LIKE MOST FIRST TIMES mine was clumsy, quick, and made me feel uncomfortable, not to mention self-conscious. I didn’t really know what I was doing. My second time wasn’t much of an improvement but at least I was starting to get the rhythm and I kept going a little longer.
Claire, my girlfriend, said I was doing well and that everyone has to start somewhere but I could see that she wasn’t happy waiting for me to improve while she was already more than competent. So the third time would be on her terms: in public where I had no choice but to succeed.
I was worried that people would laugh or stare, but she assured me this was Paris and it was perfectly normal. But I could see before I’d even finished putting on my rollerblades that everyone else was better than me.