Monday, March 03, 2008

Back in action...mostly

As I lay on the couch last Wednesday I realized that I had to force myself to go back to work or I would simply call in sick each day for the next month.

Might as well get paid to feel like crap. Besides, I had clearly turned the corner on this illness. It seems to be a strain of flu overlooked in the flu shot formula for this year. I've clammed out the Mucinex guy's couch dozens of times in the past week. By the way, I have not used the product. But I suddenly imagined an advertising account executive clamming in the sink and going, "Hey! I can do something with this!"

At least I've had a great answer for those chirpy bastards who ask, "How ya doin'?" when they come into the shop. With sinuses and upper chest full of congestion, I have a whole arsenal of noises with which to answer. As an additional benefit, it makes them back away.

By Friday I had resumed skiing. Loafing along in an easy classical stride I could use strategic clams and snot rockets to gain elbow room in the crushes of tourists with no concept of trail etiquette. This may sound like a breach of etiquette in itself, but most people active in the cold winter air have to deal with phlegm disposal issues. That is a minor component of trail etiquette.

Most beginner to intermediate skiers not only appear to forget most of what they learned in their basic lesson as soon as they leave the practice field, they also don't know who has the right of way in simple passing and meeting situations. They also clump at trail intersections, ski in disorderly wads occupying the entire trail and stop for gear adjustments or picnics wherever the fancy strikes them, such as on blind corners and drops or dropping blind corners. Or they might set up a lunch pit six inches to the side of the set track and then give dirty looks to people who actually use that track, whose pole tips fall a reasonable distance left and right of the ski track.

Then there are the worse violations of decorum.

Incidentally, skiers coming down hill are supposed to have the right of way over skiers climbing. Descending skiers will sometimes waive this right if they aren't fanatically into the downhill and the skier climbing is stomping up the track at a good pace. Also, on sections with poor visibility, such as curves or increasing slopes, skiers may come upon each other with little warning and make a snap maneuver to avoid collision.

Skiers should make every effort to avoid completely blocking a trail. Slower skiers should yield to faster skiers. Skiers using different techniques on a trail that allows both should do their best to accommodate each other. Skaters poaching a classic-only trail should realize that they have waived all their constitutional rights and must kiss everybody's ass until they reach a trail where they are allowed to be. They may then resume their typical savagery.

If you insist on relieving yourself right beside the trail, try this new product!

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