I’m planning to go back to Austria to ski in a couple of weeks. After being allowed (thank you, Irene) to ski there for about 30 years in a row, I stayed home the last two winters.
It will be good to see the Austrians who provide us rooms, food and drinks and remain friendly to me despite my pathetic failure to speak more than a few basic words of their language.
This time around I’m hoping:
--I don’t pack 16 pairs of socks as I usually do. Experience has shown that’s a few too many for four days of skiing.
--To learn how to say in German, “No, I didn’t vote for him.”
--That my old ski boots still have a few more miles left in them.
--To learn how to say in German, “I don’t understand what’s going on either.”
--That I have a few more miles left in me.
--To learn how to say in German, “Does the Post Office have forms to apply for Austrian citizenship?”
--That the strange odor I noticed in the basement the other day isn’t coming from my best pair of ski gloves.
--To learn how to say in German, “I’ve already told you I don’t understand what’s going on either.”
--To get at least an hour or two of sleep on the plane and maybe a good nap on the train from Munich to St. Anton.
--To learn how to say in German, “Can you ask me about something else, please?”
--To ride a new lift that has opened since my last trip there.
--To learn how to say in German, “No, I don’t know if Herr Robert Mueller speaks German, and yes, I think his report will be very critical of the man with the orange hair.”
--That we’ll have good weather with good visibility. Not being born in Austria, I’m not comfortable trying to ski down a run where you can only see about a half inch in front of you.
--To learn how to say in German, “Yes, he started talking about a big, tall wall that would be paid for by Mexico. Now he’s saying the U.S. taxpayer will foot the bill and the wall may just be steel slats. A friend of mine thinks we should all start calling him Slats.”
In truth, I’d like to just have a good time, ski familiar runs I like, resist the temptation to turn on CNN International or the BBC, enjoy dinner at favorite restaurants and spend a few hours in a Munich beer hall with three or four journalists I worked with at RFE to relive for the umpteen time how good we thought we used to be.
So, Larry: cram those feet into those boots, stand on those long sticks, use your poles and focus entirely on what’s important: getting down that run in one piece. Then relax and go have a Schnapps and maybe a German chocolate bar after dinner.
(Posted January 3, 2019)