Apples and snowboards

I was lying, face down in the snow, and I found myself thinking about apples.

It was a sunny Sunday, and I was on a weekend skiing trip with a large group of Japanese people and a couple of ALTs.

Saturday I got a day of skiing in, and it was glorious.

I love skiing. I whizz, speed, swoosh, curve and glide, and I feel so in control even at high speed.

My body always remembers so quickly how to do what I want it to do, even though it’s been almost a year.

Sunday, however, we decided to have a crack at snow boarding.

Snow boarders always look so cool.

Skiers clomp in their unwieldy plastic boots; snowboarders swagger. Skiers struggle with cumbersome skis and stocks; snowboarders throw their board under their arm. Skiers remain upright; boarders cruise to a sitting stop and chill on the side of the mountain.

I’m not a snowboarder. I’ve done a few days of boarding in the past, but every time I swear it’s the last.

On skis I’m graceful and in control. On a snowboard I am awkward and, frankly, f@*%ing terrified.

But there is a part of me that has always wanted to be a snowboarder; to swagger and wear cool jackets, and slide into a sitting position gazing down the mountain like I own it.

So Sunday morning, we switched our rental skis for boards and swaggered up the mountain.

I got as far as the top of the mountain looking oh so cool, and that’s when it all fell to pieces.

It took me nearly half an hour to get down the beginner slope, and I arrived at the bottom covered in snow and exhausted.

But, being the stubborn soul that I am, I suggested the we take the gondola to the top of the mountain and take the long green route down through the forest.

And that’s how I got to lying face down in the snow thinking about apples.

More specifically, the story about the apple who tried really hard to be a banana, because he admired the trendy jacket, or something.

Andyway, this apple tried and tried and tried to be a banana, but it could only ever be a second rate banana.

It realised, eventually, that it would only ever be a second rate banana, but if it accepted who it really was, it could be a first rate apple.

I wondered, as I spat out snow, if I should embrace my inner apple, and give up on snowboarding.

Then I wondered if perhaps I had sustained some kind of minor head injury.

Apple or banana, I had to get to the bottom somehow, so I staggered, flipped, twisted and slammed my way down the mountain.

We had a big, hot lunch, then, against my better judgement, I strapped my board back on and headed back up the gondola.

Half an hour later my snowboard (with me attached) was hanging off a snowbank.

“Yeah,” I thought. “The apple had it right.”

Somehow, however, I stuck it out til the last run; my bruises were getting bigger and my head injury was getting more concerning, but I did it.

And yes, I was still falling, but I was unquestionably better than I had been in the morning.

Sitting in a warm cafe at the end of the day, still wearing my swagger-boots, I thought about the apple again.

The apple is always going to be best at being an apple, but maybe sometimes it could put on a very convincing banana costume for parties.

And if the apple really, really wants to be a banana, then it should invest heavily in DNA research and reconstructive surgery until it can be a banana.

So if I want to snowboard, maybe I should just grit my teeth, put some arnica on my bruises/ whole body, and get on the next chairlift.

Yeah, I’m a shit banana. I’m bruised, damp and I won’t be able to walk tomorrow.

But dammit I gave it a wicked good shot, and that’s all any apple can ask for.


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