by Brian Keaney
“What color is your underwear?”
I was not expecting such a question, and especially not one from such a cherubic little voice. While it immediately pulled me back from the day dream I was in, the giggles and the maternal chastisement that immediately followed the question let me know that this child was not making a pass at me.
“Who said I was wearing any,” I called back. The little kid succeeded in shocking me, which I am sure was her intent, and I’m pretty sure my response affected the same result in her. I think we both also got a chuckle from the encounter as well.
Our brief conversation took place as we passed each other yesterday afternoon on a chairlift shuttling skiers between two peaks. I had been thinking earlier in the day, while chatting up some fellow skiers in the gondola, that the lifts are much like Omegle, the web service that connects two strangers for a brief web chat. I only tried Omegle once or twice to see what it was all about after watching the below video, but was much less impressed with the quality of people I found on the other end and did not return.
Maybe it is just because I am so shy, but I find that I almost never have a silent ride up to the summit, even on days like today when I am skiing solo. During one gondola ride today I was explaining how YES worked, where I teach a lesson to some city kids in the morning and have the afternoon free to ski by myself. “That’s very admirable,” my fellow rider told me.
I thought about his comment for the next few runs, and then even on the bus ride back to Boston. I don’t volunteer with YES or any other organization to earn anyone’s admiration, although I do strive to live a life that is admirable. It also made me question whether or not I even want to tell people in the future that I volunteer with the group. Just as I try not to drop the H-bomb, I don’t want people on the lifts to think that I am bragging, and I would be perfectly happy for my left hand to not know what my right hand was doing.
I came to the conclusion that because I think the mission of YES is important enough that it should be spread – especially among those who know what gliding down a mountain on a pair of planks can do for the psyche, and who might be in a position to help – that I’ll continue to tell people if it naturally comes up in conversation. Besides, like on Omegle, chances are I will never see them again, and so the impression that they will walk, erm, ski, away with, is that of the organization, not of me.