Monday, December 22, 2014

ice, ice, baby

 A couple of nights ago, I found myself sitting with a friend and a glass of wine at a bar whose top review on Yelp said simply: "Oh my God. No."  It was at the mall. The waitresses wore tiny kilts and tinier shirts. Boobage abounded and we female patrons really weren't the key demographic during what turned out to be a very exciting Saturday night NFL game. We sat and talked and sipped and made lists for the surgical strike we were plotting against bed, bath, and beyond. Right next to our table, there was an odd sight to behold... an ice skating rink! Really small, really square, really weird. I guess that's the thing now, though. People with no business being on ice like to shell out $20 to fall down in front of a bar full of people at the mall. It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world. It brought me fond memories of other days on other ice rinks, though. Like this one:

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Oh, I've got photos

What's that you say, Ellie? You hope that someone has photos of the ice rink in Millennium Park?

Oh yes, sister. I've got photos!

As Ellie alluded, our massive group had plans to divide and conquer the windy city that day. Although I wept with angst every time anyone left me, ever, I managed to pull it together enough to capture at least one shot of our smaller group on yon side of the ol' beanie weanie.

Body language translation: only chumps choose bookstores/bars/museums over skating!

Ellie and Jane (I think) carried a combined total of eight pairs of skates during the bean adventure; it wasn’t until much later that someone had the brilliant epiphany that everyone could  technically carry his or her own pair.

Have you ever seen a more adorable glimmer of joyful anticipation?!

We were thankful to have that huge assortment, because the line for skate rental would have required endurance of an hour or longer in the frigid cold.We had ourselves a joyful glimmer, but many among us were grasping it by threads.

Aside: note the difference between those who own flattering headgear for long term endurance of the season and those who grab whatever is made of fleece, thinking: "Fuck my good looks, it's cold!"

We smugly eschewed the rental line and went into a wretched little room equipped with benches to select whichever skates we could find to fit our respective tootsies. Mine were perfect, but Jane sported a size 9 men’s hockey skate on her wee size 7 geisha feet! This room was a cesspool of humanity, mostly inhabited by children bellowing MOM MOM MOM MOM MOM MOM MOM MOM MOM and moms sweetly suggesting that the beckoning children stifle themselves or face their untimely demise.

We finally got everyone into skates and toddling precariously toward the ice, so very eager to test our talent and the ankles that in youth had never let us down. At the exact moment we prepared to set off, the whistle blew, indicating that it was time for the Zamboni.

I swear, it was the same guy who used to torture us at Crystal Rink, in conspiracy with the evil lifeguards who enforced adult swim at Shorehaven. I wished ferverently for a rotten tomato in hand to chuck at the Zambonista’s fool head. It took just under 75 bazillion hours for him to adequately encircle the ice until it sparkled and shone like … um, ice.

And then, we were off:

Is that the unibomber?

My girl cried in despair the whole time, despite the fact that she was literally being carried aloft by her mother and her aunt. This smile appeared only when we had agreed to let her stop and I told her: "I hope you'll make this a good memory, because you did really well and it was fun."

If only we could see her ginormous feet.

This guy considered himself the king of the rink.

He even offered to teach his younger cousin how it's done. Although I'm not exactly sure that shouting: "just go fast!" is technically considered teaching...
Through it all, my girl Ellie and I wore huge grins, marveling at the muscle memory that escorted us around and around on that little freezing patch of ice in the middle of Chicago. It was so fun! We never left the rink, the two of us, until absolutely everyone else had disappeared back into the pit of despair to de-skate and wait. They were patient, though. One of the greatest things about that week together was how patient everyone was with each other, each person allowing the other to indulge in her own winter midwest adventures without judgment or ire. Ellie and I loved that skating, and we stayed 'til the bitter end and then took a moment to try and capture the happy with a self portrait:

Here's where the grumpy people in line for skates could have come in handy to help us by taking a shot, but they were too grumpy. 
When it was finally time to leave, it was c-c-c-c-coooooold. The smart thing would have been to hightail it over to our warm cars and head back to Jane's warm house. But we were right there in the middle of the city, and Jane, Ellie and I were in agreement that we should make at least a rudimentary attempt to find a nearby pitstop.

Less than two blocks away, there was a bakery, with cocoa and cookies but tragically,  no pie:

Guess who quipped: "What kind of bakery doesn't have pie?"
I may or may not have fallen UP the stairs in that bakery.

But the best part was that two doors down was the Chicago institution, Miller's Pub, where polite young gentlemen gave us their barstools and Damien gave us big people our drinks:

Photo by Damien


Beth said...

Totally beats really small, really square, really weird ice rinks in malls!

And you people were so small.

I'm betting you never saw the inside of BB&B. I'm also betting it was all Janet's fault.


Beth said...

*your* people were so small. You and the other adults are all mighty, mighty!! ;)

Me, You, or Ellie said...

I loved skating with your girl ("You're Freaking Me Out!") and I loved that stop afterward.

I think that was the last time I went ice skating. Except in my imagination, during the Olympics.


mom said...

I still remember how freezing cold it was that day, and my boots were nice and warm back in Connecticut! the pub was nice and warm though....xoxo mom