28 February 2011

Jacket Of Love

So just stop
worrying about it
'cause all that
don't mean a thing.
It's the same old situation.
It's same old you and me.
                     Jacket of Love
                     Looking for Henrietta
                     Lyle and Sparkleface Band

Sometimes, when you're out in the woods skiing or riding your bike and you find yourself knocked on your keister totally unexpectedly, you reflect for a moment, after your situational-inventory's been taken, on how close you really do come from time to time to actual disaster.  And, if you're like me, in those moments, you're grateful.  Really stinkin' grateful, that this time you're okay.  Because you've been injured before.  And you know how much it sucks.

I clipped the tip of a blown-down spruce with my arm while skiing on Sunday.  It was hidden at the bottom a thick little clump of trees on a steep in-bounds hillside, poking out of them at an odd angle nearly perpendicular to the fall line.  Didn't see it as I was coming out of the the bottom of one turn looking down the slope for the next.  No warning.  Just never saw it.  It's always those wrecks that hurt the most.  

Life's like that, too.  Doncha think?  It's so rarely the challenges we've planned for that get us. It's almost never the crisis we've foreseen that causes us to panic.

Fortunately, this time I was okay.  A little worse for wear: bruised.  But not broken.  Basically okay.  Skied out and went back up for one more before going home, in fact.

My fancy, new, not-even-a-season-old Marker Gore-Tex jacket, on the other hand, did not survive the encounter.  It's dead.  As in: it's in the garbage can out by the street at this very moment waiting for destiny to arrive: tomorrow's early morning pick-up and a one-way ticket to the dump.

And ya know, I'm not really all that upset about it.  Primarily 'cause I survived the incident with little more than a deep, painful bruise on my arm... it could have been a lot worse.

But also because, although I've been skiing in it almost exclusively this season, I never really felt "moved in" to my fancy, new Marker Gore-Tex jacket.  First of all, because it always felt a bit too fancy.  I'm a huge fan of Gore-Tex as a material.  It does what it says it will do.  And I use it.  A lot.  Swear by it's ability to keep a body warm and dry.  But this jacket, despite the Gore-Tex, was nevertheless so feature-rich, so filled with do-dads and hidden pockets, goggle-wipers, and zippers that I felt, I dunno, a little bit Poser in it I guess.  I wanted it for the Gore-Tex (and the color), not because it would accommodate my cellphone, my iPod, and my flask (I don't actually carry a flask) in specifically, individually designed and engineered pocketry.  Plus, it was bulky.  Not snowboarder, slopestyle bulky.  But way bigger and heavier-on than the stuff I've grown accustomed to skiing in.  So there's that, too.  All of which conspires to make it so my heart isn't breaking today, even though my fancy, new Marker Gore-Tex jacket's done gone and died.

And, I've still got Old Yeller, too, my trusty, well-worn, tried-and-true, three-pocket, no-frills, not-Gore-Tex, mended-and-mended-again, multi-purpose, dingy, yellow Marmot jacket which I've been wearing for, I don't know, at least 10 years... maybe more. Yeller'd been retired to bike-commuting duty-only of late, what with my fancy new jacket and all.  But I'm calling her up for one more shot at the big leagues, one more season on the mountain.  She's a great jacket anyway.  Not fancy.  But never fails. Keeps me warm (as long as I'm layered right).  Mostly dry (can get a bit sweaty at times). And even has one simple chest pocket that will accommodate my iPod, if I require it (I usually do).  It'll be nice to take her back up the mountain next time I go.  Like old times... the same old situation, the same old you and me.