02 December 2014

Better on Paper

The city still boasts 85 degree highs as Thanksgiving passes by. Commercials and Christmas lights are the only indication that a season change is on the horizon. Even though it is scientifically oppositional, Phoenix spares no expense to bring outdoor ice skating to the heart of downtown. With hot chocolate in hand, Nate and his friends flock to City Scape regretfully bundled in sweltering sweaters and scarves. Cheerful music and glistening lights set the mood for this festive scene of “ice” and “snow” surrounding a tree that rivals the tree in Martha Stewart’s living room.

IMG_20141129_201517_696Nate and his friends could not be more excited to take part in this lovely affair. Perhaps Nate’s recurring desire to move east will even be pacified temporarily. As the pint-sized Zamboni prepares the ice, Nate and his childhood friends fill with anticipation until they are granted access to this magical wonderland.

The guard opens the gate, and to the ice they take. All goes well until the reality of the situation becomes evident after fifteen glorious seconds.

They are in Phoenix, Arizona. Most people in Phoenix, Arizona, by no fault of their own, do not know how to skate. Why should they? Skating is not ubiquitous. Skating is not a survival mechanism. The Phoenix Coyotes don’t have a track record that inspires future generations of ice hockey players. In fact, Nate had to travel all the way to the Crystal Ice House in Crystal Lake, Illinois to learn to skate at the late childhood age of 17. Filled with solid intentions, the participants of this event stumble and crawl as snails surpass.

Nate is by no means a seasoned architect yet, but even those who failed first year studio could predict that a donut shaped rink with an arbitrary peninsula  is no recipe for speed. Perhaps this is appropriate, as very few people on the ice possess the potential to achieve any speed with the exception of the one pro-hockey player who feels the need to endanger everybody else on the ice by flaunting his skills. Abandoning the peninsula, Nate resorts to shortening the course to a whopping 50’and avoids a majority of the other 3,486 people on the postage stamp piece of ice. As he laps Anonymous Child in Hoodie for the 16th time, he says a prayer that he won’t be used as a stopping wall  by him for a third time.

Before the story continues, it is time to stop and take a selfie with the fifteen other hopelessly romantic couples doing so at any given moment. While Bobby and Suzie create engagement photo gold and possibly their first child in the middle of the winter wonderland, the rest of the crowd negotiates death to avoid being a photo bomb or giving the future bride a black eye.

However, it is they year 2014, and still photography is a dying art. Fortunately, most Phoenicians are forward thinking and choosing the remember what ice looks like by taking video of their entire experience. These segments will be available on Vine and YouTube by searching #Sweaterweather #Phoenix #Iceskating #Romantic #TrueLove #Selfie.

As the night concludes, Nate leaves with the satisfying fact that he did not get any blisters from the solid plastic boot or maim anybody with the dull skate blade. Needless to say, redemption can be found once one has endured the well-intended comedy of errors better known as City Skate. Arcadia houses the fantastically hidden gem better known as Arcadia Ice Arena, where beer flows at the Ice House Tavern and skaters move in the forward direction.

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