Up until a couple weeks ago, it’s been a bit chilly this winter, as the locals like to say here in Vermont. This means the temperatures drop into the mid-teens-below-zero at night and rise to a balmy five degrees during the day. Factor in 15- to 20-mile-an-hour winds, and that means it’s cold. Damned cold. Miserably, bone-grindingly, I-hope-the-furnace-doesn’t-crap-out-and-that-the-truck-will-start cold.
None of this would matter much to me if I weren’t a ski instructor. But this curious career choice means I’m outside, day after day, from around 8:30 in the morning until 3:30 in the afternoon. Regardless of the weather. “A little nippy,” I’ll mutter to the shivering hulk seated next to me as we ride the chairlift, swaying in the gale and lurching along to the top of the mountain for yet another attempt at this thing called skiing. “Today?” I’ll think to myself. “You have to learn how to ski TODAY?”
I’m generally a pretty reasonable guy. And by and large I like and respect my students. But after a few days of this godawful weather, I tend to get a little nutty.
So at the end of my shift, walking stiff-legged and shivering back to the locker room to change out of my ski boots, all I want in the whole world is some bourbon and a very long, very hot shower. I climb into my truck and make my way home, pulling into the driveway just as the defroster is starting to make a little headway. There I find my devoted golden retriever glaring at me through the plate glass window in the back door. Aw, shit, I mutter out loud. And so I let the dog out. As she noses about, taking her sweet time, I stand there, hands jammed into my pockets, stamping my feet and wondering if she might somehow be in on some conspiracy to keep me out in the cold for as long as inhumanely possible. I also review my plan: 1. Bourbon. 2. Shower.
I’ve long viewed these two activities as largely separate. First I rustle around the kitchen for a teacup, pour my bourbon, and take a sip. Then I leave it on the counter while I took my shower. It simply never occurred to me that you could combine these things. Call it a lack of imagination on my part.
Then the other day, as I was reaching for my teacup from its usual berth on the bottom shelf of the cupboard, I saw it. Sitting on the edge of the upper right shelf, close enough to bite me. It’d been left for me either by the gods, or, more likely, some forgetful house guests from last summer.
Just minutes later, there I was, standing in the shower, steaming hot water cascading over my head and shoulders, holding a sippy cup filled with bourbon. My cup has a little cartoon bear on the side. I’ve been thinking about getting something a bit more Jetson-y. But for now, this will do.
LC Editor Note: We have a sneaking suspicion that you, too, have experienced a sippy-cup moment, concocting something unconventional out of necessity. We want to hear about it. ’Fess up.–LC Editors.
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