At ice skating class last week we had a new student. When the instructor asked her whether she had any previous experience and she said as a teenager and had maybe one public skate before the class. I said that’s like when I started only she’s doing much better than I was then. (And she was. You really should have seen me. It was bad.) Mind you, she appears considerably younger than me so I can take comfort that she hadn’t had as much time to lose it all as I had.
During the course of the class I made a quip that I had to revise that initial estimation. She’s doing better than I am now.
At the end of the class I was sitting taking off my skates and she sat next to me (don’t make anything of that–all the “learn to play hockey” people were gearing up and the benches were pretty crowded). I, again, mentioned how she was doing really well–better than I was now after about six months of lessons (start of fourth set of eight week classes so, yeah, six months).
Her: “Oh, you’re doing great out there.”
Me: “Your backward skating, your edges, your crossovers, all are better than mine.” (And, to be honest, they are. Of the three, the crossovers bothers me because I used to be pretty good at them–when I was eighteen, so 40 years ago)
She seemed pleased at the complement, which was always nice.
She asked if I did the public skates. I did, and I explained that it’s actually cheaper to take the lessons and get the free public skates than to just pay for the public skate time. Two public skate sessions a week are the same cost as the lessons. Three and you’re ahead (I try to get in four on the weekends).
She asked how I found the place. I told her about Athena getting interested and basically web search with this being the one place with Sunday classes (when Saturday’s conflicted with Athena’s then ballet rehearsals). Found out they also had adult classes and, boom, we were in like Flynn.
By then I’d gotten my skates off, blades wiped down, and put away. She’d taken care of hers and we went our separate ways for the day.
So it seems that I can actually talk to people if:
- There is an actual topic at hand to talk about.
- I can open with an actual serious and sincere complement of the other person. (Being able to tell somebody something nice does take away a lot of the awkwardness). and…
- There is absolutely no chance the conversation leading to anything else. We’re taking a class together and that’s all it’s ever going to be. Sooner or later one of us will stop taking the Sunday afternoon Learn to Skate classes (me because of finances or her because she’s gotten what she wanted out of them and moved on to something else) and go our separate ways.