Eugene Buchanan: Finagling powder
April 5, 2016
Holy Tuesday through Thursday storm cycles, Batman. This past week made three in a row when storms have walloped the Yampa Valley in that three-day time frame, dumping 35, 30 and 25 inches, respectively, atop Mount Werner for a March to remember after a February to forget. With another on tap for this Tuesday, El Nino is keeping a schedule as tight as that of any daycare-attending, soccer-playing toddler.
And for us "adults," all that has meant dusting off the powder clauses at work or, for those without them, employing the same sleight of hand used by our favorite caped crusader, only, unlike doing so to fight off the Penguin, we're doing so for powder.
Going all Clark Kent means breaking out some age-old hooky-playing techniques. Like the old leave-the-house-and-drop-the-kids-off-at-school-in-your-work-clothes trick, so your spouse doesn't suspect anything and your kids can't rat you out. But that means still changing somewhere, be it in the parking lot or at work.
If you venture into the office — good because you're seen there; bad because you have to sneak out — it's time for a different sham: the old drape-your-coat-on-the-back-of-your-chair trick, luring unsuspecting passersby into thinking you're simply in the bathroom or getting coffee. You can augment the deception by angling the chair out just so (not tucked in under your desk), leaving your desk lights on and scattering papers about next to a half full cup of coffee. Even Gotham's commissioner would agree that's an alibi as solid as freeze-thaw snowpack.
On the slopes, your only fear of discovery is bumping into your workmate or, worse, your boss, in which case you're all in the same Steamboat.
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Just don't forget to carry on the ruse after your schralping session. This means keeping work clothes at the ready to change back into at the car — entailing standing on the floor mat, sitting on a grocery bag to keep your butt off the wet bumper and quicko-presto stripping down to your boxers to pull on your Kuhls. Sometimes, you might leave your longjohns on, which makes your ensuing office time a tad warm but minimizes public exposure.
Then, you fix your collar and tie your shoes (loose laces are a give-away), and run your hands through your helmet hair to eliminate any telltale coifs off to the side. You check your texts, messages and emails, hoping none were overly time-sensitive, and beeline back to the grind, no one the wiser. It might even call for throwing your hand over your face at an intersection.
The only alternative to the parking lot change is to switch back into your civilians at home, which adds time to your awayness, or to do so at work, inviting the unwanted risk of discovery.
For that, you sneak in the employee-only door and head straight to the john, where you swap ski for street clothes, perhaps even hiding out in the stall. Then, you have to get rid of the evidence, either by stashing your ski clothes bag somewhere inside — maybe that nook by the trashcan — or shuttling it back to your car — where you realize your car-topped skis or board could give you away, but at least it's circumstantial.
Do it right, and about the only way to really get busted is if anyone recognizes the Boar's Head sandwich with the Gondola Joe's wrapper you eat at your desk, or the similarly logo'd latte cup.
And, of course, you ruin every painstaking step you took to cover your tracks by posting a Facebook photo of the ones you left on the mountain.
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