Monday, January 19, 2009

i didn't break a pole, but thanks for asking

Each of the last 3 times I've cross country skied at Hiawatha golf course, I've been asked the same 2 questions;

"Did you break a pole?" and "So... what's wrong with your arm?" (I love the way Minnesotans start random questions or statements with "so". It's our favorite segue.)

The 'did you break a pole' inquiry has been asked of me while skiing by another skier. It plays out like this;

Guy: Dude, did you break a pole?
Me: No, I got a bad hand so I use one pole.
Guy: Oh, sorry man.
Me: No problem Have a good ski!

The three guys who have asked looked like they genuinely felt bad about asking if I broke a pole. I'm not sure why, I think that's a perfectly logical question to ask. I'd make the same assumption if I saw a 2-armed man using one ski pole.

The second question I get plays out in the parking lot when I'm putting my skis in the car. Each time it's been asked by a guy I passed, so they had ample time to watch my left arm flop around.

Guy: So, what's wrong with your hand/arm?
Me: I've got this rare motor neuron thing that makes my arm weak, so I just use one pole.
Guy: Man, that sucks. Sorry.
Me: It's not that bad, but going uphill is kinda hard.
Guy: Will it get better eventually?
Me: Nope.
Guy: Man, that sucks. Sorry.

Oddly enough, in two years not a single triathlete or runner has asked what's up with my arm. In the span of a week, six skiers inquired about it.

Maybe it has something to do with runners or triathletes generally being in a pack & skiers being spaced out single file. Maybe skiers are looking around & enjoying the scenery while runners are busy checking heart rate monitors and triathletes are staring at cadence or wattage meters.

However, my guess is that skiers stand out against the snow and are easy to see. Runners aren't looking at people's arms, they are looking for a port-a-potty. And triathletes are ogling each others bikes the way most guys ogle boobs.

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