I'm a good story

Whistlah: What I learned from an old, blind bitch

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Last week an old, blind lady who I was helping walk to the grocery store told me I’m an angry and bitter person.

In my defense, I’d woken up that morning after having three consecutive dreams that had an unsettling tone to them. I was also PMS-y (never a good enough excuse on its own) and was dealing with some drama that apparently is the norm when it comes to dating a (much) younger guy. So, when this woman stopped me on my way to get dog food, let’s just say I wasn’t exactly in the mood to help her to her destination (which wasn’t on the way to mine.) However, I can’t, in my nature, leave an old, blind woman standing there on her own so I agreed to take her to a main intersection.

When I started things off by asking her if she’d ever considered getting a guide dog, our rapport went downhill very quickly. I only asked because my dog does therapy work, and it moves me to see how much of a difference she makes in people’s lives. But no, this old, blind woman wasn’t open to the idea of that. She knows how to live her life, she told me defensively – what works for her and what doesn’t. And despite never having spoken to anyone about guide dogs, she clearly wasn’t open to the idea.

I’ll blame my mood, but this really irritated me. I suppose the rest of our interaction (which took about 15 minutes, since she was walking sooooo slowly) was curt. She dropped the “You’re an angry and bitter person” on me while we still had a least five more blocks to go. I wasn’t going to leave her on her own, so I just kept going, without saying much.

Finally, when we reached the intersection, someone who knew the old lady ran across the street and took over. I didn’t say goodbye and she didn’t say thank you.

Our not-so-brief encounter festered inside of me for the rest of the afternoon. I alternated between feeling terrible for coming across as angry and bitter, to plain angry that this woman would be so closed-minded. By bedtime I decided to not let it bother me any longer. If I could come away with one life-changing lesson from that encounter, it was that I hoped to never be so stuck in my ways that it turned me into an undeniably unpleasant person.

A few days later, I found out the guy I’m dating – let’s call him Manjeep – was going to Whistler. He’d put it out on Facebook, and was hoping to round up some troupes to join him since he’d arranged a place to stay for the weekend.

The day before Manjeep was to leave, he still hadn’t found anyone to join him so I told him I’d come. For someone who is not much of a snow bunny (it’s too expensive and I fell down a hill, ungracefully, on a grade 9 ski trip) Whistler isn’t much of a draw. If you’re not into tourists, (as most elitist people aren’t) this isn’t the place to visit and if you’re not skilled on the hills, it seems quite pointless. However, as someone who hasn’t had a sleepover with a guy, much less a romantic getaway for years, a quick weekend away greatly appealed to me. I fantasized about getting cozy by the fire with fondue and wine at night after Manjeep had spent a long day on the hills, while I had stayed at the hotel and watched reality TV. In my mind, it was perfect.

The night before we were to go, Manjeep told me his friend was going to be joining us. My heart sunk and the romantic weekend dream bubble I’d created in my head was immediately popped. I told Manjeep I couldn’t join them. I knew myself – I’d be in the corner the whole time, sulking and being difficult. There was no way I could ever enjoy myself after I’d gotten so excited by the idea of a weekend away with Manjeep. One, there was no way I was sharing a room with two snowboarding bros, and two, why was I even going to Whistler? As someone who doesn’t do anything alphine-y, what was the draw?

Then I realized: I was reacting like the old, blind bitch. Set in my ways, with an iron-clad idea of how things are and how they were going to be. I made my mind up. I had to change.

I hope you’re ready for a happy ending. Turns out, despite its endless high-end shops, crowds of sophisticated Europeans and not-so-sophisticated snowbros, there’s a lot to take in, in Whistler. Like the following:

*I spent an afternoon at the Scandinave spa. Despite being the only solo person there (it was mostly couples and bachelorette parties) I reveled in their strict “shhhhh” policy in their steam room, sauna and cedar-scented solariums.

*The Amsterdam Pub – supremely mediocre food catered perfectly to stoners (and Europeans – they have schnitzel.)

*The art on the bridge that leads to the Olympic rings, with the stethoscopes, crows heads and skulls – surprisingly morbid and impressively beautiful. A nice, surprising contrast to the squeaky clean vibe of the village.

And you know that joke: Why are there no cocksuckers in Australia? Because they’re all in Whistler. Fuck that. All the Aussies I met were strapping, had handsome smiles and made excellent eye contact. And were all bouncers.

While my trip wasn’t perfect (I could have stayed longer and I do appreciate privacy when I’m staying in a hotel room with someone I’m intimate with) I would have regretted not going. Thanks to a blind bitch, all it took was opening my eyes and going against what I’m accustomed to, for me to have a good time.

January 10, 2013   1 Comment