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Banbury Cross

a pillow for lost thoughts...

Post details: Slippery When Dry

Slippery When Dry

Last time I wobbled on skates was when my age still sported only one humble digit. That would be several geological eras ago. So I was duly excited when my friend Leona came up with an idea that her little protege, a four year old Austrian girl, needs an exposure to just this kind of buffoonery.

I volunteered my car as a transportation medium, but Leona insisted on taking the original vintage Volswagen Beetle (year 1979), which her host family had shipped here all the way from Austria. It turned out that the ride in this archaic vehicle was quite appropriate for the Journey to the Temple of Ice: its rickety demeanor, the ubiquitous smell of gasoline and awe inspiring acoustic output made us feel like sitting in a Russian truck in which hardy Siberians haul loads of polar fox skins from Novosibirsk to Omsk.

None of us had our skates, so when we arrived at an ice-skating rink in Bethesda, we surrendered our comfortable shoes and rented a pair of metal stilted shoe-like contraptions that would raise many an eyebrow at the security check at the Dulles International Airport. Eagerly I tied my shoelaces, for I remembered that tight grip is half of the success, and on to the ice!

The moment I stepped onto the glistening surface of the frozen oval, the friction had completely disappeared. A hot knife cutting through a chunk of butter would experience more resistance than my skates did. It took me 30 minutes to figure out the laws of rectilinear motion on that thing. At one point, my legs went so far ahead of the rest of my body that I landed flat on my rear end. If there is a medical term for a "butt concussion" it's gonna be on my medical record now. Throughout my life, I was lulled into believing that butt is just an inordinately lazy muscle, but after today I am painfully aware that it does contain a bone.

I think that two hours of ice-skating should be administered as part of the driver's license exam in all states. Only on ice can you hone your reflexes to perfection and at the same time get hands-on experience with handling complex traffic situations in full speed. Sometimes I felt like a hydrogen atom in the core of an overheated star, what with all the kids coming at me backwards and all the teenagers trying to impress their significant other teenagers with cool if foolhardy moves.

But my butt notwithstanding, it was a fun filled afternoon.


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