1/24/2005 09:38:00 AM   [ link ]


I've been going rollerskating a few times lately. It's one of Mike's favorite things to do, so over the summer I started learning how to not fall and kill myself by circling around Forest Park with him. Now that it's winter, however, the park is no longer an option. So, we've been to a few skating rinks lately.

1) This one was exactly the way you remember your elementary school skating parties being. There were kids of all ages, and it was actually one kid's birthday party. When we got there, I said to Mike, "We are the only people in here who aren't either kids or parents." He said, "Yeah, except for that guy over there."

Oh. My. God.

I cannot even describe this guy. I'm gonna have to try, though, aren't I...? For starters, he was probably around 35 years old, and he was there all by himself. That's already a warning bell that you might not want him to be around your children. He lurked, creepily. He stared at people. He had this air about him as though he had been coming there every day for the past 25 years. Except if that were true, you might expect him to be a good skater. He wasn't. In fact, he hardly even skated the whole night, he mostly just practiced lurking. And I haven't even described his outfit yet!

- Camo hat and jacket.
- Huge thick glasses that gave him creepy frog eyes.
- Bizarre earrings.
- HAND PAINTED roller skates, complete with CLOUDS, and the classic color combination of TEAL and HOT PINK.

Just.......... wow.

2) Same rink, same night, this poor kid broke my heart.

He was a little bit chubby, probably the kid that everyone picks on. While other kids were doing fancy tricks on their oh-so-cool rollerblades, it was all he could do to keep his balance. His skating technique was inefficient and destined for failure -- a straight-legged waddle that makes it impossible to get momentum, and very easy to fall. I was sitting on the bleachers as he went by in front of me when - BAM!! - his feet flew out from under him and he landed flat on his back. "Oh no, are you OK?!" I said. He dragged himself up by the concrete barrier at the edge of the rink and looked at me, humiliated. "I just keep falling," he said. Then, brightly, "I guess I have to keep practicing!" He was so hopeful and good-natured. My heart was broken.

3) Different rink, different night. Total culture shock. This time, it wasn't even remotely like those school skating parties everyone remembers. It was 18 and up to even get in. There was a hip hop DJ. The cool people wore old school skates, never rollerblades. We were the only white people there. It felt like we were the only white people that had ever been there, for all of time. I was mesmerized. They danced, they floated. They moved to the music with complete effortlessness. Guys linked arms in pairs and threes, and coordinated their movement.

Dan: Did you guys have any idea this culture existed...?
the rest of us: ... [awed silence] ...