efficiency

love efficiency. I like getting the maximum output from the minimum input. Can you really blame me?

But I’m not always efficient. And life is rarely efficient. In such times, I get… frustrated. Whether or not it’s my fault, inefficiency annoys me.

I get frustrated with my body when I have to feed it seven times a day just to keep upright. I get frustrated with my brain when I have to spend ten minutes solving a two-minute problem because of internal distractions. I get frustrated with everything when I spend all of my strength and like eight minutes and still only manage to swim one lap.

In the latter two of these problems, the issue is that I’m not doing the thing correctly. If I’m constantly wandering off into day-dream-land or being assaulted with my to-do list, of course I will not have the output I want for the time and energy I put into thinking about something. And if I’m swimming with bad form/can’t kick correctly, my lap times in the pool are going to be awful.

Therefore, if you’re trying to walk up a snowy hill with slippery, six-foot-long boards attached to your feet, you should make sure to do so correctly, if you want to be efficient. …Or you could be me, and you could totter up the hill, sweating inside your snowpants and snowjacket, pulling yourself up with the help of your immense (read: basically nonexistent) upper body strength and some pointy sticks, trying desperately not to slip backwards.

Yes, I went skiing for the first time this weekend. Overall, it was fun. There were a lot of hills involved, but I think it was still technically cross-country, as there were zero ski-lifts involved. And I went slow. I’m talking 3km in an hour. For perspective: the recommended time for 3km for a woman my age is 10-12 minutes.

While I went with friends who “taught” me, I can’t help feeling there are important things they left out. If I had done it correctly, I would have expended less unnecessary energy, thus moving both faster and easier. As it was, I was constantly being passed by four-year-olds and their grandmothers. Middle-aged men also passed me and laughed, saying, “You should just pick up your skis and carry them; you’d go faster.” This made me angrier, but my anger did not translate into speed. I just slipped backwards another couple of centimeters and continued my slow shuffle up the slope, wondering how much longer my arms (which I have a hard time convincing to do a single pull-up) could pull my body uphill. Meanwhile I watched the crowds passing me by, trying to understand what they were doing that I wasn’t. My friends, who have been skiing since the first grade, were about as incapable of explaining the theory of walking as I am of explaining how to pronounce the sound “r.” Skiing is instinctual for Ukhtans, which is nice for them although not so helpful for me.

But I did it. I climbed 4 or 5 hills like that, panting, sweating, silently cursing whoever started the rumor that unzipping your jacket will result in instant death and also my friends for believing this rumor.

After climbing each hill, I got to ride down. This was fun, although a little bit terrifying. It felt sort of like I imagine riding a unicycle downhill would feel: I was absolutely out of control. No one could tell me how to stop or turn along the path, so my only options were forward (really fast, still with six-foot-long boards attached to my feet) or backward (falling on my butt). The latter option came in handy when there was a small child pausing directly in my path to take a picture… and by “came in handy,” I mean, “became necessary.” Good thing I was wearing those snowpants.

All in all: skiing is great. I’ll do it again. My arms and legs haven’t felt sore since then, so I guess that means my muscles aren’t useless after all (hear that, Mom?). But in the meantime, I’m watching lots of skiing tutorial videos on YouTube. Because theory is key to correctness, and correctness is key to efficiency, and efficiency is key to Katie’s happiness (and, not being bad at skiing).

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One thought on “efficiency

  1. oh my dear sweet Katie! So sorry but it is true….the person in our family you are most like is Nana, and skiing just proves it! However you should definitely go again…you will improve. Watch out falling on your butt! I got a bruised tailbone doing that!

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