One in 2000: Margaret Ross

So you’re a figure skater?

Yeah.

What’s the difference between jumps like a Sowcow and a Lutz?

S-A-L-C-H-O-W.  That’s how you spell Sowcow.

Stop avoiding the question.

Well the reason I was spelling it is because they were both named after people, because a lot of time people are confused by the names.  A Lutz is a toe jump and a Sowcow is an edge jump, meaning that in a Lutz you put your toe in the ice and use it like a pole vault.

And a Sowcow?

A Salchow is an edge jump, which means you just jump off the ice without putting your toe pick in the ice, so it’s a little different.  You use more of your momentum.  But all jumps are essentially the same in the air and landing. It’s just the takeoff that’s different.

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OK, well that wasn’t very interesting. You were recently invited to compete at the Puerto Rican nationals?

I got an invitation because I’m half Puerto Rican, and I skate competitively, but I’m kind of scared to go because either I’d be the only person there and win automatically and then I’d have to talk to the press, but I don’t speak Spanish and they might call me a fraud and it would be a big scandal. . .

I’m not sure they have figure skating scandals in Puerto Rico.

[Ignoring me] Or even worse I’d be taking the risk that someone who’s half Puerto Rican is really good and they’d humiliate me.

But aren’t you a good skater? You did get invited to the Puerto Rican nationals.

I don’t think there are many figure skaters who are Puerto Rican.  So I think anyone with any Puerto Rican blood would get invited.  In fact, I don’t think anyone who actually lives on the island participates.  They’d probably all be American-born.

That’s a good point, because Puerto Rico is part of America.  So why do they have their own nationals? Â

Well, they have their own Olympians.  And since they’re not a full-fledged state, I guess they get certain nationalistic privileges.

Should Puerto Rico be the 51st state?

I think they’re in a pretty good situation right now.  They get the best of both worlds. They don’t pay taxes, and they get to vote and they get lots of money from the U.S.

Sort of like representation without taxation?

Um… Wait, is that the. . . yeah.  Well that’s kind of good, right?

And you also have J. Lo.

Yes, and we have J. Lo.  And you get to be a U.S. citizen so you can come and go as you please.  They’re the wealthiest place in Latin America, because of that, so it’s a pretty good set up. Â

J. Lo’s Puerto Rican.

And that’s what allowed my grandparents to immigrate to America.

Can we talk about J. Lo?  She’s from Puerto Rico.

She is.  She’s not half, she’s totally, isn’t she?

I don’t know, but in the song she says she’s from the Bronx.

Yeah, she has a Puerto Rican butt, too.

Do you have a Puerto Rican butt?

I think I have a half Puerto Rican butt.

Left cheek or right?

Pretty balanced.  It’s a figure skating butt.  It could be from either of them.  Do we really have to talk about my butt?

Not at all.  What would you rather talk about?

I don’t know.  How about that the fire marshal took my jacket. I had my backpack out in the hall for a day and then I left my jacket out there, too, and I figured I’d just put it in my room in the morning because I didn’t have any space on my floor, and the next morning I wake up and my jacket is gone so I had to risk hypothermia and go down there in the bitter cold to get my jacket back.

Why didn’t you borrow someone else’s jacket?

Well, I actually got a ride from a friend, in a car.

So you weren’t really risking hypothermia?

No.  But the fire marshal shouldn’t assume that you have a friend with a car.

You might be a loser.

Exactly.  Well, not a loser.  But I might be lonely.  Plus, B&G is in the [expletive deleted] of Williamstown, so if they take people’s jackets they should have a more central location, like Baxter or something.

I don’t think you can say that.

What, [expletive deleted]?

Yeah.

Well, it’s really far away.

Fair enough. So what action did you take?

I went down there with my friend Kristine, who had left her Christmas lights out in the hall and had them taken, and the lady said we could only pick stuff up between 2:00 and 3:30. Why is no one at this College working past 3:30? They made an exception for me, she said, because it was my winter jacket.  And I said, “Well, don’t you think it’s a little excessive to be taking people’s jackets when it’s 20-below out?” and she said, “Well, winter jackets are fire hazards like anything else left in the hall.”  She’s very mean.

That’s an excellent impression you just did of her voice.

Yeah, I guess.  But I think jackets and scarves are not fire hazards, they’re fire savers. Like if someone is crawling down the hall they could use the jacket to protect themselves. So I don’t think they should take winter jackets.  Like, is a fire extinguisher left in the hallway a fire hazard?  Where’s the line?

That’s a good question.

Exactly. Why don’t people think?