My night took place at an ice skating rink, surrounded by a few half-assed Christmas shopping markets and a giant Ferris Wheel. The appeal of the Ferris Wheel is that you can see all of Florence from the top of it. It was a definite tourist trap, but a fun one to be sure, and since I am a tourist, I put my pride to the side in order to have some fun. I was able to see the Duomo, Santa Croce, and all of the other places that I’d been to during my stay.
After the group rode the Ferris Wheel, everyone immediately left. No one wanted to stick around, but I was not ready to go home. It’s a long walk to get home and I didn’t just come here to ride on the Ferris Wheel and then leave. I was too busy carpe-ing all of those diems.
So I decided to go ice skating all by myself. The tourist trap was created around a massive pond, but instead of freezing over the pond, they froze over the sidewalk that went around the pond. As soon as I stepped out onto the ice, I realized something: this was just a layer of ice over concrete. It instantly felt dangerous. But I spent 14 euros on this so once more unto the breach.
As I was shakily skating and holding onto the railing, all I could think was: this was a mistake, this was a mistake, this was a mistake, some of which I said out loud.
I moved like a newborn fawn. I don’t remember what happened next except that I thought to let go of the railing in order to truly ice skate. I didn’t even make it around the circle once.
It was all a blur but I do know that I immediately fell forward, crashing down on my knee.
Everyone behind me went “ohhhh.”
Both of my legs were laying on the ice and my upper body was pressed against the railing, having landed on it. Suddenly, I was very glad that no one else from the group had stuck around.
A very nice Italian girl beside me asked if I was okay, as I pulled myself up the railing.
“My dignity.” (I actually said that), followed by “my knees.”
“Do you need ice?”
I burst out laughing. Ice is what put me in this situation in the first place.
One of the workers, who heard about my TKO, came over to me and brought me a big, plastic penguin-shaped chair to ride back on, because when you’ve just fallen a couple of feet from the starting point and everyone saw you hit the ground, all you want to do is compound the embarrassment by being pushed around on a penguin. Better still is that when I tried to sit on it I nearly fell off and busted my ass all over again. He shuffled me back the 20 feet to the entrance and gave me an ice pack for my knee.
After feeling sufficiently sorry for myself, I got up and limped five minutes to the student hotel, like the trooper that I am. The student hotel is a place for study abroad students to stay when they don’t have a host family and is a great landmark to call a taxi from. You can’t hail a taxi in Florence, you have to call one. The buses were on strike (again), Uber doesn’t really exist here, and it’s an hour long walk back to my house, so a taxi it was.
The taxi services will also hang up on you if there isn’t a taxi in your area and since walking back wasn’t an option, I wasn’t going to let that happen, so I immediately informed the dispatcher that I needed to get a taxi because I couldn’t walk.
I got put on hold and then hung up on.
I cry very easily and when I cry, I scream, so when I called back that’s what the man had to endure.
He said he was willing to try again. I got hung up on again. I called a third time.
“I’m sorry, ma’am I was really insistent, but no one responded. I’ll try again.” I want it to be clear though that I wasn’t yelling at the dispatcher for not getting me a taxi. I was screaming in general about all of the things that had just gone wrong. The student hotel has a bunch of swing sets in the lobby and I’d been sitting on one while I iced my knee and called for a taxi. A little girl on a swing across from me witnessed all of this.
So, after traumatizing the taxi dispatcher I got a taxi that was extra roomy in the back seat and clearly made for people who maybe had leg injuries.
Back at my homestay, I kept on icing my badly bruised knee. I’d gotten to ride a Ferris Wheel, in which I got to see a bird’s eye view of the city I’d been living in, and then managed to ice skate about twenty feet before being taxi-ed home. So there you have it: It was an eventful night, but one that I sought out when I refused to go home early. It was one of those moments where I knew that I would laugh about it someday, despite crying about it at the time, and that day came sooner than expected.
I had more adventures in store, as I limped towards my final day in Italy.
The Tragic Queen,