I wrote this about 5 years ago and had recently forgotten about it until reading this forum. I know its loong, you don't have to read it, but i feel like sharing now. TL;DR Happiness.
At three PM his ambition had died for the day. As soon as the sun ducked early behind the western ridge, he knew the day was coming to a close, and the soft white was soon to ice over, endangering his tired legs. He was one of the last survivors of the day. Headphones and eye protection made him undoubtedly anonymous among the thousands, or so he thinks, meanwhile preserving his identity as one among the masses. "If I do not show my face, and do not talk, nobody will remember me tomorrow. And if I leave no trace of todays existence, I have no responsibility tomorrow," he thought. "I'll ignore all, and all shall ignore me."
But now, the masses had resorted back to their gaper habitat and he was alone. On the chairlift. Nowhere short of paradise. With nobody left to ignore. What was happening outside the mind was finally quiet enough to pinpoint focus on the natural setting. He removes his headphones, and pulls the goggles from his eyes. It has been so bright all day that the suns existence prompted the use of goggles at all times. It has been so busy all day that the incestecent yammering prompted the use of headphones at all times. It is a nice relief to let the brisk cold meet his face and let the silence meet his ears.
"Im exhausted, yet I'm alive, and I just spent the day doing what I love," the man said to himself. "I must be blessed."
He sat on the chairlift. Accompanied by his goggles on his forehead, and his headphones around his neck, but otherwise alone. And a smile came to his face. Minutes passed. And he was happy.
At three O' four PM a skiers skis slap a landing beneath the man on the chairlift. The mans smile quickly turns to a grimace, as he hears the pain of a fellow man. "Poor dude" he thinks to himself, he's probably regretting that decision.
A few moments later he is lost in thought. "The bandanas, the goggles, the tricks, the magazines, the videos, the contests... why? What good does this do our world? To clear-cut trees, and drive snow cats all over the otherwise pristine mountains. Tolerate the bitter cold. Hurt ourselves. To work hard, and produce nothing but tracks. Why? "
The other skiers skis slap the next landing, and provoke even more thought.
"Beyond the 'why ride,' why devote my life to such a thing. And do so in a manner where I feel like I should hide my face, dress a certain way, and reside in my head phones all day ignoring people?"
His thought was soon broken by guy in a one-piece suit, soaring through the air. Distinctly shouting an obscenity, scared, and out of control. Slap. Scrape. Scrape. More obsinity, and the one piece skis away fine. The man on the chairlift smiled again. "What a jackass," he muttered. "And this time I mean it, that guy really was a jackass." And he sat alone and he smiled. And oddly enough some ambition returned to him.
At three oh six PM he put on his goggles. He put on his headphones. He smiled. He hit on the hot lifty, smiled some more, and rode away from the chairlift. At the top of the park his heart starts to race. His eyes focus. His pupils dilated and his vision narrows. At this point in the day there is minimal effort required for speed, and that is good, because in the moment he is capable of minimal effort only. Approaching the first feature his jaw clenched. Accelerating. Accelerating. With the acceleration, adrenaline. Adrenaline. Fear.
Then confidence. With only a split second left before the lip, nothing but focus, and he damn well better have confidence. Riding up the incline, he knows what to do. Muscle memory knows what to do. Years of experience, dedication, and persistence all know what to do. So then the second split of the split second passes, and he is doing it. Indescribable really. Its just the right thing to do. The confidence is still there, but everything else has gone away. At this point its all irrelevant anyways; its now the waiting game. He's upside down. Higher off the ground than most ever experience. Alone. Happy. And he can relax. Just waiting until the earth comes back up to him. The relaxation lasts for the longest seconds of his life, and the snow returns under his feet. And the best part: seconds later he gets to do it again. Then again. Then again and again and again. Each with its own variation. But equally as fun. And the smile doesnt fade from his face. But he knows his legs are done for the day.
At three twenty PM he takes off his boots. He sits by the fireplace and smiles. He is alone, and his goggles and headphones are perched together on the coffee table adjacent to the fireplace. He looks at his goggles, which bare the reflection of his smile. Mused by his reflection he smiles wider. He points at his goggles and says, "You. You are why I do it. Look how happy you are. And why? Because you just had fun. For hours. You just enjoyed yourself for hours on end, and even though you are exhausted you still have the energy to smile vigorously. And did anyone else today acknowledge your existence? Or your smile? Nope, they did not. And that's okay because today was not for them. Today was for you."
Even more amused by the fact that he was talking to himself in the reflection of his goggles, the man sat by his fireplace. Alone. And he laughed. Minutes passed. And he farted. And he smiled again until he smelt it.