Curling enters my life when I am five years old. Every day on the school bus I sit next to my kindergarten boyfriend, Jimmy. Jimmy is an older man (six) and his main interest in life is curling. The ice sport. On the bus Jimmy tells me about the latest developments in his nascent curling career. This teaches me about the existence of curling and it also teaches me that men often expect women to listen to them talk about their pastimes at length while the women make interested facial expressions.
Twenty-two years later, I google Jimmy, assuming that someone with such a prodigious love of curling must have qualified for the US Olympic curling team. I find no evidence of Jimmy, and I am disappointed.
In October, I go to Berlin for work for a week and I have a lovely time. My life in Berlin was so great! I think to myself. And then I have an epiphany: My life in Brooklyn could also be great! I think, But I’m going to have to make an effort!
I come back from Berlin and for the first time since I moved to Brooklyn, nearly eleven months earlier, I start making an effort. I start to make friends. One of the friends is Katie. We’re doing curling at the rink in Prospect Park! says Katie, Do you want to do curling?
Of course I want to do curling, I say.
We start attending curling lessons, once a week. The people who are instructing us are very enthusiastic about curling. Like me, some of the other people in the curling lessons seem a little skeptical of curling, because we are trying to be cool. But one by one, they confess to me in sheepish tones that they have been watching curling videos in their spare time.
Curling is the first time I have had any kind of sporting instruction since high school. When the curling instructor tries to correct my form, I feel resistant, in exactly the way I used to when my high school gym teacher would try to get me to be better at kickball, say, and I would look at him and think: I did very well at on the SATs so how is this relevant?
But now, I realize, I’m not trying to get into college: I am purely trying to be good at curling. And to have a great life in Brooklyn.
I, too, start watching curling videos in secret. I realize that the crux of my curling problem is that I try to release the curling stone as soon as possible, because I am scared to hang on to it and deal with the consequences. Even though hanging on to the curling stone a bit longer is essential to one’s curling success.
I describe this to Diana.
That’s probably a metaphor for something in your life, she says.
I agree that is definitely is.
My curling skills improve. On Wednesday, I am sweeping down the ice with a fellow Brooklyn-based curling enthusiast. We stop sweeping. He stands up fast, to watch the progress of the stone, and his broom smashes into the left side of my face. I scream, but I stay on my feet. My curling colleague looks horrified.
ARE YOU OKAY? he says.
I’ve always wanted a sports injury! I say, And this one is hilarious! My friends are going to be so impressed!
Later, I go home and sit on my sofa with a bag of frozen cranberries on my face. My face feels a little sore. My life in Brooklyn feels great.