There are two types of edges in life: The edge where you possess a skill to succeed and the edge you push up against, maybe even step over. The first is generally good; the second can be mind-numbing.
Seven days ago I took a ski lesson. My first ever ski lesson and I am 50. I mastered the wedge, but not the lift dismount. Still, I made it back to the base, bruised and sore, but feeling like I had achieved what I’d set out to do on that first day – make it all the way down the mountain and then post a post-ski mugshot of me with a half-downed Belgium beer on Facebook. My friends liked that. I had learned to ski and so now I had an edge to go at it again.
Losing my edge
Then came day two. I don’t know where my confidence from the lesson with 10 strangers and a retired-math-teacher-ski-instructor had gone now that I was at the side of a loved one who just happened to be an accomplished skier of 20 years. I only hoped that my shaking knees would not cause an avalanche on the bunny slope where we returned to get our day started.
Our plan was to go green, as in the next level of ski slope up. It seemed reasonable, especially when I mastered getting off the lift without falling under the seat. I’ll give it to him, he was patient and encouraging. “All you have to do is turn like this,” he said effortlessly demonstrating the skill, “and put your weight on the outside ski like this and then turn the other way like this.”
Then, as a toddler flew by us with the top of her Pampers sticking out of Hello Kitty ski pants, he said quite plainly, “It will be easier to turn if you’re going faster like that.”
On the downhill side
I shook my head in disbelief, accidentally shaking out a memory of a photo taken of me with Mary Bono at a conference years ago. She became a congresswoman after winning the office vacated by her famous spouse Sonny Bono who had died…skiing into a tree.
So far-fetched was this memory, I dared not share it with my ski partner. I had, in fact, no dare left in me at all. And he sensed it, guiding me carefully and quietly back to base where we returned my rented ski gear.
I felt dull until he pointed out that next time it would be cheaper to rent skis in town. Next time? The very idea put me on edge, right up against my comfort zone. Ski season is almost over, so I’ve got some time to ponder this.
In the meantime, there’s always scuba diving. I took that lesson yesterday. Still letting that one sink in.