WHATS IN A NAME?
As someone with three first names for a name (they say not to trust anyone with two first names and here I am trying to rock ‘Samantha Jayne Hannah’) and then three syllables in my first name alone, I am not exactly a stranger to nicknames. Sam, Sammy, Girl Sam, Sammy Girl, Hannah Montana, Sam Wise, Samuel L Jackson, Samantha Mumba, Baby Jane, Hannah, Shannah and even Sausage Sam (thanks very mum and dad for that one) are just some of the many names that have been used for me over the years.
However this year, while living and working at a Ski Resort in Victoria (Australia) a new nickname was born and that nickname was slightly different to my other names in that it was born from my own stupidity.
That nickname was Josh.
SNOW IN AUSTRALIA (YES! REALLY)
If you are from UK like me then you may be surprised to read that I worked at a snow season in Australia. Like most other people I assumed that Australia was always hot and never cold or windy and I now wonder if they (Australia Tourist Board) put out this vibe on purpose to get us all to visit. For anyone who has been to Australia outside of Summer or even those who have been to Melbourne at any time of year (just one day will be enough to witness the schizophrenic infamous Melbourne weather) will know that it does in fact get cold and you will even need a coat at times! That said, still many are shocked to find that Australia has not one but five major Ski resorts. Even more surprising is Australia actually receives more snow per year than Switzerland. Take that for a fact. I have many more Australian Ski facts than that up my sleeve (May have written the resort staff newsletter for a while).
In case you’re still not convinced and shouting ‘pics or it didn’t happen!’ at your screen, well here’s a pretty picture of Snow on an Australian Mountain.
A WHOLE NEW LIFESTYLE
There are some things that ski seasons are known for, especially in Australia. Exercise, extreme levels of physical fitness, the great outdoors and healthy living.. are not any of them. Here it was much more about shots, club nights, fried food, wine, beers, parties, pre parties, after parties, jugs of beers and fancy dress costumes with a little skiing or riding in between for good measure. I saw some people who instead of ‘Apres’ Ski preferred to indulge in before, after, during and ‘instead of’ ski. Let’s just say it was not the healthiest of environments, although you wouldn’t know that from looking at my instagram where I would post pictures of beautiful snowy scenery or the few times I was on a chairlift.
So as usual, social media was telling a different story and my evenings out barely made it to snapchat let alone facebook and for good reason too. There was even one morning after a particularly colourful night out, where I was so overwhelmed by it all that I ended up phoning a helpline. This then turned out to not be a helpline at all, just a woman who worked in an office and I wasn’t in fact overwhelmed but hungover (I think this may be a short story for another day).
So, I fully embraced the culture, enjoying the odd boozey night or two (or sixty) and this leads me up to a certain night where I had perhaps indulged in one glass of wine too many.
I had been out with a few mates at the main bar on the mountain when they called me over to introduce me to a young man who they had been chatting to. I remember at the time that I was feeling slightly hazy so was trying to concentrate really hard on not appearing like I was drunk. On hearing my name being called, I walked over to them in what I hoped was a straight line.
‘Hey Sam, this is Josh’, Matt had said, indicating to the guy in front of me. Okay I had this, I thought, extending my hand politely for a handshake and then completely forgetting how introductions work and my own name simultaneously.
‘Hi, nice to meet you. My name is Josh’, I say using my most sincere tone and then smiling widely. I’m pretty impressed with myself at how sober I sound. The guy in front of me shakes my hand but gives me a funny look. ‘Sorry what is your name?’ He asked, slightly confused.
‘It’s Josh’. I repeat, confidently. Seemingly still thinking that this was my name. Suddenly my friends burst into laughter beside us. I have no idea why.
‘Your name is Josh?’, actual Josh presses. I pause and smile ‘Yeahh’, half listening mostly just wondering how I’m going to keep standing. I continue speaking to Josh who very kindly endulges me in the conversation but the whole duration my friends continue to absolutely uncontrollably wet themselves laughing in the corner. Now and again I apologise to Josh (the other one, not me) for the embarrasment and downright rudeness of my friends and throw them some dirty looks. ‘What are you laughing at?’, I hiss. They won’t tell me and continue to cry with laughter until eventually Josh leaves and I turn to ask them what was so funny. ‘You said your name was JOSH’, Matt splutters, still laughing. ‘Ohhhhhhhh’, I realise and then remember that yes I had completely forgotten my own name and had used his name as my own instead. Hey at least drunk me was creative!
I DON’T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT MY REPUTATION (EXCEPT I REALLY DO!)
The following week I was in work when one of the managers who works off mountain had come up to the resort for a catch up. We got into a conversation about drinking and I quip that I should stay away from the vino up here as I like it a bit too much. (I’ve since been told on good terms that the altitude gets you drunk quicker so that’s my new excuse and I’m sticking to it). ‘Yeah that doesn’t surprise me at all. What with your reputation!’, the manager had laughed. The blood drains my face and I turn cold. My reputation? Had she heard about the Josh story? She didn’t even work or live on the mountain – so how could she know? I definitely would have to stop drinking altogether if this had gotten out. I mean I introduced myself to someone using their name for Christ’s sake.
I’m stuttering. ‘Ohhhh. Yeah. About that.. so I erm’, I’m grasping for something to say. ‘Yeah I’m pretty bad with names’. Confused, she carries on regardless, ‘Yeah the Scottish! They love a drink don’t they?’. ‘Oh, the reputation of my people? God yeah we are mad for it!’, I say slightly uneasy that I had just thrown the whole of Scotland under the proverbial bus while also feeling extremely relieved that the manager was judging me on my heritage and not on actual very recent events. I’d never been so happy to be stereotyped! ‘Yeah. The Scottish!’, I continue, ‘What are we like eh?’. I shake my head and chuckle to myself. My ‘reputation’ was safe (although I realise this is a mute point now I’ve gone and blogged about it) and better yet my new alter ego ‘Josh’ could live to see another day.