Several years ago, a friend who was getting married for the second time happened to have a fascination with Barbie. Maybe it was a hobby or a whimsy or a fetish, whatever you call it when an adult collects Barbie stuff. You know Barbie. Everyone knows Barbie, the doll that has been around since 1959, Mattell’s weird ideal of the perfect girl/woman that no living female could ever achieve.
Apropos of nothing, I recently got an earworm, that piece of music that continuously, uncontrollably runs through your mind. I can’t even remember when I last heard this particular song. Yet — all day, for several days — I’ve had the Backstreet Boys singing “As Long As You Love Me” in my head on repeat. Annoying, right? But worse than that, without their cute faces and stylish dance moves, the lyrics of the chorus strike me as quite problematic, if not ridiculous, in almost every context.
Whenever I find myself on top of a mountain in winter, especially when it’s snowing, I feel a rush of emotions. Above all, I am always amazed that I am there, that I ever took up the sport to begin with and then stuck with it despite a discouraging beginning. Equally important, I am grateful that I can physically do it and can afford it, as it takes stamina, some level of skill, and a decent chunk of money. I’ve experienced this same introspective moment every year for 30 years straight and I’ve experienced it all over the globe.