I love to ski. I didn't learn until my twenties, so I go about it with the zeal of a born-again convert.
This explains why, at 5:45 am this morning, I was rousing my boys for a 15-hour odyssey from Brooklyn to Aspen, via Newark, Kansas City, and Denver.
Yes, we could have flown a little more directly. But Mr Berman was not able to join us, and I felt guilty spending more than was strictly necessary on a vacation without him.
So I found myself at Denver airport this afternoon, embarking on what I had convinced myself was an easy, breezy 150-mile jaunt through the mountains. Turns out my memory had failed me, and it was a 200-mile twisty, turny, plunge-to-your-death-in-a-blizzard kind of drive; just the kind of thing you need to ease you into a relaxing vacation.
Apparently they have had a lot of snow this year. So I was persuaded to upgrade to a larger SUV, the size of a school bus, which would 'sit me higher above the road'. I have driven this route many times, but was never seated quite high enough to appreciate that at any given moment, I was in danger of driving off a precipice. It did not improve my enjoyment.
The kids had a fine old time, playing Zombie Smash in the back seat, and exploring the decibel capacity of the rental-bus stereo. With no intention of irony, they played Black Sabbath's 'Paranoid' repeatedly, as I white-knuckled my way through the foothills of the Rockies.
There was a particularly interesting spell near Vail, when a fast, hard blizzard moved in, just as a truck driver decided not to let me pass. Icy glares were exchanged on icier roads. He'd evidently been watching reruns of Duel.
I water-planed across the road near Snowmass, towards a ravine in the dark. I asked my kids 5 minutes later -- as soon as I managed to unclench my teeth -- whether they had noticed anything. They had. Apparently I had used words that are not OK.
But we are here. I managed to prise my hands off the steering wheel, since when they have been firmly clutching a glass of cab. The boys were fabulous company, and I am looking forward to wrestling them into their ski gear at 6:30 am tomorrow. May need another glass of cab at that point; not sure tea will hit the spot.