17 October 2006

A Passion That I'll Never Fall Out Of

Don't be misled by the title of this post - it is not about sex again. I've not written a decent post in the last several weeks. And when I say "decent", I mean it in all senses of the word.

Today, I am reminiscing on a childhood passion. As a 10-year kid, I loved roller skating. I can't remember how we got the skates but we had 3 pairs. These were first generation skates - the parts were mostly made of metal, including the wheels (rightfully called rollers). The only parts that were not metal were the leather straps used to fasten the ankles to the skates. One very famous manufacturer of roller skates then was Winchester which I believe was either a US or UK company. I heard it later progressed to making weapons:

The skates were extendable to fit almost all feet sizes.

Although I lived in an SIT flat and not a kampong, I was resourceful enough to find space to skate. There was a 50-m access corridor linking the 10 flats on each floor. This corridor did not belong to us but I used it like my very own skate park almost daily. Because the rollers were made of metal, the skates made a roaring sound on the go, with a decibel level that could rival an approaching fighter jet plane. Whenever I encroached upon the area outside a neighbour's flat which always had an elderly Indian man resting inside, his daughter Mary would always come to the door to stare at me. If that didn't work, she would shout at me, "Go away. Don't come this side. People want to rest." After that, I would stop just before her door and then turn back, effectively shortening a useable 50-m long corridor to a mere 30-m one.

Of course, when you first learn skating, it is inevitable that you will fall a few times. But the learning is in the falling. Children recover very fast and are not deterred by a few falls. Maybe they have a short memory.

So about 2 weeks ago, after we can't stand the constant prodding of a mutual friend and colleague MGC, Chris' and my resistance finally crumbled. Accompanied by MGC, we went to Peninsula Shopping Centre during lunchtime to buy ourselves a brand new pair of in-line skates each. Thanks to our patronage, the cash register at the shop registered an additional sale of $500 plus that day. To make the sport more challenging, the modern skates have all 4 rollers in a line, hence the name "in-line skates".

On 13 Oct 06 Fri, I had an hour to while away so I went to East Coast Park and put on my new skates for its maiden ride:

Along the way, I lost my balance and fell two times. Nary suffering a scratch even though I was not wearing any protective guard, I got up and continued skating.

Friday evening went past peacefully and Saturday was also uneventful. But on Sunday, my left ankle started to swell and it felt extremely painful when I walked. On Monday, I consulted a GP to get a 2-day MC. I asked him if I should see a Chinese sinseh. He replied, "If you ask me, then I will say no need." So I pretended that I didn't ask him and I consulted a Chinese sinseh after that. (Incidentally, did you know that Chinese tui na is called "traumatology" in English? I saw it being spelled as "travmatology" once. Maybe the letter "v" is used interchangeably with the letter "u" in some languages, e.g. have you heard of the Domvs Restaurant?)

In my opinion, the Chinese traumatologist or chiropractor is even more fearful than the dentist. He would rub, pull, bend and twist your ankle any which way he likes, without any care for your cold sweat, screams, squirms and pleas. Anyway I survived that too. At $20, I call it cheap torture. It is indeed a traumatic experience visiting a traumatologist.

Today my ankle is still swollen and in bandage:

Notice what a nice right foot I have.

Chris advised me to visit the A & E department of the CGH to get my ankle x-rayed. "You won't know if you've got a hairline crack until you've had an x-ray done", he said. He has a way of making people worry. He also said that he would be blogging about my experience. Chris certainly has a way to build his blog on other people's miseries, doesn't he?. In any case, I am putting up my own post on this. There is nothing like hearing it from the monkey's horse's mouth.

Although like Chun See, I am also not superstitious but I can't help but begin to wonder whether choosing to skate on Friday the 13th had anything to do with my falls and my sprained ankle. Still, skating is the other "s" passion that I'll never fall out of, literally. (No prizes for guessing what the other "s" passion is.) It is as if by premonition that I have commented on Chun See's blog earlier that skating can be a health hazard if you are not careful.

I also don't care if Chris decides to find another skating coach. But he better buy that helmet that I have been urging him to. That is because the only way to learn skating is by falling as I have explained and demonstrated. He may think that he has a thick skull but I don't want him to find out the hard way that the floor is actually a lot harder.


Anonymous said...

Having moved recently to live in Katong, this 66-year-old man has been thinking of taking up in-line skating -- a very popular activity here at East Coast Park.
Now that I have your experience to fall back on (no pun intended), I will take lessons from a professional coach at an in-line skating centre IF IF IF I do take up the activity.
Here's wishing you a speedy recovery. Regards,
Wee kiat

Chris Sim said...

I cannot understand how a man with years of skating experience can fall while rollerblading. I suspect your fall has to do with the many bikini-top clad SYTs rollerblading at East Coast. No? I know you lah, Victor. Cheeky Boy. No, should be cheeko pek, like what Chun See said once ... :P

My retort here.

Lam Chun See said...

Sorry to hear of your agony. Just be thankful that the injury wasn't more serious.

The lesson to learn here is that you are already past the half-century mark. Sense of balance etc is no longer the same. So even if your mind knows what to do, the body may not obey its commands.

So pls resist the temptation to show your skill to impress the bikini clad lasses.

Victor said...

Wee Kiat - Thanks for the well wishes. Cycling is a much safer and comparatively less vigorous sport. It is also a very popular activity at East Coast Park. What's more, you won't miss out on the bikini-clad lasses that way either. Do consider IF IF IF you decide you won't take up skating.

Chris - Accidents can happen. And if you need 3 pieces of supporting evidence to get that fact into your "thick skull", here they are:

1. That's why you buy protective gear (but I don't understand how you can leave out that crucial helmet);

2. That's why we have motor insurance to cover vehicle accidents; and

3. That's how Steve Irwin died.

Chun See - You are being presumptuous and judgemental again. There are no bikini-clad lasses on a Friday afternoon. They mostly appear during weekends and school holidays.

Lam Chun See said...

Oooh bad mood. Better stay clear.

fr said...

hahaha, your swollen foot looks cute..

Well, I don't think we equate passion with sex.

I once twisted my angle and it was also swollen but didn't look as bad as yours. The doctor prescribed me some cream and pills for the pain; the swelling subsided the next day. I was quite surprised that it recovered so fast

Victor said...

frannxis said:

hahaha, your swollen foot looks cute..

People said I am in a bad mood and you dare make fun of me some more?

me said...

what a nice left foot you have GD!


take good care of your leg! nurse it well! speedy recovery :D

Victor said...

Elaine, I went for x-ray of my ankle on morning of 18 Oct (Wed). They took from 3 different angles but could not detect any abnormality with the bones. Today I am feeling less pain and can walk better. But the foot still looks cute, er... I mean swollen. Should be able to recover by Puasa. Thanks for your well wishes.

oceanskies79 said...

Good to hear that your foot is feeling better and there's no abnormality with the bones.

Do take care in the future too. I have sprained my ankle (both left, and right, at different times) before, and my lesson learnt is to take steady steps, and wear ankle guard where necessary.

oceanskies79 said...

Anyway, I think in-line skating is fun (provided that I have someone patient enough there to guide me because I have yet to master it), you may wish to try it again if you like it, and please do not be put off by the sprain-incident.

There was once when I fell and injured my knees (cos I didn't want to put on the protective gear), but it was fun enough to make me go back to it.

Have a good weekend, and heal well.

Victor said...

Oceanskies79, thanks for your well wishes and concern. There are new developments. I will update all of you via a new post soon.

Anonymous said...

Victor... hope you have recovered... That pair of roller skate caught my eyes... as a 10 - 12 year old kid, I owned a pair of roller skate whose wheels are made of metal. I rememebred using a pice of nylon rope and I made a loop at one end. The other end was used to tie a piece of stick with it. The loop was then hooked to a bicycle seat. I then hold the other end with the stick attached. My friend will then cycle around the basketball cout in our local community centre (Princess Elizabeth) with me on my skate.. thus doing land skiing instead of water skiing. Great fun. Thank you for bringing back beautiful memories..

Victor said...

Thanks Chuck. I am feeling much better now. I will be going back to work on Wednesday, after 11 days' rest.

Appreciate your sharing that interesting story on how you land skied around the basketball court. Looks like we played a lot of similar childhood games of our era.