Lessons with strangers encouraged

A wise soul told me, “never try to teach your spouse something.” It was in reference to teaching his wife to ski for the first time, and it was all too familiar.

I am not a patient person, and I am not a good teacher. I once left a boyfriend crying on the side of the mountain because I couldn’t wait any longer for him to figure out how to ski. Needless to say, that relationship didn’t last.

I learned to snowboard for the sole reason that I wanted to hang out with my cousins. They were older and cooler and I wanted to be part of the group.

I had snowboarded once before with my best friends in middle school. We spent the day riding the snowboard like a sled, until we got stopped by ski patrol who made us take the lift back to the bottom, “for the safety of everyone on the mountain.”

Somehow I still felt confident as I headed up the mountain with the cousins.

As the lift approached the top, I had the horrible realization that I had no fucking clue what to do. I stood up and hoped for the best.

Immediate faceplant. The lift stopped so no one would ski over me as I tried to roll over, or stand up, or do anything with dignity. The lift operator finally came out of his cabin to help me. Naturally I struggled, and took him down twice.

My cousin Aaron spent the rest of the day snowboarding backwards, holding my hands, and trying to keep us both vertical. By the end everyone was exhausted and cranky.

My day was exponentially better than my cousin Millie’s, though. After taking a hard fall, she told the boy cousins that something was wrong and she was in a lot of pain.

“Suck it up.”

“You’re such a drama queen!”

“Get back on the mountain.”

She spent the day trying to keep up with them, while silently weeping. The next day when she finally went to the hospital, she learned that she had, in fact, broken her tailbone.

Unfortunately for my ex-boyfriend, I come from a long line of impatient people. But it’s an effective method — both Millie and I now can snowboard as well as the boys. But it can be harsh on relationships, so from now on, anyone I love is firmly encouraged to take a lesson with a stranger.

Liz Marsh’s ‘Running Under the Influence’ runs twice a month in the Colorado Daily.

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