Expectations are tricky things. I try to avoid them as unmet expectations too often lead to disappointment, and because you know, the best laid plans of mice and men…
But sometimes it’s impossible not to have them. Over the past few years, I’ve taken a snowboarding trip with family and friends. Everyone kind of has their own role, things generally flow in the same direction, and it becomes this simple kind of fun. We snowboard hard all day, drink beer and whiskey, play cards and dice, try not to pass out before 8:30 because it makes us feel too old, just to wake up and do it all over again. This year, we had a totally different group, wildly changing the dynamic.
Murphy’s law states: Anything that can go wrong — will go wrong.
Oh, and it did. And I don’t care for you, Murphy, or your Law.
It all started with the infamous “do you want the good news or bad news?” question, as my friends Alyssa and Keller met up with us at the Denver airport. I’ve never really understood that question. The good news is either a buffer or a band-aid for the bad news. There is no actual good news.
The bad news: our pipes had burst in our original snow bunny getaway. The “good news”: they found us a great place 20 miles away. This great place was shy of one hot tub, anything remotely usable to open a bottle, four sleeping spots (which is why you bring your own bed), 20 miles to our destination, adequate amounts of toilet paper and soap, cleanliness in general, and any cabiny character at all (think Asian inspired early 90s), but it had a Hello Kitty toaster and a one cup coffee pot, so we made it work. (We had also unknowingly chosen the second busiest weekend in the Breckenridge area and would be homeless if we didn’t.) Then Jeremy realized he left his debit card/only form of money at the airport bar. Then Josh got stuck in the driveway and backed the Suburban into a snow bank, leaving quite a mark (huge dent). Shortly after, the hot water stopped working. Then all of the water stopped working. Then toilets got clogged. Then Keller injured himself doing wild tricks on a flat traverse.
And then at some point it became pretty clear our little group was composed of extremely different goals for the long weekend, the painted pictures in our individual minds exhibited in separate galleries of conflicting styles. My colorful little gallery eventually included an unexpected snapshot of feral cat trapped in a corner. And I was that cat. Fill in the blanks however you so choose. Things got weird, then intense, then weird again.
But the snow was amazing, we had a roof over our heads, and top-notch chefs in the kitchen. And at some point you just stop caring when something else goes wrong, laugh about your shitty situation, and wonder how much worse it can get. And even if it’s too late, sometimes it helps to at least walk by everyone else’s Expectation Gallery of the Mind, actively engage in a little window peeping, even if you are not interested in buying anything inside. Because it’s hard to let go of expectations and it can be even harder to adjust in the middle of Murphy’s Law. So I took a late stroll down Expectation Lane, peered into those windows as I passed by, off to my own gallery, and found a little piece of understanding.