I went for my first skate since March last night, and it was glorious.
There’s a rink about a five minute walk from our apartment. It reopened for the season just this week, and after six months of no ice, this Nut was not about to miss the first opportunity to lace on her skates and get gliding. I suppose I could have spent those six months going to one of the rinks across town that’s open year-round, but I like that I can just stroll over to this one. No traffic stress. No frantic search for parking. Just a nice walk through the neighborhood and a familiar face to greet me with a smile and scan my pass when I get there.
I love the sessions early in the season before skating parties and dates on the ice get into full swing. I love having room to really move. There were only a handful of us out there, maybe ten in total, making our way around the rink with varying levels of ease.
I started out a bit wobbly. My skates were newly sharpened, but I forgot that the ice in October kind of sucks and you just don’t get the same bite with your edges that you do later in the year when overall temperatures are lower and they don’t have to try so hard to keep the surface frozen.
Once I compensated for the lack of give in the ice, though, I was zipping around the rink like I had never missed a day. I did a few simple tricks to get them out of my system and then I settled back into a long, relaxed stride.
And I began people-watching.
Let’s face it, skating’s fun, but if you’re alone there’s not a lot to keep you engaged during a public session when you have to spend most of your time going in circles. So when I’m not actively seeking out a clear space to safely try out a jump or a spin, I spend my time silently judging others.
There were the requisite clumsy dudes in rented hockey skates who spent most of the session tripping, practicing footwork and stops and generally chewing up the ice. This isn’t so bad when there’s only a couple of them, but they multiply as the season progresses and by early December they can turn the surface into a giant snow cone in about five minutes. I am not overly fond of the amateur hockey dudes.
There were also a handful of guys who actually knew what they were doing, a girl who was a bit unsteady but still holding her own, another girl in a helmet and drab beige rental skates (why are rental skates for women always so hideous?) who hugged the boards like she was clinging to the side of a sinking ship, and then there was The Couple.
The Couple ventured out onto the ice a few minutes after I did. The Girl went first and began tracing a cautious path around the rink. The Guy stepped out onto the glassy surface, skated two or three steps, and then stopped, leaning on the boards. The Girl finished her tour of the ice, met up with The Guy, and leaned against the boards with him.
And then they just stayed there.
For forty-five minutes.
Now, I have an annual pass giving me access to about a gajillion participating fitness centers, pools, and ice rinks, so it’s no skin off my back if I go to the rink and just chill (pun definitely intended) because technically I’m paying to be there anyway even when I’m not there.
But The Couple were not pass holders. They paid almost twenty dollars in admission and skate rental fees for the sole purpose of stepping out on that ice, and then JUST STOOD IN ONE PLACE TALKING.
You’ll forgive me if I’m a bit confused.
I guess that’s nothing new. I often don’t understand the logic of others. Like I don’t get why some people in our neighborhood will go to the trouble of picking up and bagging their dog’s crap only to set the packaged poop back down on the sidewalk and leave it there. Or why some drivers will tailgate you like crazy in heavy traffic when it’s blindingly obvious you can’t go any faster. Or why anyone would willingly buy tickets to a Kanye West concert.
And I especially didn’t understand, as I joyfully flew over the ice, savoring the feeling of the wind in my hair, why anyone would pay admission to go skating and then not actually bother to, y’know, skate.
Do people do this other places too? Are there people who buy ski lift tickets and then just hang out at the bottom of the mountain? Pay for entry to theme parks and then sit by the admission gates all day instead of going on the rides? Book a hotel room and then spend the night in the lobby?
What the hell, humans? Where is the sense?
I hope that conversation was worth the 20 bucks.