Sunday, December 12, 2010

bras and brazos

Who would have guessed that days after you went ice skating the place in your body that ached the most would be your arms. I suppose I did wish to emulate the "port de bras" expressiveness of the 6 - 15 year old prodigies whizzing by me in their hot pink sequined skirts and black Lycra tights, completing triple luxury axles and double-dutch toe touches, but that clearly was presumptuous of me. And, great aplomb is bound to come to those who pay a private coach more than an average college tuition and not to the girl who remembers one or twice a year that ice skating exists and glides around in circles waving her arms like a traffic control officer, wearing denim and $2 rental skates.

I have to admit, every time I see one of those little girls with the pristine white skates and wet noodle flexibilty spinning along in the corner with a look of determination and self-confidence I wonder what in tarnation I was doing at 6. One thing is sure: I wasn't planning right and there was too much Nickelodeon involved; I should have boarded that figure ice skater train a long time ago.

And, speaking of skills that I don't have, let's not even begin with the lack of performance in the skills I might possibly claim. A reality check marked the box "Laurel Cummins" at church, of all places, today. Douglas, newly arrived immigrant from Honduras, graced the congregation so I approached and said hello. I soon found out that English was not his strong suit nor any suit, for that matter, found in the closet of his mind, so I attempted to put on my Spanish cap. That cap is actually a sneaky French beret; at every affirmation I said "oui" and at every positive fact I exclaimed, "c'est bien!" In fact, I didn't even know how to ask him what the names of his two sons were. I kept wanting to say, "Comment s'appellent-ils?" Instead, generously understanding the context, he fed me,

"Sus nombres?" - "Their names?"

"Oui! I mean, si!"

5 minutes later in the car the flood gates opened and "como se llaman?" rushed to me (all too late of course thanks to Murphy and his despicable laws). And, really, did I confuse "to be" verbs and question, "Tu esposa es aqui" instead of, "Tu esposa ├ęsta aqui?" My dad said that he even remembered that from his days back in high school Spanish. And that, mis amigos, was 40 years ago.

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