Reuters was holding a lunch party today up at the top of one of the mountains that lords over us here at Davos. I was looking forward to being there and seeing the view, shooting video, eating cheese. But I was not looking forward to the ride. I hate heights. But the promise of wine and cheese got me into the funicular railway and up and up and up we went. Just looking at the steep mountainside and the skiiers on it caused my palms to sweat (and promptly freeze). Luckily, I couldn’t see much because the wind was so high. Here’s how high:
When we arrived at the end of a second rail line, they told us — of course, this hardly ever happens, they insist — that they were closing the gondola we were to take next because the wind was too dangerous. Damned thing would swing back and forth on that thin wire. Sweat spreads. They came back and said that though it’s officially closed, they’d run the gondola for the party crew but we’d all have to ride together to have enough weight to keep the thing steady. Palpitations are soon to start. It also becomes clear that we nonskiiers could get stuck at the restaurant even if we got there.
Thank goodness, a banker and his wife went out to look at the gondola and saw it swinging like a monkey on a tree. They decided to bail. Whew. I had cover. I wouldn’t be the only wuss. So I, too decided to bail, as did another participant who had tried to ski but gave up halfway down the slope because he couldn’t even see his feet.
We stood at the funicular station and all the Swiss skiiers got off looking at us like we’re such wimps. “Auf Englisch,” I said to the guide, “we say, ‘I’m chicken.’” As toes froze, the railway finally started and we came back down — God bless gravity. As I said goodbye to my fellow wimps on terra firma, I slipped on the curb and fell. This is why I don’t ski. This is why I don’t like heights: I have enough trouble on size 12s six feet and four inches above the ground. Oh, well.