I really think the Middle-North European types really are just more athletic than the rest of us…who don’t classify to be the “ubermenschen.” In Switzerland, I had to “hike” in the non-athletic sense of the word, a hill every day just to get to the university. And it seemed to be an effort for me at first while everybody else could probably climb a mountain–backwards with only one hand. I felt that I not was only in a different country but a different world as well.
It is hard to find anything in common with the Norwegians, Germans, Dutch, Swedes, Danes and other Nordic types besides perhaps mutual appreciation of European literature and high culture. Besides that, “they” seem to all enjoy anything physical or mountain related: skiing, sky-diving, para-gliding, snowboarding, mountain climbing, hiking, trekking, skating, sailing, rowing and so on and so forth. Of all those activities–I do love the water but that is about it. I was too short to really join any rowing teams here in Krakow. It was no big surprise that the only two teams were predominantly Polish or Norwegian: both tall, athletic and sturdy high-endurance tolerating peoples.
I’m not extremely short but I am borderline “petite” and what seemed like “hiking” for me was merely a stroll in the hills for the Dutch, Germans, and Poles that made up the writing group I was in last week. A Dutch guy commented on my lack of speed, tactfully preventing himself from calling me a tortoise and himself a hare or something along those lines. The truth was I like to walk more slowly uphill to enjoy the view.
I used to get angry at myself for not being “good enough” or “fast enough” but now, I have adopted a more “zen-like” attitude by just accepting myself and others for however we are and am content with my low-key bi-weekly pilates regimen. I’m not gearing up to compete in the Olympics anytime soon, nor will I find myself throwing myself down any mountains. I have crafted a litany of excuses for not ice-skating and skiing. Respectively they are, “I skate like a drunken duck” and “I don’t want to join Cher’s Sonny.”
For now, I am an out and proud member of the “untermenschen” community or the rest of us who are not flamboyantly and proudly athletic and proud.