LSB and I are bookish types. We met in a library, not on a sports field. While he gallops through the classics, I canter along beside him, skimming paragraphs to keep up. Altogether we’re contented.
But ever since our arrival in Vienna, we’ve been committed to a course of self-improvement. When we’re not saving ladybirds or relaxing in the museum quarter, we’re exchanging skills. I’m teaching him German (his progress is remarkable) and he’s introducing me to chess. I now know my rook from my knight and he can distinguish between the genitive and the accusative case.
It’s all well and good to study a new language and familiarise yourself with chess; for bookish types like us, both activities qualify as recreational. To really test our commitment to self-improvement, we need to tread outside our comfort zone.
Conversation turned to that very theme last week, while we were walking down Mariahilfestrasse.
“Let’s buy a frisbee,” said LSB.
How could I resist?
We went into a sports shop. I saw some kids trying out the treadmills so I did the same. A shop assistant came over to reprimand the children, accusing them of breaking the machines. Then she came to me wearing a large smile and asked if she could be of help. I said I was just “looking” and ran away as fast as I could.
Eventually we found the section we were looking for. In between snorkels and body boards, we found some large plastic discs.
“There we are,” I said. “How much is that?”
LSB picked it up and gasped.
“20 euro! Forget about it.”
“Sure we could use a paper plate for free!”
We continued down Mariahilfestrasse.
We passed a stamp shop, a furniture store and a hat shop.
Finally we found a toy store.
We found some frisbees inside a basket of Barbie beach balls.
LSB pulled some out.
“Grey or green?”
“What a toughie! Go grey.”
He did. We bounced to the till and paid €2.49.
Since then, LSB and I have discovered talents we never knew we had.
We may have started out unable to toss the bloody disc in any direction at all, and we have certainly hit a good number of beautiful Viennese park-dwellers, who thought they were out for a relaxing afternoon in the park, but you should see the beautiful arcs in the air that we can now achieve.
While I’m content to continue shooting long backhands, which I have mastered, LSB is keen to make swift improvements. In recent days, he has become intent on mastering the forehand. Unfortunately up to now, all attempts in that direction have landed far off target. I swear he’s doing it to make me run.
A few minutes ago, I looked up at LSB, who is sitting at the window with his laptop, looking over the Danube. A strange sound was coming from his computer. It sounded like a chorus of sea gulls.
“What are you doing?” I asked LSB, who is supposed to be preparing for his future life in Edinburgh.
“Just watching an Ultimate Frisbee Game,” he said.
The sun is beginning to set, casting a beautiful orange glow over the water. There’s just enough light left for a quick game.
Also, as regular readers may have noticed, I have a new picture as my header. If you become a fan of Katekatharina on Facebook, you can see the complete album of the photo shoot, which I’ll be posting tonight.