I Put the A** in U and Me.

After a lovely morning of practicing my contortionists poses in front of the mirror (which for once, you can assume is NOT a joke), and simultaneously balancing my coffee mug with my pinky toes, Julie decided that yesterday was the day for me to use the wooden skis we rented, and she brought me up to the top of a cliff for my first ever official ski lesson.

The lesson involved mostly how to walk in ski boots like they are a pair of stilettos, followed by how to carry them, and your skis, and your poles, and still look oh-so “Devil Wears Prada” as to not look like a “snow bunny” –the name they apparently give to the short bus skiiers. Was that politically correct? It was basically what SHE said!

Prior to the lesson, as I was making breakfast, we got distracted talking about yoga retreats, so I grabbed my computer to look up a few spine-twisting hot spots and some fun facts. Since it’s normal and acceptable these days to have 50 million tabs open at one time without your computer spontaneously combusting, I had my Facebook open at the same time. Who would be Facebooking at 1am your time? I’m not sure. Someone from college had seized the day and decided to tell me of all the stupid things I did to them as a friend back then. It was nice of them to bring it up, especially since on an everyday basis I don’t dislike myself enough, and I definitely needed the further reminder of my many past mistakes. If I am being honest, I will say I actually was prepared to face any skeletons in my closet. However, I did not exactly see the point. She did not tell me what I said, I’m assuming by her words that she has no interest in rekindling our friendship, and we both spent a good number of our time back then throwing equally firey darts at each other; I thought that was understood and respected. All is fair in love and war? So, I wrote her back, tried to stop hitting my head against the wall, and then hit the slopes.

It was still on my mind while I was trying to cut off my right foot, as I am pretty sure that is the ONLY way it will fit into one of these ski boot contraptions! I think they make them for people who have the foot bending capabilities of Gumby. As I was grunting away and wailing my foot against the wall, I decided that skiing is NOT for me! Nope. I only like my two feet and I am going to be a giant poop until I’ve proved it to myself and everyone else. That lasted all of two minutes. it all became much more fun the second I put those ski boots on and began balancing a book on my head like Julie told me, “For POISE,” she yelled while hitting the back of my shins with a ruler. Is this the ballet class I took when I was 10? Or learning to ski?

We meandered to the bunny slope where of course I was hopping all over in a matter of seconds and ready to hit up the rabbit hills and moose tracks. How could I have assumed anything about this wonderful hobby?! It’s great fun. When do we get to go fast?

It’s the same thing that happened with my pre-conceived notions of cross-country skiing. I also decided, before coming to France, that it was a good idea to assume exactly how it would be living here. In this perfect image, people were running and flocking to me from far and wide and I was a glorified goddess in the community. This isn’t TOO far from what is happening right now, but there are some tweaks in the fantasy. Namely, I don’t really know of anyone yet to inform of my goddess status….except for the cashier’s at the UMarche….which are not so keen on the idea.

After our ski school, Julie wanted me to run her through some yoga. An idea that had me chomping at the bit! I’ve been waiting to do yoga with her since I arrived! I assumed this would happen at noon, as we had planned. WRONG. Our newest chalet company, Jay the Harbor Master on Martha’s Vineyard, arrived at approximately 12:13 and foiled the plan for Breathe of Fire and Backward Upside Down Left Side out the Window Seal Pose. So, Emily serves lunch, Emily kills some time with dinner prep and a nine hour nap, and then Julie reappears. Thankfully she didn’t catch me in mid-slumber since I was recording my dreams with her iPhone. She still wanted me to perform a private yoga lesson for she and I, which I was happy to do as we could levitate the afternoon away and turn our negative thoughts to zeroes (along with our waistlines), and concentrate on clarity and other terms of the existential sport world. The only juggling act was trying to somehow get dinner ready by seven and start our yoga at six as she wanted. 

It all worked out though, despite my assuming the worst: that I wouldn’t have time to burn the chicken, and the salad would be just a big pile of lettuce due to lack of prep time.

After dinner, I forced myself out of the house, where I was hoping for some live music and to be serenaded in French; sadly I found none and began writing my name on a napkin with hearts and sheep around it, so no one would talk to me. Who else wanders into the restaurant than the only two people I know in this entire country?! Just when I assumed my evening was doomed. Are you seeing a pattern? Assuming is just no good!

My grandfather used to always say the simple yet true phrase, “Ya, never can tell.” He was really good at saving his breath and only saying what needs to be said. He makes  agood point; assumptions can be all-encompassing or un petit peu, which perhaps is the determining factor in how much you end up being surprised and fooled. Understand through compassion or you may misunderstand the times. I wonder what it feels like not to assume….

How does one not succumb to the urge to make an ass out of themselves? Perhaps it requires doing a little research before simply taking something for granted and making it a fact in my own little head (I naturally assume my head is small as most hats go over my eyeballs, I’ve done the research so I think this is a safe one). I will give it a go tomorrow, well, that is assuming tomorrow goes as planned.

Assuming nothing and loving it,

— Emily —

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