Transcript: The Rink Guy | Oct 11, 2017

Ewan is in his thirties, with short blond hair and a beard.

He wears beige snow trousers, a blue sweater, an army green jacket, a yellow woollen hat and gloves.

Ewan says MY NAME IS EWAN REID.
I'M THE VOLUNTEER
RINK OPERATOR
FOR THE McNABB
OUTDOOR RINK,
AND IT'S MY FIFTH YEAR
RUNNING THE RINK.
THIS YEAR I OPENED
ON JANUARY 8TH.
I LIKE TO MAKE THE ICE.
I LIKE TO CREATE
SOMETHING.

He enters the rink and shoves snow.

Ewan says AND IT TAKES A LOT OF
HARD WORK AND EFFORT,
AND DEDICATION.
YOU HAVE TO GO OUT
AT CERTAIN TIMES
OF THE DAY OR NIGHT WHEN
THE WEATHER ALLOWS YOU TO.
AND IT'S NOT
YOUR SCHEDULE;
IT'S PURELY
MOTHER NATURE.
TODAY'S THE DAY IT SNOWED
AND NOW IT GOT COLD;
NOW'S A GOOD DAY TO GO
OUT AND MAKE THE ICE.
SO YOU'VE GOT TO GO AND DO
IT, EVEN IF YOU'RE TIRED
OR YOU WANT TO BE
DOING SOMETHING ELSE.
I'M PROBABLY OUT THERE
FLOODING THREE OR FOUR
TIMES A WEEK ONCE THE
RINK'S MAINTAINED.
SO THAT'S THREE OR
FOUR TIMES A WEEK
FOR ONLY ABOUT TWO HOURS
ONCE THE ICE IS BUILT.
YEAH, THERE'S A
BIG ONE THERE.
SO USUALLY WHAT I
DO IS I GOT OUT
TOWARDS THE END
OF THE EVENING
WHEN PEOPLE ARE
PLAYING STILL,
AND I'LL ASK THE PEOPLE
OUT THERE PLAYING
TO SCRAPE FOR ME.
IT'S THE KIND OF THING
THAT TAKES ME, BY MYSELF,
ANYWHERE FROM 20 MINUTES
TO AN HOUR TO DO.
WHEREAS IF THERE'S SIX
PEOPLE, EIGHT PEOPLE
EACH WITH A SHOVEL, IT
TAKES FIVE MINUTES.

(music plays)

He hoses water on the rink.

Ewan says IT'S A VERY SURREAL
EXPERIENCE TO BE DOWNTOWN
IN A BIG CITY OF A MILLION
PEOPLE SURROUNDED BY
BIG BUILDINGS AND
ALL SORTS OF STUFF,
AT MIDNIGHT WHEN IT'S -20
OR -30 OR SOMETHING.
YOU CAN SEE THE
STARS IN THE SKY
AND IT'S SUPER QUIET.
THERE'S NO ONE AROUND.
EVERYONE'S AT
HOME IN BED.
YOU PUT AWAY THE
HOSE AND EVERYTHING
IS KIND OF DONE
FOR THE NIGHT.
BUT THERE'S THIS REALLY
SATISFYING FEELING
OF BEING ABLE TO STAND
THERE AND LOOK OUT
OVER THE SMOOTH ICE
THAT'S GLISTENING
IN THE WATER IN
THE STARLIGHT
AND THE MOONLIGHT.
EVEN THOUGH YOU'RE IN A
CITY OF A MILLION PEOPLE,
YOU KIND OF FEEL
ALONE WITH THIS THING
YOU'VE CREATED IN THE
MIDDLE OF THE CITY.
IT'S AN INTERESTING
FEELING.
YOU WORK REALLY HARD
TO MAKE SOMETHING
AND YET YOU KNOW
THAT IT'S EPHEMERAL.
IT'S NOT GOING TO BE
AROUND IN THREE MONTHS.
NO MATTER HOW
WELL YOU MAKE IT,
NO MATTER HOW MANY
PEOPLE LIKE IT,
NO MATTER WHAT
HAPPENS, HOW IT LOOKS,
IT GONNA BE GONE.

Pictures of people sing the rink appear.

Ewan says BUT AT THE SAME TIME
BETWEEN NOW AND THEN,
THERE'S ALWAYS PEOPLE
WHO ARE GOING TO GET
SOME ENJOYMENT
OUT OF IT.
EVERY TIME I DRIVE BY -
IT'S RIGHT BY MY HOUSE,
SO OF COURSE I'M ALWAYS
COMING AND GOING -
I'LL ALWAYS
STOP AND LOOK.
I CAN NEVER DRIVE BY
WITHOUT LOOKING CLOSELY
TO SEE WHO'S PLAYING,
HOW MANY PEOPLE
ARE OUT THERE PLAYING.
ARE THEY ON THE
LITTLE PUDDLE OUTSIDE
WHERE THE KIDS SKATE ON
THE INSIDE OF THE RINK?
ARE THEY PLAYING A BIG
GAME, A SMALL GAME?
WHAT'S GOING ON?
I ALWAYS WANT TO SEE.
I ALWAYS WANT
TO KEEP TABS,
BECAUSE IT'S A BIG
PART MY LIFE
FOR THESE TWO MONTHS.
HOW EACH SNOWFLAKE
IS DIFFERENT,
EVERY RINK IS GOING
TO BE DIFFERENT,
EVEN IF IT'S IN
THE SAME LOCATION.
AND YOU'RE GOING TO
REMEMBER CERTAIN BUMPS
AND CERTAIN CRACKS AND
TEXTURE OF THE ICE
IN CERTAIN PLACES
IN ONE RINK,
BUT IT'LL BE DIFFERENT
THE NEXT YEAR.
IT IS A LITTLE BIT
LIKE ART EVEN THOUGH
IT'S SOMETHING THAT'S
REALLY FUNCTIONAL
AND YOU KNOW IT'S
GOING TO DISAPPEAR.

[lights click off]

A caption reads "A film by Fangliang Xu. Copyright 2015."

Watch: The Rink Guy