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Mon. 12 September

It's been a long time since I've skipped a day in my diary, but yesterday/today was the time to do it.

Last entry, I was sitting on a plane. Now too I'm sitting on a plane: on a Boeing 767‑300 easing backwards away from my departure gate at O'Hare to Rome via Paris.

So, to catch up:

No, I didn't go skating Saturday night, and very glad I didn't: I was in fact asleep by 9 or so, whereas public session would have put me around 11.

Yesterday morning, altho' I'd told [. . .], as is in fact by and large true, that I'm usually up at 4, I woke up at 7:30, that too was a good idea. Not the best use of my time yesterday morning, but got used to the PowerBook, moved everything I could onto it, and Word recalcitrantly refused to work. (James later figured it out, apparently the RAM cache interferes with it and the cache must be off to run Word; a pity, because it speeds Rolodex up incredibly.)

I got a cab for Wilmette at around 12:30, who got somewhat lost and wasn't carrying a map. I told him twice he should get a map and was less generous on the tip than I am, but otherwise we made it to the right places at the right times, being shortly past 1 at Paul's Pro Shop, 1:45 at Crown with my newly sharpened blades and acrylic seal. Warmups as usual (noting that warmups immediately upon waking up don't seem to be possible: I tried yesterday — and situps were exhausting, and the warmups before them were like running the marathon; tons of things I don't know about the body, and of course I'm going to have to learn); anyway, on ice at about 2:02, with Steve, lesson.

He taught me the "dogbone" pattern, which is a way of achieving control over direction and arc and posture in crossovers: forwards, for now. Based on the markings of a standard hockey rink, it looks like this:


[image ALT: A sketch of a geometric figure somewhat like a figure‑8, inscribed in a roughly oval figure. It is the pattern of a skating exercise called a dogbone.]
with the idea being to control four perfectly semicircular arcs, two big at either end, taking 4 crossovers, and two small in the center between the blue lines, taking 2 crossovers each the inflection points between the semicircles being perfectly smooth. Steve says that the figure controls itself, in that if you're in the wrong place, the crossover technique must be off; more usefully, if you're in the right place at all times, the technique must be right (pretty much). This will be nice, if I find a rink, because the ice itself will teach me and I won't have to second-guess myself.

We then basically worked back crossovers the rest of the lesson, mostly in my weaker direction. The main thing I remember Steve saying is (for now, as a learning and stabilizing device) to stop scurrying the crossover, holding the glide for a good while, feet together, before stroking out and crossing; also to ride the blade back with the other foot — strong controlled edge, sitting back on the blade; strong controlled plant of the foot close firm to the inside.

At 3:04 or so he suddenly realized he was going onto Ron's time, I scooted out of the way and just played, possibly a bit too fast, since I did crash into a rather large but prepubescent boy although it was mostly in fact because he wasn't watching — I was, I hollered to warn him, but didn't get thru — anyhow, after that it was war on Booby, where they (him + 1) were trying to make me crash into them; much more vicious of them, they took aside a little boy of all of 6 or 7 and instructed him to try to get in my way — none of this succeeded, I am in fact rather careful out there, and I'm beginning to think now that my first (only) crash was in fact intentional on the kid's part — Anyhow, this unpleasant, vicious and cowardly behavior cast a pall over my last session at Crown until November 18+.

After the session, unskating with Steve and Ron, I found out from Steve that that boy was in fact a girl hockey player [. . .]

At Howard I saw no sign of a Clark bus, so I walked home, going down Ravenswood as soon as I could since Clark is so ugly. Almost the very first block of Ravenswood, an outdoor churchfest of a black church called "L'Eglise du Christianisme Céleste" in French beneath "The Celestial Church of Christ" if my memory serves me: about 80 people, men, women and children, most wearing white robes and crosses around their necks; a birthday cake gaudily decorated in the shape of a book, reading "Happy Birthday Opemuwamupo" or something like that for the proper noun. Withal, a happy-looking group of people, kids playing various games, a solitary lapis-lazuli-clad robed figure about my age chatting benignly with one of his parishioners —

Back to house, work, [. . .], pressure. Tired of stress at home. I'm responsible for half of it because of the office, another 10% because of my bad temper; [. . .]

Unable to concentrate on translation, didn't try, I know myself well enough. Went upstairs and packed. I really would have liked to take a single carry-on, but reason, and James pushing me as usual, prevailed: I put the dictionaries and everything irreplaceable in the carryon, including Steve's notes and my cow sweatshirt; two dictionaries finally went in the suitcase in the hold with my ice skates since this morning I had to cram my portable in the carry-on and make sure it was well padded with clothes. I even took a winter coat for Todi in mid-November, again, James pushing. Other than my skating books, as a last minute thought, two small Loebs: the plays of Terence — about five days ago, I started rereading Heautontimoroumenos, which I have quite forgotten, and this time the beginning at least hit me like dynamite (this is where

Homo sum, et nihil humani a me alienum puto

comes from, and for once, to get the maxim, no major wrenching was done to the text — it is in fact what the author meant to convey). Anyway, along with a jump rope Steve gave me yesterday (instructions to warm up in a certain way, to skip 100 times if I can, to stop immediately if I have pain in the shins) and my tights and dance belts, 3 trou and 5 sets of sports shirts, socks, underwear, that's about it.

 . . . .

Anyhow, this morning I got up at 3, actually succeeded in finishing everything I had on my desk except one item (unopened) for a man named [. . .], utterly irresponsible and rude of me — plus he's still hanging, I've got to get something done, still.

I also had a simple breakfast — cereal, pear, cheese, coffee — forgot to mention last night's dinner, even James commented that it was dismal: it was (chili, fruit). Anyway, I found time for a more or less relaxed breakfast, but the shower was truncated and I didn't shave, I look like hell: tired, rings around my eyes, unshaven, clothes don't fit, worried — this has got to change! [. . .]

I did get most of my invoicing done —

Out of the house at 12:35 (James had left at nearly 10, by CTA despite his distaste for it, to deliver my [. . .] items to Mme Soyer so she could have them certified and ready to pick up as I swing thru) — which I did, by cab, which waited for me, then to O'Hare, which I got to by 1:50, almost perfectly at the prescribed time two hours before my departure. My driver was from Sutlej and, as people often are with me, was surprised to hear me tell him things about his part of the world (in this case we both knew of Porus and Alexander at the Chenab River, but he looked unsettled more than anything else. . .); if I really knew my geography this would be a useful skill —


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Page updated: 16 Nov 03