So, this past weekend I went with a couple of my friends down to the canal to go skating. It was fun, and brought back memories even as I saw huge changes to what I remember.
We went at night, so there was skating snow everywhere on the ice, and it reminded me fondly of when my parents used to get REALLY angry and concerned for me when I was a child.
See, I had the habit of deciding to sit down and play with the snow. During the busy day-time hours, in the middle of the canal.
I don’t remember this being because I was tired or anything, just that I wanted to try making a snowman or something. Sometimes a snow angel.
Nevermind the blades of horrible child-death that were whooshing around my tiny form.
I was a kid. I was brought there by my parents.
No harm could come to me.
I was invincible. No harm could come from sitting in the middle of this.
The area’s I remember for having booths for hot chocolate and beavertails still had those odd little buildings on the ice, but they now have this even larger building thing for changing into skates and whatnot. They also had a building to rent skates, knee pads and whatever else you may need as a tourist.
When I was little I think I asked just about every year how the buildings managed to stay there when the ice melted.
I had never been there during the not-frozen-over years, and thought that the buildings were maybe stuck to the side of the canal.
Or maybe the canal was frozen over all the time.
Or maybe the buildings had huuuuge basement parts that went down to the bottom of the canal, so that the buildings weren’t floating on the canal, they were sicking out of it.
I don’t think I ever believed my parents when they said that they brought the buildings onto the ice, they didn’t stay there year-round.
Now, of course, I know that they use some sort of Ottawarrian ice magic to put the buildings on the ice as soon as they have forced the ice to be thick enough to support them.
But when I went with my friends, it was about 8:30pm or so, and so significantly less busy.
It was darker than this, but about as busy
Meghan, a native Ottawarrior, I thought she would be closer to my level skating-wize, as she had the opportunity to go skating on the canal every day should she want to. It didn’t matter that she’s from Kanata. Turns out that she’s more of a rusty skater than anything, and I”m fine with that. A lot of my friends are at this stage in Toronto, and so I’m used to skating around them and working with their pace to do huge loops around them to be able to go as quickly as I want, get as much exercise as I want, and still be able to keep up a conversation.
Eleanor, I admit that until this past winter break I thought she would be at the same level as Meghan is actually at. This past winter break she got a job to teach children how to skate. When we went skating, I saw that she doesn’t look as comfortable skating as I thought she would, but she’s good at skating. She definitely doesn’t look as comfortable skating as I do.
I’m going to pause on that here, and mention for the sake of people who don’t know me that I have been playing hockey since I was 5. Lets round that up to 6 though, because I was signed up for playing hockey when I didn’t know how to skate.
Then, up until I was about 10 or 11 I did skating lessons, and Hockey Skills classes where they taught me how to skate better than all the other kids my age group, and do it while having a stick in my hand and doing my best to carry a puck, aim, keep it away from all the boys in the class (I was pretty much the only girl, but that was no difference to the fact that I was on a boys team), and NOT fall down.
I still fell down a lot, but I had Hockey equipment on.
My mom, confidence boosting as she is, has mentioned numerous times that she can’t believe how ‘graceful’ on the ice I am. I’m fine with that. I take it to mean that she can’t believe how awesome on the ice I am.
I’m not being overconfident. I know that there are people out there who are better at skating, who are better at playing hockey than me. Hell, I still have problems raising the puck when playing (shooting the puck so that it lifts off the ice).
But it’s not arrogance to say that I’m a more than decent player, or more than decent at skating.
Meghan can skate. Eleanor is a decent skater.
Melissa, the other friend who was with us when skating, is not a good skater.
She does that shuffle down the ice, looking stiff and uncomfortable as she stares at the toes of her skates and hopes she doesn’t fall down.
I really don’t like skating with her.
I really like her, she’s a great friend, has a great sense of humour, and I feel really bad about thinking this, but I really don’t ever want to go skating with her.
Again, I mean.
I’m a horrible person.
She hasn’t gone skating for like 3 years, and after skating with her for 30 minutes I’m thinking she sucks and I don’t want to skate with her.
I’m thinking that she needs to get a chair to help her skate.
I’m thinking that I really don’t want to ever go skating with her again.
I feel like I wouldn’t have thought these things if she hadn’t been as bad a skater as she was, and made it seem like we should have at least one of us skating right next to her.
I feel like she wasn’t having fun at all either.
I also feel like if I hadn’t been as enthusiastic about skating as I was, she would have felt better about saying that she didn’t want to skate anymore.
What kind of friend thinks this stuff up and then posts it on a blog???
I just needed to mention it to SOMEONE, and I didn’t want to mention it to a friend 😦
I love skating, but I don’t like skating alone if I can help it…
Now the internet can see my guilt, and point its gigantic finger at my shame. I feel a bit better after three days, but still…