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Worldwide Ace » For the Moment

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For the Moment

9 January, 2010 (07:40) | Work

“I used to be a stock broker,” he rattles off, his voice distant as if recalling a story his grandmother passed down.

“Would you ever consider going back?” I ask.

He laughs, his eyes wrinkling and showing his age for just an instant, the youth snapping back elastically as he regains his composure. “Oh no. I’m going to school for rolfing. How about you? What do you do?”

“This,” I tell him.

“What do you mean?”

“I’m just a ski instructor.”

We are all more than we seem.

Some of us have other jobs, be it DJ, businessman, chef, or teacher. Some of us have serious hobbies like mountain biking, sky diving, or playing in bands; hobbies that we make our work. Some of us are wending our way elsewhere, whether it’s grad school, politics, or simply New Zealand for the Southern Hemisphere’s winter. No one is “just a ski instructor.”

We slide on our uniforms, issued with smiles and tans, and the rest of our life disappears. The kids, parents, students all see us a glowing warmth guiding them across the snow, but none ever ask if that’s all we are.

I no longer have to ask.

We are a haphazard flock formed during a mutual migration in a million directions. We are a vessel filled with volunteers eagerly seeking adventure, peeling potatoes while waiting for the beauty of distant lands to materialize from our perch in the crow’s nest. We are a migrant congregation of lost lambs, unwilling or unable to sustain normalcy when the sky is filled with sparkling, crystalline gold.

“I have two kids and I do a lot of volunteer work,” she tells me. “I’ve been working on political campaigns.”

“I teach climbing in the offseason. That’s my real passion,” he says with longing.

“I’m studying environmental science, but I’m thinking about doing law school,” she tentatively reveals. It’s unclear if her uncertainty is in the act of revelation or the possibilities in front of her.

“I work at a sub shop.” The words spew out of his mouth with a touch of disdain. “It pays the bills, you know,” he adds quickly.

How many of us have small pieces of paper denoting our worth? Certificates, degrees, awards. None of it matters here. We are all in this together. We are all the same.

We have a thousand hidden talents, a million silent experiences. We have stories to tell that stretch the length and breadth of the world. We are local and international; young and old; experienced and new. We are dialectical beings, defined by what we were, what we are, and what we will be. We are binary systems so distant only a single point of light shows to the naked eye.

We are more than we seem.

“Just a ski instructor?” he says, confused. It’s too simple, I realize; too abrupt.

“I’m working on applications to grad school,” I say, the apologetic tone in my voice directed solely at myself.

“Ah,” he sighs with relief, his world view returned to its proper place.

We are ski and snowboard instructors, but only for the moment.