Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Skating Party

My daughter's school organized a skating party during school hours in the run up to Christmas break. I volunteered as one of several parent drivers for this field trip, a short car ride to the nearby rink. My daughter, and others, had to borrow skates from parents who loaned pairs their own children had outgrown, or not yet grown into; the school promised to provide hockey helmets for those who did not have them, which included our daughter. (School Board regulations required that every student have a hockey helmet; bicycle helmets were deemed insufficient.) My daughter had had skates, but outgrown them and had chosen to do drama and gymnastics this term, rather than skating lessons, so we hadn't gotten around to replacing them.

When we arrived at the rink, I helped my daughter and another girl into their borrowed skates, then went in search of helmets. The rink staff pointed out that they did not have a key to the school locker that contained the helmets; the schools staff had assumed the rink would have a key. The rink staff produced a smaller bag of helmets for a few lucky kids; others came with their own; but my daughter and about 15 others were left standing on the sidelines watching the rest of their schoolmates skating. One of the parents (a male) approached the teachers with the problem. One of the teachers volunteered to drive back to the school for a key, but we were already 15 minutes into a one hour skate time, so calculating round trip and the time likely required looking for the key at the school, this seemed impractical.

Where upon another male parent said, "No problem, just give me a minute to go out to my truck." I'm wondering, who drives around with a truck load ot hockey helmets, but I figured, maybe he was a junior hockey coach and just happened to have the right size heluts on hand.... But no, he returns less than a minute later with his tools, and calmly proceeds to drill out the lock.

I have to admire the pragmatic logic of his is a guy who gets things done!

Ten seconds later, the helmets are handed out, my daughter and her friends hit the ice, life is good.

But I'm left with the realization that I could never be that guy. I mean, quite aside from the fact that any attempt on my part to drill out a lock would inevitably end with at least one (and possibly more, depending how close the spectators crowded in) ambulance being called, I suspect I lack the sort of male self-confidence that would allow me to drill through someone else's lock. I'm more like the guy in Dr. Strangelove who can't bring himself to break into a Coke machine to steal a quarter so he can use a pay phone to make the call to stop WWIII because, well, breaking into private property and stealing iwould just feel wrong.

Part of me is still astonished that no one said, "Hey, what are you doing? You can't drill out an official lock" but of course nobody did because the guy just acted like he had the authority. Nobody questions that kind of confidence. With that kind of air of self-confidence, he could have walked into a bank, gone up to the vault, and just drilled away, and the only comment would be, "Hey, can't you do that any quieter?"

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