Tales of catastophe, sex and squalor from the Alpine Underbelly...

Belle de Neige

Monday, 6 September 2010

Don't Panic

This post is dedicated to our dear friend, the Wiley Miss G. We're all thinking of you hun.

'You work harder, work harder, you're told that you must. And you must earn a living. Must earn a crust. And be like everybody else.'

* * * * *

'I'm panicking, I haven't found a job in the ski resort yet'

This was what I said to Skater Boy back in late July.

'No need to panic at this point!' He replied in his usual up-beat, happy-go-lucky tone. 'If you haven't got a job by beginning of September - that's when you start panicking'

Holy shit.

SbH, the jammy little sod, has already secured himself a cushy little number as something called a 'flexi rep' -which basically amounts to selling a few ski passes and swanning around the resort standing in for chalet chefs when they are ill or have displaced some part or another of their anatomy care of an ill-advised icy-mogul field.

So Skater Boy and I applied to work in a private chalet as a 'couple'. Controversial for two reasons: a) you might recall that I made a pit stop under the skanky duvet of Skater Boy on the road to SbH last winter... b) I swore to high heaven I'd never be a chalet girl again.

Anyhow, we were convinced we had it in the bag. Skater boy even had a haircut (cripes!) and wore a shirt (double cripes!) But no. Not even his white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake or my puppy-like enthusiasm could do the trick.

Finding a job up the mountain isn't as easy as it looks, you know. Each company and each job is as odious as the next and there's a whole queue of 18 year olds willing to work for nothing but fudge, jager bombs and a shag hopping up and down going 'pick me! ooooh oooh pick meeee!' ahead of you.

One can of course opt for the increased pay, responsibility and therefore legitimacy of a job like 'resort manager' or 'ski rep' (sounds a lot better when you tell your parents than 'chalet girl' does, particularly when, like me, your chucking what looks like a glittering career in digital marketing up the swanny to go off and be a toilet cleaner). But with such jobs come higher stress and then there's the inevitable 'them and us' situation. Managers have to bollock the 18-year-olds who don't turn up to serve breakfast because they're still off their tits on mephadrome from the night before. No. Bar work is by far the safest bet.

Not to be a whinge pot, but lately one too many people have been trying to piss on my parade. My friends back home seem to have divided themselves into two camps:

Camp 1 aka: Team Get-your-act-together-you're-four-years-off-thirty-what-have-you-got-to-show-for-it? (this is mostly family)

Camp 2 aka: Team Go-for-it-if-you-don't-do-it-now-you-never-will-I've-got-a-mortgage-and-I'm-bored. (everyone else)

Camp 1 tell me that life is 30% fun and 70% graft. That I made a bit of a cluster-fuck of things over the last ten months and that if I go gallivanting off to a dead end ski resort job again this year no fucker's going to dig me out when I come back financially and physically crippled all over again.

Camp 2 look at me with misty-wistful eyes and remark a) how they wished they'd done more than one ski season b) how they wished they'd done a ski season at all c) how despite 'having everything' they are bored.

So here I sit. No ski resort job as yet. One mangled knee, as yet unfixed. Crap all to show for myself. Even if I do get a job in time, according to my friendly knee surgeon, Mr H, I won't be able to ski possibly until March. My knee is still a wobbling outrage. All I know is, I have to go back.

All my ski friends, of course, understand immediately the concept that being in the ski resort not skiing will be far more bearable than being at home not skiing. Camp 1 do not. Why would they? It's like trying to explain the magical fairyland of what-the-fuck-just-happened-here mind expanding awesomeness that is Glastonbury to someone who doesn't take drugs and has never been.

'Why would you want to be there if you can't ski?' They ask.

Well, picture this. I don't get a job in the ski resort. Instead I take some contract work - probably in london - for the winter. Fantastic, a bit of cash coming in.

It's January 11th 2011. I drag my sorry carcass out of bed for the fourth time that week (I'm still living at Dad's because I'm still trying to save). It's 5.45am - I have to leave at 6.15 in order to get the 7am train to get me to London at 8am to get to work by 8.45 on the packed, grimy tube that made me almost suicidal last year. I push the lingering thought that I swore I'd never do this to myself again, that I'm more than this, that by hook or by crook I'd find an out-of-the-ordinary career path, to the back recesses of my mind. I feel a deep sense of doom permeate me to my core.

It's pissing with rain. After a morning spent, clicking, clicking, tapping, clicking, I log on to facebook to cheer myself up and see a post from a seasonaire friend. A picture of her hurling herself off a recently built kicker into the beautiful toothpaste bluebird sky.

'Quick run down Biolay chaps? Then let's head to the Ronnie'

At this point, I rise purposefully from my seat and hurl myself from the train.

Yes, yes. I hear you say. But that little picture you've just illustrated is cold reality for most of the people reading this blog.

I know.

It's not that I think I'm special. Or different. I'm just not ready to accept defeat yet. I'm willing to risk being rootless and unstable at 30, because the safe, sensible alternative fills me with such utter dread. And I'm not big enough, clever enough or mature enough to get over that dread. Sorry.

I'm in love. And I have to go back.

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