By Erin Knightley
Ah, photographs. Isn’t it amazing how easy it is to capture a moment in time? For years and years we can look back at our happy, smiling faces and remember what an amazing time we were having.
After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, right? Although…no one ever said those words weren’t bald faced lies. Allow me to demonstrate.
The week after Christmas, my hubby and I went to Colorado with my mom and dad to enjoy our first taste of the Rockies. Along the way, we snapped tons of photos. Let us see what the photo *seemed* to be saying, and what was actually happening.
Exhibit One: Dogsledding.
See the big smiles? The goofy grins? The adorable dogs?
Yeah…look closer and you might just see the icicles hanging from my nose, lol. It was freezing! And I don’t mean ‘throw another log on the fire’ freezing. Oh no – I mean ‘start looking for a dead tauntaun and a light-saber’ cold. Not only am I periodically doing checks of my nose and cheeks to make sure they are indeed still there, but I’m avoiding all liquids despite the altitude due to the fact I’m wearing 17 layers of clothes and the only ‘conveniences’ is a frozen solid block of port-o-pots where I am afraid of recreating the famous scene from A Christmas Story, only substituting my hiney instead of Flick’s tongue and a toilet seat in place of the flagpole.
Exhibit Two: Snowmobiling
What could be more delightful than snowmobiling across the continental divide? When the concierge set this up, she assured me, my hubby, and my soon to be 65 year old dad that we would have a looovely tour. And just look at these pictures! Majestic mountains, gorgeous blue skies, powdery snow—what more can you ask for?
Oh dear lord—thank heavens for these pictures, because those precious few moments were the only time in the entire 2 hour tour that I wasn’t hanging on for dear life as the guide held the pace at 50 miles per hour (literally), tearing through the mountainous terrain like a bat out of you know where, all the while hollering warnings over his shoulder to ‘turn with your bodies!’ so not to flip the death, I mean snow mobile over on the hairpin turns. The only thing I saw on this trip (besides my life flashing before my eyes) was my hubby’s back and the green and white blur of the forest zooming by in the periphery. Scenes from “What About Bob” can’t help but come to mind as I scream across the tundra, holding on for dear life and yelling “I’m on vacation!” into the howling wind.
By the time we were done, I felt like I had been tossed in a bouncy castle with 40 five year olds hopped up on Kool-Aid and birthday cake. Toss in the fun factor of certain death if we miss-steered and the lovely, ever-present exhaust fumes and you have a day that was MADE of win.
Yes, that was sarcasm. Oddly enough, my hubby had the time of his life on this excursion, laughing as my dad and I clung to each other and wept with relief when it was over. Oh, and side-note—I’m totally using that picture in our next Christmas card to brag about the fab vacation we had ;)
Exhibit Three: Skiing
Ah, the idyllic pastime of the wealthy. So chic, so fabulous, so ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.’ Notice the gorgeous weather and picturesque, snow-covered slopes behind us. Surely hot chocolate and cavier are waiting for us beside the cheery fire in the lodge, no?
NO. God no. I think ski boots were originally invented by the military as a torture device designed to mimic the yoga chair pose for hours on end, leaving one to wonder if, in fact, muscles actually can turn to jelly. Or molton lava.
Then someone said ‘Hey! Let’s strap a pair of waxed sticks to these babies and throw ourselves down the side of a mountain!’ Then someone else said, “Why don’t we have a thousand other people on the slopes with us, so we can add in evasive maneuvers and on-the-fly physics calculations to spice up the day?” And then someone else said, “But wait! Lets put mortally wounded people on stretchers and have them be continually taken down the mountain, so everyone can see exactly how death-defying their recreation of choice is!”
Yay! Thanks guys – you know how to make for an awesome day of near-death experiences. And here’s the real trick: Someone figured out how to get you to drop hundreds of dollars on rental equipment and lift tickets, and still manage to get you to pay $15 on two hotdogs.
So there you have it—pictures may very well be worth a thousand words, but in my experience, those words are all LIES. But you know what? I find I'm okay with that, lol. Because when I'm old and grey, I want to be able to look back on these serene pictures and reminisce about what a lovely trip we had to Colorado that one year, shaking my head as I wonder why it was I never went back.
Now tell me, do you have lying pictures from your vacations too? Or have you ever done something you were stoked about, only to have it turn out to be waaaay different than you imagine?
(I feel I should point out that I really did have a wonderful time, especially since I was able to spend such quality time with my parents. But me and Colorado? We’ve met, shaken hands, and parted ways. That goes for extreme sports, too! ;) )