You always find a diverse mix of personalities and allegiances in any social group. There are leaders and followers, but the majority of people slot nicely somewhere in-between the two extremes.
Or not so nicely.
Remember high school and the playground index of popularity? Most of us couldn’t wait to reach Year 12 to finally shed the high school shackles of social discrimination, only to realise that they are everywhere – from the workplace to mothers groups.
The piste has become our high school yard this holiday and has demonstrated the fickle loyalties of my family and NB.
And one amongst us in particular has shown his true colors to become the backstabbing, ‘mean girl’ of the slopes. No-one likes disloyalty and the old man has proven this holiday what we have feared for a long time – that he believes that his needs are above the rest of ours.
When we set out on our holiday to Thredbo, our group had already split organically and happily into two smaller groups of skiers – ‘Da Boyz’, as they like to be known, who believe themselves to be superior skiers/snowboarders with their mission statement of ‘better’ is ‘faster’ – who have obviously forgotten the story of the tortoise and the hare – and the girls, better known as ‘The Snowplough Chicks’, who put style above speed.
On day 1, NC and I, (aka the ‘Snowplough chicks’), headed off happily to our ‘slow but steady’ green group while ‘Da Boyz’, (Kurt, the old man and NB) fought over who would be the fastest in the Adrenaline Junkie group.
Sadly, towards the end of that first lesson, the old man was forced to retire by the younger and leaner crazy puppies and left to find his own way home from the bottom of a highly demoralizing black run.
It was a sad and frail old man who returned to the apartment that day, tail between his legs, who then begged us ‘Snowplough Chicks’ to allow him into our group.
Being ‘nice’ and not ‘mean’ girls, we welcomed him into our fold with open arms (plus a few promised shopping trips upon our return to Sydney) and never once mentioned his earlier gloats of being of a professional skiing standard.
On day 2, the three Snowplough Chicks (including our newly adopted snowplougher) tore up those green runs with a wondrously acrobatic display of perfect snowplough turns, while the two testosterone-fuelled Y-Gen males did their worst to carve up the blues and blacks, brandishing themselves with ice tattoos of renewed manliness.
And slowly the old man’s confidence healed and his manliness recovered, safe in the bosom of empathetic women and we watched tearfully as he began to hold his head up high again.
But before the Snowplough Chicks could get down the mountain to the Gluvein on day 3, the old man had skied back into the arms of Da Boyz like a testosterone magnet, dumping those very same snow angels who had rescued him in his hour of need in true ‘mean boy spirit’, and without so much as a backwards glance.