Now don’t be alarmed, but I’ll probably be dead when you read this. By the time this baby goes to print, I will be up an Austrian mountain with no fricking clue what I’m doing. I don’t know how it slipped my mind for two months that I was going on a free press trip to sample the delights of Tyrolean snow fun, but it did, and now here I am, hullo me, sitting in a pile of puffy clothing borrowed from an athletic friend two sizes smaller than me, wondering if I’ll get assigned my own rescue dog. If I get my own dog, and it’s a big dog with brandy round its neck, I reckon I might just make it through this. Dogs are pretty dependable. Unless they see a rabbit. Are there rabbits in Austria? This is what I’m thinking right now, as I sit here wearing goggles indoors, practising my ‘I’m skiing’ face.
The only time I’ve ever skiied was in the midlands in the 90s. My Dad took us to one of those bristly dry slope affairs off the motorway and told us that living an active life was just as important as reading. I scoffed. What was this lunatic on about. Everyone knows your body is just a trash can for the multipack of Monster Munch you’ve just eaten. We only went once. Maybe Dad feared for our hymens on the ski lift, which was, even in its kinder moments, inappropriate.
Thanks to the dirty smears of time, my only residual memory of the skills needed to ski are thus: if in doubt put your hands over your eyes, clamp your legs together, and hope for the best. It’s pretty much how the British used to procreate before we were liberated by hurried creative sex with Yanks in exchange for black market items during the war. That’s my entire model for staying alive. It’s all I’ve got. A bad metaphor made from dubiously cobbled history. I’m screwed.
Here are some things I’d like to get off my chest before I die:
1) Sorry, little sister, for locking you in the cupboard under the stairs when we were kids. As you said recently, Harry Potter didn’t exist back then so it really wasn’t cool. Sorry.
2) Sorry Anonymous, for rubbing out your GCSE artwork without your knowledge and redoing it. Even if you did get a B.
3) Mum. Thank you for never letting me get the perm and straight fringe combo. I thought I would die if I didn’t get to scrunch mousse into corkscrew curls like they did in Just Seventeen. Turns out I’m going to die skiing. So there we go. Life is mysterious.
4) Cous cous. I’ve never really got it. What is it?
5) There’s other stuff I’m sure but I’m a bit distracted. These goggles are very tight.
What do I feel on the eve of my almost certain death, you ask? I feel nervous. But also excited. Because if you’re going to die, it might as well be on a free trip, right? I wonder if the minibar is complimentary. I wonder if I eat the expensive macadamia nuts whether they’ll charge it to my family. That would be poor form I think. “Dear The Haslers, Sorry for your loss. Miss Hasler enjoyed some macadamia nuts shortly before her spectacular demise, but as she ate only three we are just billing you for the proportional sum of £5.11. Kind regards, Austria.” I don’t even like macadamia nuts. I think I’ll have the Pringles instead. It’s what my family would want for me.
I wonder what the mountain air will smell like. I wonder what all that white will look like. I wonder what I’ll be thinking as I’m soaring like an eagle, into a tree. I wonder if as I’m dying in the snow I’ll lie back and think of England, or just “Damn, I missed the free lunch”.