Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Whiskey Soured

Driving up the access road to Baker Mountain is an overwhelming experience in itself. The road carves between two massive walls of snow that grow higher and higher as you gain elevation, until it seems there is an impossible amount of snow ready to crash down on you at any moment.

On Saturday morning, snowflakes were sifting steadily from the sky and the clouds were the silver white color of a mottled pearl. It was difficult to discern where the sky ended and the snowdrifts began. All you could see through the icy windshield was the dark outline of the road cutting in wide turns through the whiteness.
It was easy to see me, however, because in the endless line of cars winding slowly up the mountain, I was the only one standing outside of the vehicle, squeezed in the narrow margin between the traffic and the immense walls of snow, dressed head to toe in shocking pink. And I was throwing up.

Really, guys, did you ever think my perfect ski cabin weekend wouldn't start like this?
None of this happened on purpose. I never intended to wear a ski outfit of pure pink, it just happened over time, the way you slowly and inevitably grow old and lose your affinity for soda. I acquired each piece- the pink vest, the pink polypro, on a different occasion. The pants were a fluke. Patagonia Women's Powder Bowl uninsulated pants were only available in vivid turquoise or magenta.  And nobody can pull of turquoise. Nobody. Trust me, I've tried. Turquoise makes you look like a crossover between a muppet and a human child. I'm pretty sure that's why I've been single for so long.
As for the puking, that was also a fluke.

Andrew, Chris and I arrived at a cabin near Baker on Friday night. I had the tremendous luck of having just the right weekend off from work and a last minute invite to join a few friends for a birthday celebration at a ski cabin. As I carefully packed up the car, I could hear the satisfying click of the universe locking together. It was supposed to snow all weekend! There was a hot tub! Hallelujah!

As soon as we arrived, Andrew set to work making these sweet and refreshing Whiskey Sours.
He made a simple syrup over the stove and squeezed the lemons fresh. Look how beautiful! If a good looking boy placed one of these in front of you, and you were wearing green knit leg warmers, wouldn't you drink it down? I sure did. Thrice! I drank three! There was music playing, lots of talk about climbing and skiing. Things were going exactly as planned. My whole life was going exactly as planned.
The others went off to bed, but the three of us were just getting started. We hit the hot tub. Having run out of whiskey, I chose a Porter with blue icicles on the label. In my Patagonia bikini with a bottle in hand, steam rising off the water into the frosty night air with snow and pine trees all around us, I was feelin' good.
I never once stopped to consider how dehydrating the whole evening was.  How could a hot tub be dehydrating? There's water all around you! You probably absorb water. In fact I absorbed so much water I was sweating!

I felt happy, almost loopy happy, but of course I did. There was literally no where else on earth I wanted to be, nobody I'd rather be with. I was so content that I almost slipped down into the suspiciously murky waters of the hot tub and slept there all night. Glad I didn't, I would be dead.

I do have one little blink of memory where I felt the lightest touch of anxiety. As I crawled into the crimson sheets of my bed around two am and lay there, very still, I felt my body sinking deeper and deeper into a sort of bottomless crevas. My last cohernt thought was, "Oh." As in, "Oh, I'm very drunk." Then I crashed fully into a thick, black sleep and woke up five hours later when Brittany was calling us to breakfast.

And oh, how the world had changed overnight. It had become a painful, painful place.

I tottered out of bed into the living room. I was then peer pressured into having a few bites of eggs. My stomach clutched and protested. I drank a cup of coffee. Around me, the others were buzzing around like happy bees. Moving slowly, I gathered my things as best I could, leaving behind my fleece, my down jacket and my wallet, all arguably important things at an expensive ski area in a cold climate.

The car ride was too hot. The music was disorienting. The line on the access road was crawling because of a plethora of spun out cars. Andrew kept saying, "Oh, wow, we still have a long way to go." 

It was the perfect storm.

I knew what was going to happen before it happened. I clutched at the door handle, hopped outside into the snow and threw up in a neat arc against the towering white wall. There were at least 20 stopped cars behind us with a perfect view, and no reason to look anywhere else. I was the only spot of color in a whited-out world.  I got a few cheers of encouragement from some snowboarding bros in an Impreza. Evidently they wanted an encore. They got one.

Still feeling notsogood, I opened the car door and folded myself back inside. I knew I probably had to hurl again, but not for another few moments and I didn't want to freeze. "Hey Melina-" said Andrew, who was grinning, "Would you like a whiskey sandwich?"

Now, I still don't know where he came up with that or why he said it. But the image of such a thing- two pieces of bread soaked in alcohol, limp lettuce and cheese between them, gave me the courage to get up and do what needed to be done, which was throw up again. This time the cars were moving steadily. I had to jog slowly alongside the traffic to keep up.

Really, without such weekly humiliations, where would I be? I'd be enormously successful, I bet. Corporations would sponsor my life. I'd have no real friends. I'd be a real bitch.
When we finally reached the parking lot of the lower lodge, I was done. My friends bought me my lift ticket (no wallet) and I couldn't figure out how to put it on my jacket. I pleaded with them to go on without me. They didn't need too much convincing.

Relieved to be by myself, I threw up twice more, then went upstairs to the lodge where the sad people with bag lunches are supposed to go so they can eat their little ham sandwiches without the torture of watching the wealthy eat hot chili out of bread bowls.

I poured myself a cup of water, took a few sips with a straw, and then my head dropped onto the table and I passed out for about 45 minutes.

It was not the most auspicious way in which to start our skiing extravaganza.

After the nap, however, I rallied. I really did. I clicked into my skis and got on the lift and then another lift to the top of the mountain. I shared the second ride with another single rider, to whom I enthusiastically recounted my morning's adventure, even though he didn't ask.


EJ said...

Oh Melina... someone should teach you to drink responsibly :-)

EJ said...

Oh Melina... Shall I teach you to drink responsibly?

Cassandra said...

You are amazing. And I'm glad you're not a bitch. :)

Kaeguri said...

Ugh, my stomach is churning in empathy...
These experiences are all about "character building," right? :)