You will see from the outset how simple my idea is. All around me in a New York office are 97-pound weaklings who spend half of every winter week discussing stemming and schussing and uphill Christies. Also available are delicate little lotus blossoms (girls) who race out of the office on Friday afternoon, pile into Porsches for a weekend of skiing and return Monday morning red in the face and full of anecdotes about the ski patrol and the handsome instructors from Garmisch. All this talk relegates me to the role of the outsider, the bystander, the Milquetoast, which is unfortunate, since two years ago I won the table-tennis championship of the S.S. President Roosevelt, and that is not the only athletic achievement of my life. Not by a long shot. But when the ski talk starts up I have to shut up or expose my ignorance.
So my idea is to slip off for a week or so and, with a minimum of fuss, expense and bother, become an instant skier. Not only that, but I propose to accomplish the same metamorphosis with my three children, ages 5 to 10, so that they will never have to suffer the ignominy of being nonskiers in a ski-nutty world. We are leaving tomorrow, and I plan to make daily reports to show how easily one can lift oneself by the ski boots, if I may be permitted a note of levity.
FIRST DAY: This has been an exhausting and annoying day, but I am withholding judgment on the soundness of my idea until more facts are in. In the first place, the ski area is so crowded that we have been forced to lodge in the finished basement of a chalet down the road from the mountain. A nearby inn has agreed to feed us breakfast and supper. The cost for room and board is $80 a day, and I am assured that I am getting off easy.
It didn't take long for me to learn that I would have to make some purchases; the mackinaws, galoshes and blue jeans we had brought from home would not suffice here, unless we wanted to be ridiculed. When we went for our first meal at the inn we were stopped at the door by the patronne. She looked at the red rubber boots on the kids and said, "Do they have shoes under them?"
"No," I said.
"Well, won't they be uncomfortable wearing those boots inside?" she said.
"No," I said.
She didn't budge from the door, and I began to get the impression that something was wrong, dreadfully wrong, about wearing red rubber boots to a ski lodge. "Do you mean that you don't want these rubber boots in your house?" I asked.
"Well..." she said.
I marched three children back to the house, pulled them out of their rubber boots, tried to help them put on three pairs of shoes, found out that the shoes wouldn't fit over their heavy socks, took off the heavy socks, put on thin socks.... Then we all walked back to the inn in our shoes and enjoyed breakfast, while the patronne buzzed about giving us slantwise glances.