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Day 1: The day I finally take action, after spending weeks mulling over the idea of taking up figure skating lessons as an adult.

Sunday isn’t the best day of the week to hit up public skate. I knew this ahead of time, having heard about the hazards of trying to navigate the herds of skaters, the tiny children, the teenagers who stop at the boards to snap photos, the people who don’t know what they’re doing or how to control themselves. Since I would be one of those people, I’d prefer to arrange my schedule to minimize my contact with people of similar (i.e., dubious) skating ability. But I’d put off going to the rink for so long, while planning to go, that off I went before I lost the nerve and talked myself out of it.

I chose the closest rink in my area; it’s small and somewhat grim looking, but I’m not too picky. It wasn’t too crowded at the beginning of the session, though it became obnoxiously so by the end of it. I asked the friendly folks at the register about group lessons, rented myself some skates, and got on the ice.

I’ve skated a handful of times in my life. Almost all of those times were in the other (first) half of my lifetime, and definitely all of those times poorly. Today was a good reality check, reminding me that this is a tough sport, and that I’d best know what I am in for. It’s easy to get carried away with visions of grace and splendor while watching television. On the ice, it’s a miracle if I can figure out how to move without total loss of motor control, or dignity.

I gave up that hold on dignity early on. I clung to motor control a bit harder, and as a result my feet muscles were aching within minutes. I’ve rollerbladed enough to manage to stay upright most of the time, and I know what swizzles are, so I’m doing a little better than somebody who’s never been on the ice in her life before. But not a whole lot better. There’s a lot of cautious stepping and the boards are my friend.

It’s a wonder I managed a full hour before calling it quits, but part of that was my determination not to waste the $7 entry fee with anything less than an hour. Seven bucks doesn’t seem like much now, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be long before it starts to feel painful to watch those fees pile up on top of each other. I can rationalize a $7-an-hour rate, but no more. As it was, I went home exhausted, but happy that I took my first step. Literally.