Monday, 29th, August.
My new house, ah the joy, the relief of having that simple but oh so important feeling of comfort and belonging. A large house, down stairs with the light streaming in through the french windows we laugh and talk. My new house mates so close like family. But something is wrong in the joy and happiness something lies under the surface and sends a shiver up my spine.
My friends cloths, around the chest become stained with blood, dark blotches seep through and their cloths rip and large gashes from throat to groin becomes visible. Their human bodys like husks, black spirits slowly emerge, half awake. They ozz out of my friends bodys like something squeezed from a tube.
I turn and with both my hands push open the heavy wooden door and run down the garden toward the river and sprinting down to the shore I begin to swim then I dive, the image of those horrors fresh in my mind, I find an underwater tunnel leading to safety, a dark gnarled tunnel lined with twisted notted tree roots, but it’s no use they can read my mind, they know where I am, they know where I am going and they are already coming to get me.
I wake up and sit up slowly, BANG!, I hit my head on the ceiling. No I am not still in a dream and no I havent suddenly grown a very long neck. Our bed is next to the sloped ceiling of our new bedroom.
I have finished snowmaking and night shift and we have moved out of Carleens and Garys BnB. Sarah was at work and I went home after my last night shift. I packed hastily and cleaned our room. Then I went into the livingroom where Gary and Carleen were slicing some freshly made bread ”I know we said we would be moving out in a few days but seeing as there are no guests now I dont see why we cant just move out now” I said to them both. I was quiet nervus about talking to them, They are so up tight and strange I never know what I might have done to piss them off. They agreed and I said I had already packed everything and thanks for having us and sorry we are leaving so soon and see you later. They nodded, Gary didnt even look up from the sandwedge he had just made, he had his face buried in it. ” OK bye then” I said again ” bye bye” Carleen said. They didnt even stand up and I just walked out the door on my own. When I emerged into the day and started our car with all our belongings in it and took off and saw for the last time the house I felt relieved and happy.
Back to hitting my head on our new ceiling, Off with the sheets and on with the day, light, morning and people. Lots and lots of people now, breakfast, buses, birds and all the other lively things which one takes for granted when you work during the day. Not I, for I am newly back from the dark side and the bright is oh so bright and noticable to me again.
I have been a lifty now for about a week. The duty of a lifty is simple, start-up the chair lifts and operate them, slow down the chairs with your arm when customers are about to sit down on them, slow down or completely stop the lifts if and when there is an accident, of which there are many, silly people not knowing what to do and walking into oncoming heavy unforgiving metal chairs swinging round the huge ball wheel.
Oh what I have seen, children dragged screaming under chairs. comical running of customer who think they have avoided one chair, watching with a smile there chair avoided while behind them the other gets ready to knock them even more…then BANG!, whabammy!, they fly off in one direction and the chair now given a swinging life of its own continues on its path now a pendulum, knocking others around, scooping a few up, they scream. Skiis fly everywhere. snowboards in boots twist and knees and feet turn in ways unnatural and unhealthy.
But it’s not all fun and games, in fact for 90% of the time being a lifty is comparable to being a cog in a monotonous conveyer belt. Just helping people on to the chair again and again ad nausium. Other find some relief in bantering with the customers but it isn’t much ” hello how are you?” hows your day?” ”whats the snow like?”, with the noise of the chairs and the 7 or so seconds you get with a customer before they are whisked away conversation can only really survive at the very contrived level of lip service.
The similarities between being a lifty and the wide general movement of life have given up a few comparisons. I find with life there is oftain a long achingly boring period, or if not boring at least uneventful, emotional, mentally, then suddenly something comes along which wakes you up again, the heart beats fast, the adrenaline injects, and the mind is filled with colour. In the same was as a lify will spend perhaps many hours going about the motions of his job, hum drum, this then that then yawn, then yawn again, then whabammy!! whats that?, why is that asian man lying spread eagle on the snow, whos shouting at me, no no why are those idiots still coming through the gate, no watch out for the chair its behinds yo.. too late, now a dash and stop the machine with the big red button and you inspect the damage and pick up the peices.
We had a particularly busy day today, there was a large group of indian people quing up at the parklane lift which was the lift I was in charge of, so far my least favourite lift as it’s the one all the novices skiiers use irst and make their mistakes on. I could see the staff on the other lifts around me becoming angry with the customers as again and again the held up ques and fell over. Dora a strong ugly woman was doing cue control for me and an india man who was clearly completely new to skiis came through the gates and down the ramp toward where the chair would scoop him up. He crossed skiis and fell to the ground, the chair lift grazed his head and I stopped it as he was being crumpled underneath. Dora stormed up to the dazed man ” It you cannot ski properly then you shouldnt be on this lift, get up, get up now” she yelled as she began to forcefully drag the man out from under the chair. I ran up and pushed the chair out of the mans way. He was smiling with a scared wide eyed look on his face. ” I am trying to stand I cannot” he said as he tried to un tangle his skis as Dora and now another member of staff shouted and tugged at him. I smiled at him and extended a hand and helped him up, He was obviously hurt and he limped off. ”get that lift going and dont stop it for any reason” Dora shouted at me. Pieces of food in her braces glistening at me as she did. There began a rather disturbing reign of terror as Dora and another member of staff began shouting at the customers now mainly asian and indian people. ”GO GO GO!, MOVE NOW!!” Dora shouted at the customers as they trotted scared up to the red line and I slowed chairs down for them.
”Fucking Indians” Jono said when it had all died down. I told him that I had seen just as many kiwis falling over on the chair ramp today as indians.
I left work wondering yet again about how acceptable racism is in this and probably every country and I brooded moodily in the noisy crowded bus as we wound our way down the mountain and back home.