Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Icecapades

I think it was a week ago . I know it was a Thursday night. Lynda and I headed to the beautiful downtown urban cityscape to engage in a wintertime ritual . . . ice skating under the shadow of skyscrapers.

The occasion was a Christmas party hosted by Jack Thunder and Cordelia. They are hip urbanites that live in the outskirts of the downtown area, unlike Lynda and I—godless, soulless suburbanites that we are.

So, we got our next door neighbors to babysit the girls and we headed to the ice-skating rink. It wasn't exactly skating in New York City at Rockefeller Center, but it's as close as I've ever been.

Did I mention that I've never ice-skated before? Truth be told, I've never done any skating of any kind (ice- or water-). Since I grew up in the 1970s, I've certainly roller-skated as a child, but I wasn't any good at all. Tifton had it's own roller skating rink (the Roller Drome!) but I was one of the lame-o kids that was only comfortable skating on the carpeted area by the entrance and around the cinder block wall that separated the skate counter/snack area/video games from the concrete oval that was the epicenter of my childhood shame.

So, I couldn't skate well and I truly lived in mortal fear of the Hokey Pokey, that awful event that ended each roller skating party. All of the kids skated out into the center of the rink to "stick their left foot in and shake it all about" to the strains of that haunting song (hum a few bars in your head now). For someone who couldn't balance well and certainly wasn't able to skate away from the wall, heading out into the middle of the rink to purposefully shake on one foot or another was like asking a blind person to pilot the Space Shuttle.

So, anyway, given all of that, it was a courageous thing for me to lace up ice skates and give December ice-skating a try. I actually thought things were going well when I found that I could stand up on the skates inside the skate house and that I could even walk around on them on the carpet (naturally!). But when I actually stepped out onto the ice, it became clear that I wouldn't be going far beyond arm's reach of the wall that night.

I tried to propel myself like I was walking, but that doesn't work for me (or possibly anyone). I was told to push out to the side to move myself forward, but that didn't work because I couldn't get any traction on my right foot and it would simply slip away from me. So, that didn't really work all that well.

Lynda showed surprising skill and was able to skate around unassisted, but I held onto the wall and pulled my way around the rink while Christmas tunes blared from speakers set up outside the rink. Everyone else was pretty good as skating and while they occasionally took pity on me and stopped to say hello, they joined the crowds circling the oval in the clear December air.

I won't/can't complain, because it was a beautiful clear night with a satisfying chill in the air but no snow or rain or anything. The skyscrapers were lit and it felt like Christmas. I'm glad I went and I'm glad Lynda and I could spend time with Jack and Cordelia, Shirtless and EC and Raisinette.

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