Saturday, May 15, 2010

Candice: What I Have in Common With the 6 Year Old in the Helmet

I'll give you three guesses as to why I feel like me and a 6 year old boy could swap some stories on the ice. No, it's not our mutual love of Chef Boyardee or our shared fascination with dinosaurs.
No, we both fell flat on our asses today and got up laughing. The only difference is he was falling like 1 foot down onto the ice because he was approximately 3 feet tall. I was falling roughly a million feet because I'm actually taller than the entire world. (I have photographic proof, in fact. See below: )

That's me, busy being taller than a refrigerator in my skates. So when the little boy falls down, he giggles and gets up and rockets off for more mayhem. When I fall down, I laugh because it's funny, then get up gingerly and try to pretend my ass isn't shouting "What the fuck?" at me.

Anyway. Before today, I've only fallen once on the ice during several weeks of skating. It was something of a matter of pride, but at the same time, I knew it wasn't a streak that could last. Everybody falls. Olympic skaters, child prodigies, hell, one time I saw a figure skating coach full on eat it. I was trying to make peace with the concept that I'm not going to learn to jump without falling. Still, I was sort of hoping to do that on my own time.

But the universe decided to help me out a bit by abusing my body before I ever even got on the ice. Yesterday I got in a car accident and so maybe I wasn't exactly bringing my A-game to the lesson today. That's right, for those of you who doubted my commitment to sparkle motion, I'll repeat that. I got in a car accident yesterday and still went to skating class.

The car accident was mild, and involved only me and my complete negligence for vehicle maintenance. It was raining yesterday and my tires slipped a little while I left a parking lot, but did I think, "Hey now, Candice. Be careful on sharp turns. Your tires seem to be having an issue" to myself? No, I did not think that, I thought, "Dude, is there anything OTHER than Lady Gaga on the radio?" And as my reward, I skidded across a wet patch of road on the access road of a major highway and hit the median.

Embarrassed, I tried to reverse and drive away only to discover that I had actually REALLY broke it. I broke my car. I couldn't even open the passenger side door. The axle was bent, the tire was popped. I'd officially screwed up big. I spent the next hour sitting in my car in the rain, calling people on the phone, while people drove past me, and a sweet co-worker of mine and a cop waited for the tow truck. It was my first real accident, the first time ever that I'd rendered a car un-driveable.

Did I cry? No. Not even when I realized that the insurance my mother pays for me is liability only. Meaning that it is all on me to get this car fixed. Meaning that a planned trip to Montreal is off. Meaning that "No thank you," is going to have to start coming out of my mouth more and more. As in:

"More wine, madame?"
"No. Thank you."

"Would you like to try this on, miss?"
"No. But thank you."

"Would you like to super size this for .75 cents today?"
"Let me check. ::opens wallet:: No, thank you."

Did I cry? No. Did I want to. Yes. Luckily, my family has passed down a long and storied tradition of coping with life's little curve balls: drinking. Wine was poured for me by 6:30pm, and remained steadily available until midnight. I tried to stretch out the tension and soreness in my back and neck, but even laying down I knew there was no real way to fight it.

But skating class was pre-paid, non-refundable, and cannot be rescheduled. I got up this morning, put on my leg warmers, and went to class. My back was stiff, and I had to take two Aleve before even walking out the door, but I went. I think I fell within the first five minutes of class, first executing that classic sort of Scooby-Doo-running-in-place move before ending up ass first on the ice. Undeterred I brushed off the ice, and set about trying to master swizzles, backwards swizzles, half swizzles, one footed glides (...sort of) slalom, backward slalom (...not really). Crossovers were discussed but by no means attempted. And then, magic words came from our instructors lips: "Let's do a spin."

I am mesmerized by spins. I'll soon be writing up my experience seeing Stars on Ice where I will explain why some traditional, well-beloved figure skating moves leave me snoring with boredom, but good lord, do I love spins. The only cruel thing was the instructor had us try it at the very end of class with barely a minute to really attempt it.

So what did I do? Did I say, "Well Candice, you've done enough. You were in an accident yesterday, and there'll always be more ice time later." No. I immediately paid the fee for to keep skating so I could practice my very first spin. I got up to two full rotations (listen, you gotta learn to walk before you can blur) and bam, down a go a second time, smack dab on the same ass cheek as before. No matter, though! No mind! I was attempting spins. I was spinning! I was getting a step closer to actual figure skating. This was big. This was fun.

Still, I thought, let's take a break, eh? Let's practice some simple skating and try not fall again. We're skating, we're skating, we're inexplicably digging a toe pick into the ice and executing the patented slapstick comedy belly flop and slide forward with arms out and legs splayed. Your dignity, Candice, it's flying out the door!

Kate got me back up, we laughed to show it was all good. I brushed the ice off for a third time, and spent a minute or two doing some simple skating to show the 10-year-olds and bored, teenage ice referees that I was fully capable of walking it off like a champ. I don't think I fooled anyone, least of all myself. By that point, my knees were developing bruises and my shoulders started to refuse to unclench.

Getting lunch helped. Taking a nap helped. Writing this blog about failing, spectacularly, to drive or skate or make it through a simple weekend without acquiring a few dings, but pushing on through helped. And by help, I mean it helped me to not care about the bruises or the ache. I need absolutely no help at all in wanting to keep at this. In fact, I ended up at the ice rink the very next day, practicing my one little spin, my stops, and my slaloms. And wouldn't you know, I didn't fall once?

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