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Patty's New Skates

by David Yehudah, Bellflower, CA, USA


Our sister-in-law gave Patty an old pair of roller blades a few months ago, and she has used them maybe an hour all together since then. She complained they were uncomfortable and didn't fit right. Also, the wheels were so stiff and dry they'd barely roll. Those were the first skates she'd ever owned or used. So today we bought her some new ones, expensive racing skates.

There is a smooth, concrete driveway, about 30 feet (10 meters) wide and about 200 feet (65 meters) long in front of our house. What she hadn't noticed before is that it has a very slight negative crown so the water runs off down the center instead of to the sides.

Patty plopped down in a plastic patio chair in front of the garage and put on her new skates, then stood up.


A windmill is nowhere near. She looked like a two-paddle-wheel steamer suddenly gone berserk. Just from the breeze generated by her flailing arms she made it out into the center of the driveway, then stood there spinning in place. When she finally wound down and stood there panting, arms hanging limply at her sides, I told her she shouldn't try any fancy stuff like that until she learned to skate a little better. Showing off like that might impress the neighbors, but she might get hurt.

Damn, she was mad. With a mighty effort, jaw clenched, arms flailing, she launched herself at me from about halfway across the driveway. Not surprisingly, that slight upward slope was more than she could handle. Near the bottom the concrete was nearly level, but the closer she got to me, the steeper the slope became, so when she stopped flailing to reach out to grab me, she lost momentum and rolled back to the bottom.

Furious, she made it to within a few inches of me, then, despite her redoubled efforts, she rolled back to the center of the driveway. If I hadn't walked over and pulled her to her chair, she would probably be there yet.

She said she got the skates for exercise. If so, it worked. She expended more effort to cover less ground than if she'd been climbing a brick wall with a large pack on her back.

What'll she do next?


Editor's note:

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