A Robbie Robertson song has these lines:
“Sitting in the back seat,
Listening to Little Willie John,
oh that’s when time stood still”
Every time I listen to that song I think I should check out Little Willie John. Last night, I remembered and the iTunes Store came to the rescue. I have been playing the album I bought since.
There was for me a moment when time stood still, when I had a severe deja vu moment. A week and a half ago I managed to sneak out one afternoon during the trip to Brussels for FOSDEM and go to the speed skating oval in Eindhoven. This was the first time that I stood on the narrow steel since the weekend in January ‘99 when I went to Milwaukee to skate. The first meters were very shaky but then things went a little better – especially after I tightened the laces much more – and was I gliding very nicely through the corners.
There was a digital clock and so I timed myself. The first lap I timed I did in about 65 seconds. A while later I got that down to 56 seconds (oh yeah, easy, no problem!). Did have to take a little rest 🙂
It was wonderfully quiet on the track. Only me and six or seven other skaters. What a difference from the overcrowded evenings on the Jaap Eden baan in Amsterdam! I took a coffee break when the Zamboni came on the ice. I took off my skates, put on my sneakers, grabbed the skates and stood up. That’s when time stood still. I was surprised by the muscle memory, of how entirely familiar it felt to hold the skates by the blades in my left hand.
Along the oval an elderly woman was taking pictures of her grandchildren learning to skate. She had a very nice camera and so I immediately qualified her as an experienced photographer. I skated over to her and asked if she could take some pictures of me on my little Pentax while I was skating by on the next lap. She kindly agreed. I was aiming for some nice action shots but it didn’t happen that way. Grandmas take pictures while you’re standing still and smiling. Nevertheless, you can see these these and other pictures I took in the gallery.