As a whole, I like kids. I think they're fun and cute and hilarious to listen to when they get going. When they're kept pure, and I don't mean innocent, but pure in the sense that they aren't pumped up with weird notions of their weird parents, they are our best reflection of the job we do as adults. Last night I watched Stitch and Sweetheart skate and dance, and I listened to her tell me about her lost tooth for a good ten minutes. I played with Stitch's other friends and had some fun. I refer to Other People's Kids as OPK's.
But there are some kids I don't like. I keep my thoughts to myself and I'm as polite as I can be to them and their parents, but deep down I'm thinking, "Oh, god, please stop talking before I say something horrible."
Yesterday there was one OPK in particular I wanted to nail with a blade guard. He was doing his normal flopping on the ice, mouthing off to the coaches, and while I couldn't really see any difference in his skating, apparently he learned a Salchow. The kids came tearing out of the rink, and OPK was running up to everyone and anyone saying, "I learned a Salchow! Can you do a Salchow? Wow! A Salchow!"
Okay. Little figure skating boys are kinda gawky. Point blank. They just don't have the same elegance you see from girls of the same age. So, this little gawky kid, running up to a girl in her Chloe Noel best on her Crystalled Zuca, trying to brag about something she probably learned three years ago, just doesn't work out. The girls kind of looked at each other and largely blew him off. Good for them. I managed to keep us hidden in plain sight, keeping Stitch in his books and writing exercises.
But it couldn't last. Eventually Stitch had to get back in skates and heading out for group class, where OPK caught him. "Hey! Stitch! I learned a Salchow today! What level are you? Can you do a Salchow?"
Stitch has grown weary of this. OPK has consistently badgered Stitch about the quality of his crossovers, stating that "Judges won't give you any points for that!" and other strange comments about BS Comps. So, he ignores OPK. Just, walks by. I move to the stands, trying to avoid OPK. This doesn't work. "Hey! Stitch's mom! What level is Stitch!?"
"He's Pre Freestyle. I've told you this before."
"I'm freestyle one!"
"I know. You've told me three times already."
"I learned a Salchow today! Can Stitch do a Salchow?"
"Not if he's in pre-free. You should know that."
"Salchows are easy!"
"Is that what you were doing in the studio?"
"Looked like a Sowplow to me."
"Your class is starting. Go warm up."
I walked away. I don't know if OPK heard me or not, but god that was just so annoying. This kid is really starting to bug the shit out of me.
Two weeks ago he was pestering Stitch, "Can you do a lunge? I can do a lunge!"
Stitch was clearly irritated. "Yes, I can do a lunge."
"Do you think they're hard?"
"Yes, they are hard."
"You think they're hard? I think they're easy! Fab Skater, do you think lunges are hard?"
Fab Skater makes a great answer. "To some people they're hard, to some they're easy. It doesn't matter."
OPK is undeterred, and now has Fab Skater's attention. "Do you think a triple axel is hard?"
"Uh, yes," she gives him a weird look.
"That's where you have to go around three times!" he's all excited.
"I think it's actually three and a half," I comment, seeing an opening.
"Three and a half times around? That sounds easy!" OPK is just making this too simple for me.
"Oh, so you'll be doing that next week?" I ask.
Stitch laughs and I laugh, and we leave quickly.
"Why was he asking me all that?" Stitch asks me in the car.
"I don't know. Don't worry about it."
Fortunately we only see OPK twice a week now. And if OPK stays at a higher level then I won't have to worry about Stitch competing against him any time soon. That's all I need; the stress of a competition AND OPK's ongoing stupid "better-than-you" commentary. But hey, if OPK competes and Sowplows in his moonboots, that will make me giggle for weeks.