x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Teen life: Boredom relief can lead to skating on thin ice

Whiling away a summer's day at an ice rink in a mall sounds innocent enough – until the boys arrive.

Loitering about in malls, we came to the conclusion that we had sunk to new depths. Out of sheer boredom, we were reduced to playing a game to see who could get the most free tasters from ice-cream parlours before the salesperson started to look angry. It was decided that we need to use our summer more profitably. Ice skating in Dubai Mall has proven to be an easy enough activity to do to where we can socialise while actually doing something, as opposed to socialising while standing around. For the fitness freaks among us, this provides a moderate workout, and it is easy to yap on to our hearts' content while skating side by side. Or so we thought.

We have been skating together at least a couple of times, but Diana still refuses to venture from the wall without having established a firm grip on someone's hand. Since the hand she is holding is usually not attached to an Olympic ice dancer, the result is often disastrous and involves copious amounts of wailing about getting a hangnail or wet jeans. The first time we embarked on an ice-skating outing, there was plenty of sliding around on bottoms and tripping over little children, then gazing ruefully at the little children who were speeding on and twirling about, unfazed. I was not pleased to discover that any skills I had once acquired when put into an ice skating course had been forgotten. My yell of, "Look at me, I can do a spin" ended in a few feeble rotations that Sarah quickly put to shame by losing control and careening wildly forwards in a sort of limbo dance.

Meanwhile, Diana had been painstakingly scanning the rink for her chief interest in life, and called out happily when she saw a boy she considered cute enough to try to befriend. She pinpointed a whole host of them, in fact, and then started muttering to herself about how she would go about making conversation with them. We left her to it and glided to the centre of the rink, where I tried to show Sarah how to switch from forward skating to backwards skating, doing my best imitation of my old coach (Bend. Rise. Turn.) All I forgot to tell her was to bend her knees, not her back, which made her topple over and furiously tell me that whatever career I chose, an ice-skating coach should be the last thing on my list.

That was when Diana came wobbling along and instructed us to start scraping ice with our skates at once, and get to work making snowballs. Or iceballs. We finally decided on slushballs. We were too used to indulging in her little whims to put up much of a protest. Working as Diana's unpaid slushball manufacturers at least averted the possibility of being associated with Diana in the middle of one of her temper tantrums. We were sent off to stand behind a boy she had set her heart on, and dreading what would come next, we took up our positions.

Our misguided friend then took a deep breath and flung a slushball half way across the rink. It struck a rink supervisor, who skated over and politely told her not to make snowballs or throw them, and gave her what, as far as I could perceive, was a lecture on safety. When she trudged up to us, all weepy and crestfallen, she launched into a dramatic speech about how unfortunate life was. When asked about what possessed her to throw a snowball at a supervisor, she fixed us with a beady look and informed us that it wasn't meant for the supervisor, it was meant for the cute boy.

"Actually, it was meant for you, but it was supposed to hit the guy. When it hit the guy I could have told him that it was meant for you guys but I hit him by mistake." Shaking her head at our blank faces, she notified us that this was a conversation starter. The things the human brain is capable of thinking up. Slurping her milkshake from the rink café later, Diana declared that at least she had had him notice her. "Maybe," she said thoughtfully, "maybe if I pretend to be bad at ice skating, and fall in front of him..."

My interjection of, "Pretend to be bad?" was coldly ignored. "Yup, that's a good plan." She stood up, made her way into the rink, and promptly collapsed, taking two children down with her. A supervisor hurried over, looking not-too-happy. It's time we made these ice-skating jaunts less frequent. Lavanya Malhotra is a 15-year-old student in Dubai