Monday, March 09, 2009
Blades of Gory II: The comeuppance
Qi doing the rounds
Amynah was in Nice* for a conference this past weekend, leaving me alone to amuse myself. While normally, in Amynah’s absence, I quickly devolve into an unshaven, pajama-clad, video game-playing mess, this weekend I barely managed to spend time at home.
On Saturday, my friend Qi called me up and asked if I’d like to go skating with her. Qi had only gone skating for the first time in her life the week before, and enjoyed it enough that she wanted to improve, and evidently felt I’d be able to help her.
I must confess a dark secret: I cannot really skate that well. I cannot stop quickly, turn in a controlled fashion, go very fast, or skate backwards. But, I hadn’t fallen at all last time I went out, and so felt reasonably well equipped to help Qi in her quest for skating competence.
When we arrived, we discovered that the normal ice-hockey rink was closed for a hockey game (Go Etoiles Noires!), and so everyone was crammed into the Ludique rink (the etymological resemblance to ludicrous is no accident) with the hormone-addled teenagers flying about to pounding French dance music.
Qi and I gingerly stepped onto the ice, at which point I discovered another problem: my rented skates were as sharp as brie.** They blades were so worn that I had about as much control over my direction as a curling stone, only without the sweepers guiding my way.***
We scooted around the rink for a while, mostly avoiding injury to ourselves and others. Qi gained rapidly in confidence and ability, despite her tendency to suddenly execute rapid pirouettes with little or no provocation, and she did tumble a couple of times (“I see people here, and people there, and a small gap between them. Then I fall down.”)
After an hour, on our twentieth or so circuit, we emerged from the traffic-choke point near the DJ booth. Suddenly, an alarmingly heedless 8-year old on a sugar rush zipped by Qi and I. She started to stumble, I tried to turn to hold her up, but to no avail: my skate caught on a divot in the ice, and we both went down, me badly twisting my knee in the process.
Humiliatingly, I had to be helped off the ice by the security guy. Qi, pitying me, bought me a tea, but soon returned to the ice for a final few spins, while I watched from the sidelines like the fragile old man I have apparently become.
* I am trying to talk Amynah into doing to do a guest-blog post about the city – comment here to convince her to do it!
** Yes, cheese metaphors: I’ve been here too long.
*** Ah, that’s the kind of robust Canadian metaphor I’ve been looking for. Hurry Hard!