The Press has reluctantly given Cecile Meier leave to visit France and get married. In her absence, some of the people mentioned in her column get a right of reply. Today it's her fiance's turn.
I've been villainised in this column for almost a year. I've become known as the guy who got Cecile lost in the mountains, who made her ride narrow trails on the Port Hills by saying they were easy, and who asked her to bring him a beer while she was sworn off alcohol for a month.
Now I have a chance to clear my name and dish some dirt in return. I could tell you about the "Pensky Incident", what she does with her slippers in the morning, or what she thought a shed was. But I'm not going to.
Mostly that's because of how big-hearted I am. But also because it's not long until the wedding and she'll read this beforehand.
It's not that Cecile makes stuff up, it's just that she doesn't understand what some words mean in Kiwi - mostly outdoors-related words.
Whenever we go tramping, Cecile insists I find "easy" tracks. The problem is that "easy" and "sweeping vistas with alpine streams" don't always go together and I really like alpine streams. I don't ignore her request, I just tend to interpret "easy" in the way I was taught by various Barry Crump books. Easy was anything that didn't kill you.
Next thing we're slogging up some easy "track" using tree roots for handholds and somehow I'm the bad guy. They don't have Barry Crump in France.
Cecile got very upset once because we were lost. This was a challenge for me because I didn't think we were lost at all. To me, you really need to be tired, cold, hungry, out of food, with no tent or sleeping bag, and not know where you are to be "lost". That wasn't us - we just happened not to be on the track, which meant being creative in our route choices. This explanation fell on deaf ears - Cecile was confident we were going to die. Thankfully, that was when I worked out where the track was.
It's not all a one-way street though - I'm learning too. Example: how to react to being cold. I grew up thinking cold was just one of those things you got sometimes. You put on a jacket maybe and if that didn't help you popped a couple of harden-up pills and got over it. Cecile doesn't share this view.
Her attitude to being cold is a bit like my attitude to totalitarian regimes. Something must be done! The world must act!
On this, I'm coming around. Stoic endurance of cold when there's no option is hardcore, worthy of bragging. Stoic endurance of cold when there are perfectly viable alternatives though, that's misguided. I still swim in mountain tarns, but I wear all the hats and down jackets afterwards.
We've warped each other I guess. Seems like a good foundation for marriage.
In closing: I wasn't lost and the trail was easy. On the beer charge, I plead not guilty on grounds of insanity through thirst.
- The Press