Doing battle with daily dragons

Friday, August 05, 2005

High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things…

If Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee had been a snowboarder, my guess is that the next line of his immortal poem, “High Flight” would have been:

And crashing down, I wonder in my heart
Should I have ripped such mighty wicked air
To risk the bruising of such tender parts
And in fright, to soil my underwear.

The Rock Star and I took to the slope at Milton Keynes last night along with The Fraggle and Boyracer, who is a skier, but we don’t hold it against him. The Fraggle was up visiting from London, and as well as being a good teacher on the slopes, he is also a troublemaker. “Come on,” he said, “You guys are doing great! Give that little jump a try!”

To back up a step or two, I’d like to talk about my boots.

They were originally sold to me by a freakishly pierced and be-dreaded snow harpy at the Ski and Boarding exhibition at Olympia. I’m not sure why I was under the impression that one of the most popular ski resorts in Canada, which I was travelling to, wouldn’t have an adequate selection of ski/boarding apparel, but for some reason I felt that I HAD to walk away from this fun fair of rampant consumerism with a pair of boots. Sadly, my choice was badly made and I and my feet have been regretting my decision every time I’ve strapped myself to my super slippery plank of wood and hurtled myself down a hill.

In my defence:

-I knew nothing when I bought them.

-It SAID “Women’s” on the box.

-I knew nothing when I bought them.

Knowing slightly more now, I purchased a new pair from the resident unkempt teenagers at Snowboard Asylum in Milton Keynes and felt as if I was learning to board all over again, the good way. They improved my balance and my confidence at speed. My confidence, however, was preyed upon by the agitator…

Back to The Fraggle. The Rock Star doesn’t really need much encouragement to do the new and challenging, so The Fraggle’s invitation to death or glory was quickly taken up.

I should mention at this point that the “jump” in question was more like a traffic calming measure than a true “kicker”. However, while Boyracer and the Fraggle managed it with little difficulty, The Rock Star and I managed some fairly spectacular wipe outs, occasionally met with scattered applause from the rest of the dome. I personally managed to get perhaps half a foot of space between my board and the snow, but the landing was more reminiscent of those nature films about penguins, who slide across the ice on their bellies before dropping gracefully into the sea. Sadly, there was no graceful drop at the end of my belly slide, but I did get 9 out of 10 for style and a lot of snow up my shirt.

High Flight is still elusive. But the next time I venture into the air, you better believe I’m going to be wearing a crash helmet.