Thursday, January 08, 2009

Ice Skating and Ankle Wounds in Stockholm

It’s been cold. I might have mentioned that when I was standing outside in -10 degree Celsius trying to jump my car. And I complained about the cold. But, I quite like it. This is what winter is supposed to be like. Especially in Sweden.

Last winter was pretty warm. Rainy. Lame really. This winter is different. Cold and snowy. And because of that I was able to do something I haven’t been able to do since I was a little kid at Allen Park. I went ice skating. Outside. On a natural body of water. Well a frozen natural body of water. And it was glorious. Cold. Snowy. Choppy. But glorious.

I actually left my ice skates back in the US. I wasn’t expecting too many ice skating opportunities. Luckily, my cousin had an extra pair. Unfortunately, my cousin is a girl. Not unfortunately because she’s a girl, but because she has girl feet. And I borrowed her skates.

As a general rule, I have a hell of a time getting ice skates tied properly. It’s probably the most exhausting part of hockey. Or just regular ice skating. It kills me. I manage to work up a nice sweaty lather before I’ve even make my way onto the ice. I have resorted to having other people tie them for me. My brother does good work for example. So this was going to be no small feat (see what I did there?).

I managed to squeeze my size 13 (that’s a solid 47 for all the Europeans out there) feet into the skates. I even managed to get them laced up. Kind of. Because of my foot being smushed into the skates I had to make a choice. Trade-offs. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Sacrifices. All that good stuff. I sacrificed my ankles. I let the skates hang loosely. I could stand and skate in them that way. That’s what I had come to do. Had I tied them properly I don’t think I could have gone 10 meters without feet that might remind you of a small rural Asian girl whose feet had been broken and bound.

I knew my ankles were going to be angry with me. A few trips around the lake though and my feet were suffering, not only were my toes feeling claustrophobic, but the skates had begun to rub against my ankles. I fought through the pain. Which was stupid. Because now my jeans are sticking to a bloody wound days after the incident. The sad thing is that I already have scars on my ankles from a similar incident. Albert Einstein is often quoted as having defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I’d like to defend myself by saying I did not expect different results. Hence, not insane. I’m just stupid. But it was worth it.

So go outside this weekend. Before it warms up. Go ice skating, but bring your own skates. It’s beautiful. Hard to beat skating around with a bunch of Swedes in the freezing weather as the sun skims, and finally dips below, the horizon giving off that eerie, yet gorgeous, winter sunset hue. Unfortunately I forgot my camera. So instead of a picture of a lovely Swedish sunset, you get a picture of my nasty ankle.

Welcome to Sweden. Where ankle flesh wounds are just part of the territory.

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