Sunday, January 15, 2012

Napa Paul. And oh, did I mention I'm an asshole?

A little over 10 years ago, I met Napa Paul.  I was serving a mission for the LDS (Mormons people.  The Mormons) church (please keep the audible gasps to a minimum) and was teaching his sister-in-law, Becca, one of the coolest people in existence.  She and her husband Jeff (Napa Paul's little brother) were always my favorite people to visit and I looked forward to the lessons with them.  With one little exception.  The days when Napa Paul was there.  For one simple reason.

He was an asshole.

Which, normally wouldn't be a problem.  I can handle assholes.  However, my usual way of dealing with them was no longer applicable.  I was a sister missionary representing the church.  I wore a name tag with my name next to Jesus Christ's.  I was expected to act with quiet dignity.

I spent a lot of time around Napa Paul biting my tongue and smiling through gritted teeth.  He and his family were already members of the church so he understood the importance of what my companion and I were there for.  I couldn't understand why he constantly felt the need to act like a dick.  I still have trouble putting myself in others shoes to try to understand what they're going through.  I've found it's always easier to make snap judgements which include a lot of name calling in my head.  It's easier AND more fun.  
Fast forward to now..ish.  I don't even remember how it happened but Napa Paul and I are now friends.  I'd like to think it's because he's grown up and made a lot of changes (which he has) but realistically, I think it's because I'm a bigger asshole than he is now.

He has family in Salt Lake so when he came out last winter to visit them, he suggested I take him snowboarding while he was here.  That suggestion was followed up with a lot of shit talking about how he was gonna ride circles around me yadda yadda.  Not gonna lie, I was beginning to feel a little apprehensive.  I can hold my own on the blue runs and a few tree runs, well, if the trail is wider than my shoulders, but black diamonds are another story.  I tend to side slip my way down those while praying the trees will stay out of my path.  I avoid them if I can.

I worked as a liftie at one of the ski resorts for a season so I could get the free season pass.  I decided to take him there since I was familiar with the resort and knew which runs led to the treacherous terrain I needed to avoid in order to not look like a total ass.

Little did I know I needn't have worried.  Why?  Because.


It literally took us 30 minutes to get in one run down that 1% incline, ski school infested, lame ass little hill.  I spent the majority of the day on my butt in the snow waiting for Napa Paul to make his way down.  It was about noon when I was freezing, patience nowhere to be found and hungry.  Napa had just made it to the bottom and was coasting on FLAT GROUND when he caught an edge and ate it.  He conked his head.  Hard.  If I hadn't already known him before this fiasco, I would have thought he had incurred some mild brain damage.

I needed a break and seeing as how Napa had probably just concussed himself, so did he.  And by needed a break, I mean I needed a drink.  We ate, I had a couple of beers and felt a little less like punching him in the throat.  He insisted he was fine to keep going so I pointed out the next hill we were going to try.  I warned him the initial hill would look intimidating but it leveled off right after that.

We take the lift up.  He eats shit getting off.  I stifle a groan.  We get to the edge.  He looks down and declares he's not going.  I don't recall at this moment what he said.  Probably something about his concussion.  I vaguely remember staring at him through my goggles for a moment trying to decide if he's serious.  Not going down?  He has to.  What is talking about?  I pull my goggles up and look at him.  He's serious.  He's not going down.

I tell him to take his board off, tell the liftie and I'll meet him at the bottom.  I just paid $70 for this.  My friend has a possible concussion and I'm leaving him for the liftie to deal with so I can get at least one real run in.  Because I'm an asshole.

I get to the bottom and no Napa Paul.  I wait for about 10 minutes then take the lift back up.  What the hell could he possibly be doing?  I get to the top and realize what the hold up is.  The liftie is busy helping out with someone else at the moment.  Some wanker has gone and hurt themselves and ski patrol is bundling them up burrito style to get the poor sap down the mountain.  That sucks but that doesn't explain where Napa has run off to.

Oh.  But wait.  Two.  Plus two.  Equals...

I head over for a closer look.  Are you EFFING KIDDING ME???  Yep.  Napa Paul is getting bundled in for his ride down the mountain.  I took pictures.

Because I'm an asshole.

I really don't even know what to say about this.

I wonder what was going on in his head at this point?

I would have walked down the damn mountain.

Okay, sure it LOOKS like a steep drop off over the dude's shoulder but it really did level off.

Ski Patrol let me know where to meet them and headed off towing Napa behind them.  And I got one more run in.

I went to get the jeep, stripped off my snow gear, threw on my flip flops and went to collect Napa Paul.  Ski Patrol warned me about the possible signs of concussion to watch for and Napa wanted one last picture.

This is what I look like when I smile through gritted teeth.  Ten years later, some things with Napa Paul never change.

My left arm was in perfect position for a throat punch.