Man, this was the longest winter ever and I don’t feel like I took advantage of it at all. I only went skiing once, and it was in February. Yeah, the snow was great, perfect powder, that’s how real ski people, or the real ski people I’m imagining in my head anyway, that’s how they describe really good snow, powder, some really nice powder. But I only got to go the one time. Whenever it’s summer, fall, when it starts getting really cold but it hasn’t snowed anywhere yet, I always have these visions of me driving up to the mountains every weekend, really taking advantage of that powder, hitting the slopes, getting in some serious downhill time.
But I don’t have a car. And I work every weekend. My days off, well, it’s not the same every week, but it’s Monday, it’s Tuesday. Which, now that I’m thinking about it, those should be great days to go skiing, nobody else on the mountain, all of that powder to myself. But it’s never that easy. My days off finally arrive and then the next thing I know, it’s Saturday again, which, to you, the average reader, is like Wednesday. And I’m like, man, half the week behind me, half of it in front. Where is all of my free time? How am I ever going to find a minute to sneak away to the mountains?
And so when I did finally go this winter, I was pretty conscious that it was probably going to be my only time up there. Or, I was half conscious. The talking part of my brain was just yapping really loud and fast in my head, saying nonsense like, “Wow! This is terrific! Powder! It’s only February! There’ll still be powder in March! I can still go skiing in March! I’ll definitely go skiing in March! So what if there’s no more powder, they make pretty decent snow! It’ll be great!” all while I’m handing over my credit card to pay for the seventy dollar lift ticket, the calculating reptile number part of my brain, it’s not saying anything out loud, it doesn’t have to, that’s not how that side of the brain works. But if I had to translate the thoughts going on in there to English, it would be something like, “Ha. Powder. Please. He’s lucky I allowed him this one weekend. Work. Money. That’s all I care about!”
No car, no other weekends. It’s April already. As of writing this right now, right this second, I’m told that it’s the first day of spring. That’s what they say, anyway. I haven’t left the house yet. I already got fooled once last week with some alleged promise of spring-like weather. My days off were, yup, Monday and Tuesday. And everything for that week’s forecast said fifty, fifty-five degrees. Better break out the windbreaker. I got up that Monday and did my writing, told myself I’d take the dog for an hour long, two-hour long walk, to the park, to just bask in the springtime, finally.
And I made it outside and, yeah, it was slightly warmer, but not what I would really consider warm. I thought about skiing, how in previous winters I’ve been up at the mountains and have had actual days of skiing, dressed in wool socks and down jackets, in temperatures about the same as it was this day. Then the sky got really gray. Once the dog and I got about forty-five minutes away from the house, it started raining, a cold rain. The temperature dropped. I tried to hoof it back home, but the dog had to shake himself dry every five seconds. I was like, “Hey dog! Less shaking and more walking! Shaking isn’t going to do anything because you’re still going to be wet, it’s still raining,” but that’s when you know you’re in a bad spot, when you’re just yelling at your dog, him not understanding anything, his thought process must have been like, “Man, what did I do to be dragged out of my warm house and subjected to this water torture?”
We got home. The temperature dropped even more that night. The thermostat kicked in but I already had a chill in my body. That night I went to sleep shivering, and I dreamt of being cold, of being cold but taking advantage of that cold, getting into my imaginary dream car and heading up to that imaginary mountain, abundant with imaginary powder. And I thought to myself in my dream, “See? I knew I’d take advantage of this winter, that I’d get to go skiing at least twice,” and it was one of those really real type of dreams, one where, I wasn’t necessarily thinking about it right away when I woke up the next day, but days later, when I started thinking about skiing, when I sat down to write this whole thing up about skiing, and I’m writing about how I didn’t take advantage of the winter, that idiot part of my brain chimed in, “What are you talking about? We went skiing that second time last week,” and only for a moment I was fooled, like for a quarter of a second I thought about how much fun I had upstate that imaginary second time around.