in that ski activity in which I excelled--instruct. David, who had no time before attempted the frictionless dare, wondered, "Since you skied not too long ago, I wonder if you could produce some pointers to develop safety?"
I paused as it were and looked down, wondering should the other "ski" event he known could have been last year's crippled careen between picnic tables, remembering the feeling of having stood on two flat, elongated, highly-polished items of wood which had offered less friction than the usual baby's thoroughly-oiled bottom with a surface of frozen, white, nightmarish snow, my feet held hostage by two crushing, hard-sided, impenetrable boots which in fact had severed all experience of the outside oxygen and my circulation. I had seriously needed to re-examine my life's direction. He'd actually wanted to volunteer to have an activity like this, I had wondered? He would had better odds with the drink called "death."
"Well," I had hesitated. "I do have some safety-related ski techniques for you based on my experience."
"What?" he'd eagerly wanted to know, craning his neck toward me.
"If you wish to ski in total safety," I had slowly shared with him, "whatever you choose to do, don't leave your house!" Which is exactly what Sidonie did.
In fact, Sidonie had upset more of a sweat walking between her seat as well as ladies' room inside lodge this year than she'd on her skis beyond it last year. Everyone loves a kindred, although cowardly spirit, we followed right behind her for the men's room. This became a true "cross country." This is a shame that the others will never know what they had missed!
I hope that Jenner had enjoyed herself. She had sat across from Sidonie, partaking in the "lunch" she had brought for you (the equivalent of a full aisle within the Stop-and-Shop and one which had induced me to dig for discount coupons), and did not utter a single "lovely" the entire day--the equivalent of a pulse for you else and therefore fully categorizable among her "vital signs."
Damian, wearing his usual aloof, inter-planetary expression, frequently made shopping trips down this food aisle, constantly carrying piled-high plates. He'd spent considerable time outside skiing, along with vastly improved over not too long ago (for which I had hated him).
"My, you have quite an appetite, Damian," I had observed.
"Well, skiing causes you to hungry, Robert," he'd returned. "Besides, you know what they assert: you should get your eight."
"Those are hours of sleep, Damian," I had corrected, "not meals daily!"
As Sidonie and Jenner ate, I can only think that they clung to the picnic table on skis not too long ago and would not leave the lodge this year. I wondered when they would actually leave the car next year.
Ecaterinata, arriving in the early afternoon and remembering my undying passion for the sport, caught me walking across the snow with a short group of skis in my arms for seven-year-old Julia.
"You finally found a little enough pair you're at ease?" she had inquired. Even these I'd not put on, I thought, but quickly grew angry i always had not thought of this choice last year.
Adam, the singular cause of the elongated drive because of his hopelessly inadequate ability to follow directions 2 yrs ago, had left this company, but had returned due to this year's ski event. He'd intermittently trained for your position as a pilot dedicated navigation.
During the day for the advanced slope, he'd sprained his groin and walked bow-legged through out it, as if he'd carried some invisible basketball between his legs. (!)
Munny, only 20, had since converted into manager, father (on this staff), and workaholic, careening, like Adam, around the advanced slope, although with a pole in a hand, conducting business in reference to his cell phone in the other, and projecting a smoke-puffing cigarette from his mouth among. I can only wonder what he will be like when he could be 50.
Andy (that is his last name--his name is "Handy") equally made his first foray into skiing, but had consistently experienced difficulty in stopping, and thus often did so via the building in front of him. The truth is, at times, he had appeared being a human pinball, bouncing derived from one of wall to another. I had told him that skis weren't equipped with brakes. Should they had been, I may have put one on myself this year. (I said "one," not "one pair!")
Andy was not the only one to use existing obstructions to his advantage, although I still cannot, only at that writing, understand the reversed sequence of events. A lot of people hit a tree while skiing and fall. Little Lauralitta had apparently fallen on the snow and collided having a tree branch upon arising, her ponytail bobbing behind her head being a spring-loaded doll. For the remainder of the day she walked round having a dazed look and the permanent imprint of the oak on her forehead.
As I had passed Ronald, I had found him virtually upside-down inside a ravine, skis and poles dangling from him such as outstretched tentacles of an octopus, and yelled, somewhat in panic, "Ronald, are you all right?"
"I'm fine!" he'd yelled back. "I think I'm receiving the hang of it!"
I wonder if it had been an inflated ego or sheer delusion.
How, you could ask, could I have witnessed all of these events once i had, in fact, never donned a single pair of skis? Let's input it this way: the love of short, stubby, concrete-gripping shoes. I had total freedom, running after everyone like Father Goose, instructing, warning, extracting with the snow.
As the sun had started to inch toward free airline on that crisp, blue mid-March day, the Jack Frost staff had equally started to close the resort for the night, forcing the remainder of the skiers to return to the lodge, who had passed Josue walking inside opposite direction toward the ski rental shack.
Steam rose with the chafing dishes lining the bar, as well as obligatory group photograph back-dropped by way of the company logo signaled the end to a different ski adventure.
As the Pocono Mountains receded behind me throughout the drive from Pennsylvania to Los angeles that evening, I had concluded that travel usually presented the best in people. That concept failed to seem to apply to my group--unless this was their best! Ah, even so had breathed a sigh and thought positively, hoping they would someday become fine, "normal" people.
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Someday, I'd also become a full-fledged, Olympic Gold Medal skier. I wonder which of the two needs to be given the better odds...?