There are 4 very good, scientifically proven reasons why I should not attempt an ice skating excursion.
2. It is exercise. This is something that athletic people do not want you to know. But it’s true. All winter activities—snowboarding, skiing, throwing snowballs, shoveling the sidewalk, rushing the free buffet at your company Christmas party—are good for your cardiovascular health. This is an atrocity. Ice skating is like jogging on steak knives. And they prefer that you don’t drink.
3. Black. This bears repeating. Name a black figure skater. Suriya Bonali. Name another. No, thank you. I rest my case. The state finds in favor of the defendant.
It’s like Dr. T used to be overly fond of saying, “Black people and water don’t mix. If it’s more than I can drink I don’t want anything to do with it.” This goes for water in its frozen state, as well, you tricky athletic minxes. Of course, this was before Dr. T discovered the pleasure of a Carnival cruise. Now the woman can’t get enough of it. She’s always taking baths and such. She bought stock in Poland Spring. She and my dad installed a Jacuzzi in my old bedroom. They’re building a vacation home in Atlantis. I’m trying to tell you: the people are el obsessdo with el agua (I briefly minored in Portuguese).
4. I have bad knees, weak ankles, flat feet and terrible balance. I’m old as shit. I’m essentially dead, actually. I’m like Benjamin Button, except my body was born old and went, “Oh, well I give up.” Movement, blumpkins, is an issue. F’real. I go to physical therapy twice a week. It’s basically me, some injured college basketball player and 25 septuagenarians wearing sweatshirts that say “I know it all I just can’t remember it at the moment” relearning how to walk. Disaster.
I don’t actually mind physical therapy that much. It’s like a vacation for my brain. My physical therapist, Julie—a lovely lesbian who looks stunning in the color green and doesn’t seem to care that I don’t know the difference between a physical therapist and a psychotherapist and has some very astute observations about my intimacy issues—spends 90 minutes each day throwing rubber balls at me and making me stand in the corner, pressing my nose against the wall. It’s kind of like being the nerdy autistic kid in 3rd grade. Again.
Anyway. The will of the universe against me, I made plans to go ice skating on Penn’s Landing with Adam this evening. It was something different to do, a change of pace, a chance to possibly fall and have a 7 year-old glide by and slice my finger off.
As I said to Adam later, I don’t know what convinced us that a fun evening’s adventure would be primarily comprised of an activity neither of us knew how to do nor were prepared for in the least. “Tomorrow let’s go to space on the Hubble Telescope.” “Yeah! And while we’re up there we’ll do long division!”
Appropriate attire was, as usual, the first hurdle for me. Clothing myself is the second most time-consuming and difficult thing in my life at the moment. The first: actually getting out of the house. Not my fault: my internal clock is set to Colored People Time—Pacific (translation: Punctuality is not an option; arrival at any point is the general goal. To quote Dr. King, “I may not get there with you…” ) Too far?
I chose to forgo my peacoat in favor of my white puffy vest because the peacoat is bulky and cumbersome and I, apparently, am Apollo Anton Ohno. Aerodynamics is my primary concern. Because ice skating itself is not a gay enough activity, I chose to match my vest with white Chucks and a white hoodie with a grey and turquoise argyle pattern on the chest. Actually, it’s not turquoise, it’s that Cerulean Hope color that’s so in this year. I think I’m getting myself distracted. The point is I looked the part. And by the part, I mean I was dressed like an extra from a Hallmark Hall of Fame Christmas movie about two gay Canadian substitute teachers who fall in love. Look, in that pivotal scene where Richard stops the band playing at the annual holiday bazaar in the town square and climbs atop the stage in his skates and all to profess his undying and proud love to Arthur, there’s me gliding along in the background.
We arrived at the skate rink just bursting with (Cerulean) hope. This was going to be fun! As I laced up my skates and hobbled outside, I started to realize that I had no idea what the hell I was doing. It seemed completely, unavoidably and tragically likely that I would step on to the ice, immediately fall over and die. I was wearing a stranger’s shoes with blades on the bottom and standing on ice. To quote Dr. (Herbert) King, “What the blue fuck?”
But! Staring at the milky expanse of ice before me I resolved that I would not be victimized by the complete insanity of the proposition I’d agreed to, nor my total lack of skill in this area, nor the four aforementioned reasons why not. I had confidence! I believed in myself! I would use… The Secret!
Now, I don’t know what the hell The Secret is. Not a clue. It resides in an area of my brain with a myriad of other things about which I talk constantly and with great authority and yet don’t have a clue what they are. Also in that area: autism (no idea); firewalls (wtf?); Japanese geography (疣?); adult relationships (you should either dump him or not. I am sure of it); horticulture (that is a geranium); auto mechanics (the carburetor has atrophied); and the U.S. Senate (well, as Rachel Maddow says…).
The Secret. The Secret? Isn’t that the thing where you think happy thoughts? I mean, Peter Pan used The Secret and it got him to Neverland, so I ought not knock it, but honestly. The Secret, to me, seems like a very elaborate way of saying “If you want it, you will get it.” Which is all quite nice and utterly ridiculous. Then again...
Dressed like the Stay-Puffed Marshmallow man, my feet strapped into dainty, teetering instruments of death, I thought to myself, When in Rome… “I AM an ice skater!” I declared. I lifted my foot, stepped forward and sailed across the surface. The Secret? Who knew? No one tells me anything.