Thursday, January 04, 2007

Oh, the things I'll do (before 50)

A ride on the magic carpet

Some things you’d best try to learn when you have youth on your side. Skiing, I’m now convinced, is one of them.

Against my better judgment, I had my first ski experience this weekend. My husband, a veteran skier, was delighted I’d finally given in to his pleas to try it. We rented the necessary equipment and the girls and I signed up for a “level one” (beginner’s) lesson. We were in a group of about eight people. Seven of us were “promoted” at the end of the lesson to “level three.” One of us didn’t make it. Can you guess who that was?

Common sense would have dictated retiring my rented skis, poles and boots after that first session, especially after the instructor broke the news to me that I wouldn’t be joining my kids in “level three” the following day. But no-o-o-o. I’m nothing if not determined. I’d take my “level two” lesson the next morning and, I hoped, reach “level three” in the afternoon.

Little did I know that my humiliation had only just begun.

The “level two” class entailed a ride on “the magic carpet,” a conveyor belt that takes you up a long, gently sloped hillside that serves as a learning trail.

I was scared witless.

Relax,” the instructor, a saint of a guy named Mike, assured me. “This is a piece of cake. You inch your skis onto the conveyor belt,” he explained. “And then it just takes you.”

I did as instructed, inching my skis onto the belt. And then it took me, all right. I fell backwards in a heap of tangled skis and poles. They had to stop the conveyor belt and haul me up, all before an audience of some 20-odd snickering people, mostly kids. They actually applauded when I was finally righted and set upon the magic carpet once more (this time Mike holding me up so I wouldn’t lose my balance).

Not a quitter, I made several more trips up the “slope” on the magic carpet ride, guided down by Saint Mike, who skied backwards in front of me each time, to prevent me from falling or crashing. I still managed to crash and fall a couple of times anyway.

The whole experience got me thinking. There are so many things I haven’t done yet. And time is running out. I mean, I’ll be 50 this year. My window of opportunity for trying new things is closing — especially if they involve the potential for breaking bones.

The expectations of my youth had me climbing mountains in Tibet, hang-gliding, piloting a plane, writing a book and running for office. OK, I did that last one. But what of the rest of it? Any day now, my AARP welcome kit will arrive in my mailbox, the thought of which sends shivers of panic up and down my spine.

If I’m going to have a mid-life crisis, I may as well do it publicly. And I’d like some help. So here’s a challenge for you, Gentle Reader: What should I do before I turn 50? Send me your suggestions. I’ll try anything within reason. That is, it can’t be illegal, involve marital infidelity or be too expensive; in other words, forget Tibet. Then I’ll write about it. Hopefully not from a hospital bed.

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ceil said...

Hi Denise - truly funny article...the visual was great...I never tried skiing downhill that is..but cross-country skiing is loads of fun. It keeps you off the magic carpet...

My personal favorites.
Make a list of places you want to see and make your wish list come true.
Practice saying "NO" without an explanation.

Nah, don't worry about the AARP card...hey Robert DeNiro was on last months cover of their magazine.How bad could that be?

I still want to drive a red Corvette on a straight-away with the top down and some rock N roll blasting.......hmmmmmm want to come?

Michelle said...

Hi Denise,
Want to try rowing? Olympic style rowing - where you sit with your feet laced into shoes bolted into a 26 foot long 31 pound boat that is just wide enough to hold your bottom end and sits 4 inches off the water? I can teach you as soon as the water gets warm enough to avoid hypothermia should you catch a crab and bloop (flip over).

You could even get into a Quadruple Scull Boat (4 rowers) with 3 Olympians (Joe Townsend, myself, and Co Rentmeester).

Or, if you really want to do something crazy - you could learn to row the rowing ergometer and you could RACE at the Our Lady of Mercy indoor rowing race scheduled for March. (Not sure if this is really a good idea because I want you to LIKE rowing).

Let me know! Call me at 631-807-6755.

Michelle Zaloom

Ernie said...

HI. Great article. I've done the downhill skiing thing until I hurt my knee playing soccer many moons ago.
Now I enjoy boating, which is pretty conventional on Long Island.
You might want to try Radio Controlled Model Airplanes since you wanted to pilot an airplane. Its cheaper than flying a full sized one. I've been doing it for years (since before I turned 50).
Its a skill that can be quite easily learned especially with todays modern trainers) but takes practice to do well. Also all you can hurt are the airplane or your ego. e-mail me a RCFLYERI@AOL.COM if you'd like to give it a try.