Sunday, February 27, 2005

Slip and Fall

Drove by the skating rink yesterday. A shudder coursed through your humble driver's frame.

Twenty years ago, the rink was less elegant. No wrought iron fence, or postmodern sculpture, or ornate clubhouse. Fewer encircling trees and shrubs. Then, it was just a small, shallow, frozen pond with temporary, wooden walls marking out the bounds and a booth renting skates and selling hot chocolate. Remember it well.

Let's go skating! It was the future other Householder speaking. "Okay." But, really, it was not okay. What is it about a woman and love that makes a man do things he knows are not okay -- like hours of browsing at a craft fair or suffering a make-over as if he were a hollow, smiling mannequin. Oh, yes, your humble Contributor had succumbed to such prior feminine suggestions. And, when he stepped back on to tractile earth, he could be heard uttering prayers of thanksgiving. Ah, blessed bruises and mere sprains. Then, they could say of him, "He has broken none of his bones."

Here's the concept: take a slick, treacherous surface formed of water in it's solid state; affix to a blue plastic boot a steel edge, sharpened to enhance the treachery; step onto the slick surface with an eye to propelling one's body toward frigid collision.

Come on. It'll be fun. Dead of winter. The hand of the thermometric dial trying to decide between seven and eight degrees Fahrenheit. The probability -- nay, the certainty -- of some injury. "Okay."

Twenty minutes on the ice. Getting the hang of it how. Then, let go of the sides. Alright, letting go now. Twenty more minutes. Going, more or less, with the ovalesque flow -- skidding, stumbling, swaying -- like a degenerate Dorothy Hamill cast in a Samuel Beckett play. Ten more minutes. Gaining some confidence. Might try just a single axle. What! Hey, you! I'll catch you -- watch me fly. Wait! One blade's teeth are biting down hard and the other is gliding onward and the torso is twisting like a tort.

Here's the biomechanical problem: how much stress can the lowly distal fibula take before fracturing? No instruments on hand to measure the pounds per square inch with any precision: noted only a sound like a snapping breadstick, then the icy embrace of the face.

A rink guard comes to a frosty, sudden stop, and looks down upon the writhing, glacial victim. C'mon buddy. You're alright. Don't look like a wimp in front of your girlfriend. "Okay."

A hand up; a tentative shifting of weight; a paroxysm; a grasping of the swollen joint; a brief pirouette; a second, more graceful decline. Next thing, the boot's off; a large bag of ice is applied; a chill wind evokes a profound shiver. "Let's go skating. [Brrrr!] It'll be fun." Involuntary shaking and laughter from the future other Householder. A length of excruciated hops, skips, and jumps; a plaster of Paris; a bottle of controlled substances; a few extra pillows for the encased, distal appendage; a dazed affect with small amounts of drool about the corners of the mouth. "I feel funny. My ankle hurts." Just rest. "Okay."

Felt just a twinge dancing a waltz at the wedding.


Blogger Gone Away said...

Ah, the impetuosity of youth.

2/27/2005 10:12:00 PM  
Blogger Ned said...

When will we ever learn? Ice is dangerous. There are those select few goat-footed ones whose steps are always sure. The world needs more hand-railings for those of us who are more susceptible to the effects of gravity.

2/28/2005 05:41:00 AM  
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