As she stands in the lift line in the Sierra Nevadas on the best ski day of the season, Delora can´t help but feel dissatisfied that she hasn´t learned the secret to Spanish tranquility. She sees the baby blue sky and the packed power and knows that she should feel joy at the prospect of skiing this magnificent mountain 11,400 feet above sea level. Instead, Delora wants to know the answer to a secret. She want to know how the Spanish remain so carefree, joyful even, while being jostled in a crowd. She wants to unleash her inner zen so that when someone blows smoke in her face in the "line", she will accept the Buddhist mantra that we are all one. Instead, Delora looks at the inefficiencies of thousands of skiers in a funnel formation pushing each other towards a small entrance to the chair lift. Delora notes that if she managed the world, she would install a system of alleys that would force people to queue into a line. But this is only in Delora´s perfect world. Inspira, expira, she says to herself as she practices breathing exercises and her Spanish all at the same time.
The breathing doesn´t help and Delora feels her inner hostilities being released when the man behind her puts both of his skis on top of hers and pushes her forward. She recalls reading in the book, Spain is Different, that Spaniards have a different sense of personal space than Americans do. She reminds herself to embace this cultural difference! Delora should be a gracious and kind Ambassadoress for Americans everywhere. She should not be an ugly American. But Delora is from New Jersey, where people are killed for lesser offenses than riding on the back of someone's skis. Delora turns to give a warning glare to the offender, but as she turns, she sees her husband and children watching her closely, so she decides to take one for the team. After all, she is testing out rental skis. Who cares if there´s a 200 pound man on-board scratching them up?
Can you see the smoke in this picture???
She puts up with this annoyance for several more
Later, Delora has an introspective session with herself where she admits that she is unable to let the little things go. She has recently read an article that says that this very quality is the secret to happiness. She wonders whether her failures are due to her birth order, some German DNA, or what. Then Delora admits to herself that she is happy in other ways. She regrets that she is not always a great spirit guide to her children and that she cannot always be a gracious Ambassadoress for America. She is not naturally tranquil -- at all. She hopes that another few months in Spain will help, or at the very least, that she can summon a tranquility super power.