The adventure begins – at 55
I was enjoying morning coffee and toast on my birthday, when my husband slid a copy of Your Time across the table and there, circled in thick, black texta, was “+55”. Wow, a not so subtle reminder that I had joined the ranks of a certain age group.
Pfft, it would not phase me.
I’m not really into the whole bucket list idea but there were things that I’d never done or seen.
My first adventure came with a trip to visit my son in Sweden, when I tried my hand (or feet) snow skiing.
As we all know, snow is not abundant in Australia, so it had been more than 30 years since I’d hit the slopes.
There were six in our group and we were soon gliding gracefully down the beginner’s slopes. Well some of us were!
My husband took a break and the rest of us headed for the chairlift, ready for a further challenge.
We skied back down unscathed, stopping here and there to admire the majestic views.
Feeling confident, we approached the lift for another trip.
The chairlift seat accommodates six. There were now five of us lined up ready to slide down to be scooped on to the seat as it swung around.
The sixth space is often taken by a solo skier and there is a lane for such skiers to jump on when the opportunity arises. Generally, it’s a simple, smooth process.
But with just a few seconds of inattention and mistiming, skier one slid forward without us. Oddly, skier two did the same.
Acting quickly, we decided to go for the next chair, but to fill the gaps, the lift attendant began wildly indicating and shouting for me to shuffle across to fit more on.
Swedish is not my first language, or indeed any of my languages, so I hesitated.
He repeated his instruction in English, which helped immensely.
Simultaneously, a more experienced skier swept through from behind to fill the gap. As the chair scooped us on to its warm, soft seat, I found mine was particularly soft, as it was a Swedish man’s lap. The space is not really designed for two, so he clasped his arms around my waist with a vice like grip. I had no idea what he was saying but I was dangling more than two metres from the ground.
“I’m terribly sorry but I only speak English so if you could translate that for me I’d be much obliged,” I wanted to say, but with skis flailing and ski poles waving about with the coordination of an inflatable, tube man, I lost all capability of speech and blurted just one word, “English!”
The lift stopped. An attendant was gazing up asking if we were OK. What part of this looked OK?
I was sitting on a strange man’s lap on a chair lift. I needed to move and quickly.
I wiggled myself off of his lap to my rightful spot on the seat, all the while apologising.
I then had to sit next to my new friend for a good 10-minute ride wondering if I should make small talk.
Exiting the lift, I muttered one last apology and thanked him for his help.
“Ah, life is an adventure,” he said.