We were coming to the end of a long descent. The snow had got up inside my long johns from the many slides and I was unduly cold in some spots and overheating in others. But I had recently figured out turning in a much more expedient manner, my legs were tired in the right places, and I felt accomplished. All along the slopes were snowboarders lying on their backs; I spotted them below during each lift ride; it was apparently much harder to get up when attached to one of those. But they looked resigned to it, like turtles who have suffered this joke a few times before.

“I think I ought to have been a professional skier,” I told her.

“You ought to have simply been a professional,” she said.

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