Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Chatty Cathy

As a child I craved a Chatty Cathy doll. If you haven't heard of one of these, they were early talking dolls. Pull a ring on her back and it would repeat one of 11 recorded phrases.

Unfortunately, some of the adults who talk to me at the rink are just like her--but they won't shut up.

I'm there to practice, and I'm willing to stroke around a couple of times to catch up, but last week a woman I barely know verbally clung to me for a quarter of an hour talking about her party plans. I actually had to leave the ice and go home to get rid of her

Yes, please tell me more about the cake for a party I'm not invited to

I even had an 8 year old stalker once. She trailed me around the rink for a half hour saying, "See my spin!", "See my spiral!"  "See my other spin! Is that a back spin?"

See my yawn.

Kids are easy to get rid of. Keep moving and don't make eye contact, or say "Your mom is here for you."

Adults are a little trickier. I usually use, "Well, I won't keep you from practice." and skate away.

But there's a lesson here. I never talk to a person more than two trips around the rink, then I use my 'I'll let you practice' line.

Some people are there to socialize, some to skate. Make sure you know which one you're talking too.


  1. I sometimes chat at the rink, but like you- for only a few seconds.

    There is an adult at our rink who won't stop talking, and she praises everything I do- to the point of telling me my coach is wrong when he corrects me. Um, yes, my backspin spins, but my coach is right when he tells me my arms are incorrect. It doesn't help for her to say "I think they are prettier the way you hold them", and interrupt my practice/group lesson to tell me that!

    I was doing non-music program run through, and she put her hand on my shoulder while I was still in the landing edge of a jump to compliment me. I actually shook her off and said "wait a second" as the entire point of the thing was to do the backspin out of the landing! I continued skating to do what I was intending. I felt rude, but man it pissed me off- she completely ruined what I was going for there!

    1. You're much nicer than I am. I probably would have snapped, "Don't touch me!"
      Your admirer sounds creepy.

    2. No- she's a nice lady. She doesn't hear well sometimes, which is why I think she gets close to talk.

      It just doesn't help to compliment what a coach is saying is wrong!!!

    3. For getting out of a conversation on the ice, I use "Well, I'm going to work on my three turns. Have fun!" And then just GO - don't worry if they're still droning on. For the clingiest folks, you might need to to skate away at a good clip before slowing down to work on something. Yeah, exiting abruptly would be a bit rude in many social situations, but this is not a pure social situation - it's a personal WORK situation (where you're paying for ice time and have skills you want to practice). You do what you gotta do, and the chat addicts will (hopefully!) learn which people don't want extended chats.

      For myself, I tend to be really cautious about interrupting other people's practice time - I imagine I seem a bit aloof to some folks as I don't do much more than nod and say hello to folks moving about the ice. (If we're both at the boards (e.g. drinking, stretching, adjusting amount of clothing), then I'll say a bit more, but I still intend that most folks at a rink would rather SKATE than chat.)

    4. Since I skate a mix of freestyle and public, I find myself talking about public sessions in the post above. On freestyle, it's "Hi" and "Bye" without chitchat. At $18 an hour I'm not chatting with anyone.