By stern on May 05, 2006
When I'm gone for a week, I try to pack my in line skates so that I get something resembling exercise when I'm not playing hockey or baseball back home. If I'm checking a big bag of clothes, adding skate wear and skates to the mix isn't so bad, plus I get the added bonus of clipping my decal-covered helmet to my carry-on and getting the "You skate, dude?" looks in the airport.
"Skate" is a relative term. I believe I hold the record for being tossed out of public places on skates: the Balitmore Inner Harbor park, the Fort Lauderdale Hard Rock Hotel parking deck, the Point Pleasant, New Jersey boardwalk and the Atlantic City Hilton hotel. The last one was the most amusing: I wanted to take a break from blading on the famous AC boards and take a break in the AC of the Hilton, so I switched blades for flip flops and walked into the casion carrying my skate bag. I was told (by security) that my bag was "too big" and was asked to leave. Realize that all around me, people with more teeth than fingers, some carrying a day's worth of clothing in plastic bags, were greeted with smiles, but I was suspicious.
But I digress. In the course of skating these public courses, I've had to evade rolling chairs, wheelchairs, cars, buses, traffic cones, animal droppings, pavement gaps and the occasional live animal. This week's skates around the Sun Menlo Park Campus (perimeter road, precisely 1 mile) provided a new challenge: snails. In the morning hours, it seems the blind, slow-moving, shell-encrusted future French delicacies move from whatever wetlands lie outside the parking lot to the trees, sidewalks, pavements and light poles that dot the inside of the road. Dodging them made the circle tour fun. Unfortunately, after a week of seriously deep technical review, I wasn't exactly road racing.
The snails were out pacing me.