Saturday, October 10, 2009

Roll Bounce

Just call me Roller Girl. (Not the one from Boogie Nights, though. No porn in this story.)

This morning we went to a birthday party at a nearby roller rink, one I never knew was there. (David and I agreed that the outside was masquerading as a car wash.) The party was for Jazmine's 4th birthday. Jarrah doesn't know Jazmine, and kept asking "When are we going to Aladdin's party?" But Jazmine's mom, Jennifer, is a pal of mine.

We were the first ones there, and a smiling young man welcomed us, asked our shoe size, and confided that Jarrah's skates had been tightened to make them "less roll-y" so she'd be less likely to fall down. Genius. The skates were brown and scuffed, and the air smelled like popcorn and sweat. Heaven. It was no fluke that we were right on time.

I must confess I'd been amped about this party ever since I got the invitation. I was big into roller skating as a teen. I went to a rink in Irvine on Friday nights with my friend Jill, and I'd stand there making sarcastic faces to mask my anguish when boys would ask her to "couples skate," and she'd chirp "No, thank you!" in a way that made me want to smash her.

One time, I met an adorable boy at the rink, and we spent most of the night giggling and flirting. I was over the moon when he asked for my number, and he called me the next night, and we talked for like three hours. And then he called the next night and we talked for like three hours. And the next night. And the next. But he never asked me out. I know I digress, but what the hell? If you are a boy, can you tell me what was going on there? I've already asked David, and he has no clue. After a few weeks of this, I stopped calling him back. Which was cowardly. Now I would just say "So, what's the deal? Are we going out or what?" But back then, I was just a coward.

So I have some fond and fraught adolescent memories of roller rinks. And I have to confess that I was not a little anxious that today--who knows how many years since my last rink outing--I would discover that I couldn't even stand on skates anymore, and would have to stand there clutching the side, my knees as wobbly as a newborn foal.

It was Jarrah's first time rollerskating, but she's been ice skating once, so I think this was a little easier. She stood up immediately, trotted around the carpet, and announced, "I'm good at this!" Down on the rink, it was a different story. The tightened skates made it hard for her to get any momentum. And once we loosened them up, she had a tendency to fling her weight backwards when she panicked, which is an instant ticket to falling. It's hard for people to take advice about what to do when they panic, though, because--let's face it--they're panicking. So she fell a lot.

And eventually, I just let David hold her hand and teeter around the rink. Because I was feeling the need for speed, and I just couldn't ignore it. As the DJ pumped up the Michael Jackson medley, I began to find my groove, and soon I was cruising around that rink with the wind in my hair, pumping through the glide, a bounce in my stride, a little sashay in my hips.

And oh, Readers, did it feel good. I felt 15 again. It was dark in there, with rainbow lights, and when "Off the Wall" came on, if I squinted a bit, it could have been the '80s all over again, and I was as light on my feet as I was then.

And then I stopped squinting, and almost mowed down a few toddlers skating the wrong direction. What? Why are there toddlers in here? Oh right, it's 2009 and this is a 4-year-old's birthday party, and the rink is full of them. And one of them is mine.

But you better believe I skated every minute I could, even the "Hokey Pokey." And worked up an honest sweat doing it. And I didn't have to worry about who would hold my hand during the couples skate. I already had two prospects eager for the job.

And if one of them doesn't ask me out after we chat on the phone, I'll just go home and tell him off.


Aunt LoLo said...

Glad you had fun. :-)

Myrnie said...

What fun!! I haven't skated in ages... and brava for Jarrah for picking it up so quick :)

Anonymous said...

Aww, I love rollerskating. I would totally go now, but all of our rollerskating rinks are hotbeds for gang violence. Weird, I know.

Stephanie said...

Great fun! I know I'm incredibly old and naive, but how do we spot a gang member?

erin said...

Jeremiah and I took Rose and Olivia last year...

It reminded me of being a teen again also...all the falling, tripping, getting hurt and making a complete and total fool of myself, even before I got onto the actual rink.

Robyn said...

Oh, be still my heart. I remember everything about RollerSkate Land in Santee - the smells, the sounds, the lights. I had rainbow colored roller skate covers and also a flint attachment for skating outdoors that would shoot sparks out of the back of my skates! I loved roller skating and I would have been right out there with you. Glad you had fun and thank you for the flashback.

The Wades said...

I was right there with you on the rink, wind through my hair. Those really were the days. We had Skate Ranch, only we had to go Saturday mornings because our parents wouldn't let us out at night with all the "gang" kids.

Good times.