Monday, January 30, 2006
Skating Around the City
Last month Linda and I went ice skating on a 3 km frozen lake just outside the city in Hellasgården. I haven't been skating since I was a kid. I was bad at it then and I haven't gotten much better since. I didn't want to go, but figured when in Sweden do as the Swedes.
The surface of the lake was was rough in parts, like the tiny lake waves had frozen in place. Skating was difficult at best in my new hockey skates... although Linda managed quite well in her figure skates. I was scared of falling through the ice. When I told Linda this she laughed and pointed to a group of adolescent boys who were stripped naked and taking turns jumping in a hole in the ice. So much for the when in Rome philosophy... that's just fucking wrong.
I gave up skating quickly, it was just too hard on the lake, but at the local soccer field/ice rink it's a different story. In fact me and Philippos (The Greek God of Smoking) have been meeting up to skate around at the local bandi rink at a regular interval. For those who don't know, bandi is a sport like field hockey on ice, or rather like ice hockey with a ball played on a frozen soccer field. Anyway, the field is open to the public every day until 2 pm for free skating. Anything free in Sweden, you just do. 25% sales tax on nothing is still nothing.
The more I hang out with Greeks the more I am afforded a window into my own soul. When you make plans with a Greek person, attendance is strictly optional. There is a smoke break or a coffee break every fifteen minutes and nothing much gets done. The conversation ranges from feta cheese to marijuana to video games. It's wonderful. Occasionally we actually skate around the ice. Philippos the Greek God of Smoking spends most of his time trying to skate backwards. I spend most of my time trying to skate forwards.
It's fucking fantastic and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else but out on the ice in the subzeros.
In January right now the whole archipelago is frozen over and you can literally skate between the islands. This weekend Linda told me a whole family on a snowmobile and a trailing sled fell through a patch of thin and died all at once in the icy waters. It's kind of horrible to think about but it's a typical affair for this time of year in these parts. Swedes don't do war anymore so God needs some way to keep the folks fatalistic.