Instructor: 102-year-old "Bob"
We arrive with plenty of time to psyche ourselves out and convince ourselves (after the pep talk in the van on the way) that we were crazy to do this and we would most certainly die. Rachel gets her rental equipment, we put our ski boots on and experience the "death grip" on our feet and calves that we are told ensures a good fit. We meet John who also happens to be there for his first SORI5 lesson (Ski Or Ride In 5 for those who don't know the lingo.) We are thrilled that he looks as terrified as we do (misery loves company) and we mingle out to the lesson area together.
Bob looks delighted to be teaching the first timers today. He seems to have a hearing problem and proceeds to rename us "Andy" and "Raquel." John gets a kick out of this. We roll with it and we embark on a lesson that would eventually lead me to tears. Bob decides halfway through the lesson that we are not, in fact, ready to take on the chairlift today and we all agree with a sigh of relief and remain in the learning pen practically bowling for children for the rest of the class (how does anyone think it's a good idea to send a newbie down a gentle slope and expect them to dodge the group of inexperienced children on skis at the bottom?!)
I am the only one of the three of us who falls repeatedly on my @$* and every time Bob yells at me "smile" and responds to my fake smile with "like you mean it!" I want to impale him with my ski pole. We exchange numbers with John and agree to continue lessons as an exclusive group because proclaiming "nailed it!" (even when we don't) makes us laugh and he doesn't judge our lack of skills. I think we could be friends.
When Raquel tries to console me with her genuine "it's ok..." in the van on the way home, I break down in sobbing tears. I was not meant for this. I am a failure. If I hadn't already paid for the lessons I'd quit. I suck at this. I HATE SKIING! (I may have been hormonal.) I call Joe when I get home and cry that "I was the ONLY one who fell! I'm never going to get it! What's wrong with me? Why did I think I could learn to ski at my age?!" He listens with the sympathy he employs at the times I need it the most. He encourages me, lifts me up, and boosts me into lesson 2.