7:30 or so at home…
My daughter is eating Mini Breton veggie crackers in a plastic bowl at the kids table set up in front of the TV…she’s almost two, my son is wearing orange pajama shorts and his warmest Patagonia beanie smiling now with his toast and strawberry jam after mom said he could have a show with breakfast if he picked, “Simpson’s Christmas”...and I head to the shower with a home-made chai with opening day right on schedule.
Drop my son at school and tell the grade one kids opening day is Friday because it’s just for mom’s and dad’s (thanks for that Whistler Blackcomb). We stop by the bank for some cash and I wait while my wife runs into the info centre to grab a bus ticket. My plan is to walk past and survey the opening day line-up in the village on my way to the shop to get my gear. I check my messages while my daughter’s singing in her back seat car seat fades to a little snore and Murphy’s Law takes over opening day…here we go…
Buddy number one replied to my e-mail from last night that he has his pass and is lining up at 7:30am with buddy number two who just got back from South America yesterday, buddy number three left a voicemail saying his jacket is in an office that isn’t open after a late meeting last night and do I have a spare (leave return message ‘yes’ lots…I own the shop) and I see through the window the info centre lady has two customers at the till and the phone in her hand while my wife is waiting gesturing something with her hands through the window I can’t understand, 8:30 has turned to 8:55 and the opening day plan is in recovery mode. Meanwhile, buddy number one sends a text, “packed in a full gondi”.
My wife drops me at the shop, I comment that the new girl has opened up (that’s a good sign) and somehow my wife just figured out that means I’m going skiing. Seemed obvious to me. “Don’t break anything”, she says, then, “be careful“, with those eyes. “You know I just want to get up there”, I reply, and head for the shop. My wife drives away with the little one still fast asleep and it’s on.
Well almost on…it’s on except that the credit terminal that processes all of our sales is off-line. I won’t even get into how Telus One Business Solutions is saving me a small fortune on phone bills, throwing in a free air card for my laptop with a bunch of free minutes but I forgot the extra fax-line we cancelled was also the credit line…damn! Call my wife’s cell, no answer, call home, no answer, no car, no skiing. Panic? not yet, call cell again, yes!! Pick up, drive to hardware, install phone line for credit, pants, boots, jacket, gloves, Blue Tooth speakers in helmet, pass, poles, skis…neighbor wants to talk demos…(thinking to myself, “why do you think I’m dressed like this? You know it’s opening day?”)…keep moving…11:00 something, out the door.
ACDC DJ mix kicks back in on the gondi after I wait two cars for buddy and his buddy to get a car on their own and the liftie goes for it…dude? It’s opening day, they can smoke their dube after I’m up. Then it happens, like it always does, like the sliding doors a lifetime away closing behind me on the C-Train heading downtown, it all stops. All the noise stops, the distractions, the schedules, the meetings, the Simpson’s…and I breathe. It’s opening day.
By 11:30 I’m snapped and zipped and buckled and leaning on my poles bobbing my head to Intergalactic…Beastie Boys set on “Play All Albums”…and I let the girl with the snowboard and the white wires hanging out of the beanie under her helmet off first and walk into the white room of so many memories, plastic boots on metal planks and doors wide open, wind and snow blowing…saying, “good to see you again“…into that place that reminds me this day, this moment is home. The sun is out.
The voices are calling. I head for the trees past Green, left of right, Rat Fink, and slide past a couple of dudes stopping for a smoke and drop the hollow rock band that takes me from zero to 60, to 9.8 meters per second squared, to pow! It’s on. More right, deeper into the woods, quiet, listen…wack!! Back to reality, here, now, logs are bigger this year (105cm base…you do the math), trees zero, new Armada Fade pants 2, slide to a stop and laugh out loud.
Saw the clock where we met in the roundhouse…damn, need to be back to work at 1:00pm when new girl leaves. Skis on, saw buddy number one’s K2 Pontoons near the door where I dropped my Kahuna’s…should have brought mine, no, not enough snow, just jealous…we skate up to the fence line and start booting into Harmony with buddy number 2 in tow for one more lap…we haven’t skied together for 2 years…babies, weddings, jobs…two years and a thousand turns apart we pick up right where we left off. Right here at home, opening day. It’s on.