Monday, May 23, 2005

Geographic Variations on the Couple Skate

I had lunch at the outdoor deck at the Snow Goose last Friday.

Anchorage was blue-sky'd, sunny, warm and brimming with its sudden explosion of blooms, blossoms and Alaskans exuberant with the opportunities to finally expose arms and legs to the sun again. After a week of preparing for, and two hours of participating in, my very first mediation settlement discussions ever, lunch needed to be outside. And in a city that has such a richness of vantage points and breath-taking views, there is a remarkable poverty of places with outdoor seating for those days when outdoor seating is the only acceptable option. And so it was to the Snow Goose that I went with a colleague.

The Snow Goose is a pretty straight-forward place. It's a brew-pub. Serves food - salads, burgers, pizzas, etc. But there is something quite Alaskan about it too. Something more than the tourist-friendly references to salmon and halibut on the menu. I think it may have more to do with the combination of the outdoor roof-patio, an expansive and million-dollar view, esquisite air (seriously), a general social wit honed by winter's humours but radiant in summer's splendours, tables that can expand to fit as many seats as can be pulled away from other tables, hearty welcomings for each arrival of a friend, and Alaskan-brewed ales served in pitchers and drunk from plastic glasses. And it has nostaligic value for me: my first pop-tart maneouver in last summer's season-long endeavour to give a permanant form to my instantaneous crush on J. took place there - I feigned a need for everyone in our bar review course to meet each other, but I was really just trying to find a way to approach J. without giving it all away with my all too easy blushings.

Anyways, it was to the Snow Goose that my fellow associate and I felt compelled to go to celebrate our power-team performance at my very first mediation.

And it was at the Snow Goose that I discovered that my colleague used to couple-skate backwards. What I mean to say, is that my fellow associate explained to me that at her childhood rolling skating rink, the "cool" guys skated backwards during the couple skate. Indeed, she wouldn't couple-skate with any guy unless and until he could do the couple-skate backwards. I thought that was weird. She thought it was lame to couple-skate, as the "cool" ones did at my childhood rolling skating rink, side-to-side.*

Maybe that's also why I think of the Snow Goose as a pretty straight-forward place: it can be the scenic stage for a lifetime's most important poptart antic AND it can be a sporty background for toning down legal adrenalines by debating whether it is more cool to couple-skate side to side or with the guy skating backwards.

* It's probably worth noting that we both grew up in Oregon. Obviously, of course, in different regions of Oregon - I hail from one of the side-to-side regions; she, from the South. But it's those Oregon roots, I'm sure, that can explain to the Eastly Incredulous why two Alaskan attorneys could have the most effective lunch of a client/matter discussing the various pros/cons of the side-to-side versus front-to-front of the timeless couple-skate.


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