Thursday, March 12, 2009

How To Have Fun In These Trying Economic Times

Blame it on my friend Sarah. After our insanely fun excursion to Monster Truck Jam we decided we needed another adventure (read blog post for me and potential column for her - not to mention all the good natured camaraderie and bonding that comes from having fun!).

It was Sarah's idea to go roller skating.

I had no idea that roller rinks still existed - but indeed they do. In fact, there seem to be more than a few around.

So last night Sarah, Josh and I headed to Kate's for a little 8-wheeled fun.

Here's the first great thing about Kate's. It costs $3. $3 gets you in and gets you skates. Of course, on weeknights the rink is only open for two and a half hours (not that one really requires more time than that to skate) but that's still less than $1/hour to have fun - assuming your idea of fun involves footwear that has been worn by other people, being terrorized by small children and the occasional rowdy teenager, and worrying non-stop that you might fall and break something and/or humiliate yourself in front of said small children and teenagers.

The first thing we all noticed about Kate's was the smell. It smelled...stale. That's all we could agree on. It wasn't quite sweat. It wasn't booze (they don't serve it). It wasn't smoke. The warmth of the rink reminded me somewhat of a gym after a lot of people had been working out but skating doesn't generate a lot of sweat. So for now - we'll leave the odor at stale.

So I confess - I went into the evening terrified of falling. In fact, Marty seriously urged me to change from my capri leggings into jeans because "when I fell" I would want a little more fabric between me and the ground. Jeans, he went on, would mean I would only get bruised versus getting cut up (for the record, I did change).

Here's the sign posted when you go to get your skates:

Everyone and everything seemed to be indicating that some sort of serious injury awaited me. When did roller skating turn into an extreme sport?

Sarah, a skating veteran (well - 2 recent visits to the rink), assured me that I would NOT fall and that I did not to think I was going to fall and hurt myself and have it all be some sort of grand, self-fulfilling prophesy.

I tried to take her words to heart but after I laced up my skates and stood up, I felt that falling was inevitable.

Do you know how unnatural it is it to be on 8 wheels? There's a reason why we have toes and arches and heels and not round, wobbly protuberances at the end of our legs. Rolling humans are simply against God's plan.

I required Josh's help stepping down onto the rink (why is there no on-ramp?) and tentatively wobbled forward. I think our first lap took a solid 2 - 3 minutes. There were lots of gasps and small shrieks as I struggled to keep my balance and tried desperately to ease into the fluid rhythm of roller skating. But I made it around once without falling. And the next lap was a little easier.

I will pause here to tell you what is scary about roller skating:

1) Maneuvering through traffic. I don't know if the experienced skaters (who come whooshing up behind you and beside you) are scarier or if the inexperienced skaters (who suddenly appear in front of you and won't/can't get out of your way and neither of you knows how to stop and so a crash feels rather inevitable) are scarier. Either way, navigating the rink and trying to stay out of harm's way is tricky.

2) Little children on roller skates. There were quite a few wee ones on hand...some who knew what they were doing. Many who didn't. But somehow I found the whole idea of children under 5 on wheels frightening.

3) How many people can actually roller skate really, really well. I thought that roller skating had gone out of style some time in the 80s along with leg warmers, electric blue eyeshadow, and rubber bracelets. But apparently not because the level of talent on hand last night at Kate's was impressive.

We skated for a while and then there was a game and the game required you to be able to stop (I never did quite get the hang of stopping and instead relied on walls/ledges and in general anything I could run into/grab onto to stop) and so we got off the rink and ate pizza which Josh fondly referred to as space pizza since it felt like it had been dried out and then rehydrated. The crust had no give - it was sort of a cross between stale toast and an even staler cracker. Of course, we forgot about how bad the pizza was when Sarah killed a roach at our table.

Then it was back to the rink for more skating. Sadly, we all kind of went at our own pace and so we didn't skate together (Josh - for the record - is a skating Bad Ass!). But it was fun and it was cheap and I didn't fall and I managed to neither knock over or get knocked over by another skater!

Josh is a skating genius!

Sarah is my new mischief making pal...

Me on skates...the first lap...being hounded by the paparazzi like Bernie Madoff on his way into court yesterday.

I totally got the hang of it. Look - I am even able to turn around and smile for Sarah while rolling forward. That's a serious accomplishment in 2 hours.

Josh "enjoys" his space pizza.

At the end of the night, when I finally sat down and took my skates off, I realized what the odor was I had smelled when we first walked in: Stale Sweaty Feet.

And of course, because someone somewhere knew I needed a way to make this relevant to the title of this we were slipping out of our skates and into our shoes, an older man and woman got into a serious, serious fight and for a moment, we thought a brawl might break out. I instantly had flashbacks to the Silver Bullet.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...


Linda said...

How funny!! My kids wanted to go roller skating last night but I had other plans! I will take them up there and watch, but I haven't taken the plunge and went out with them yet!

For the Record: I used to be a skating fool oh about 30 years ago!!

pbw said...

Kinda picky, I'll admit, but consider using the term "rot gut" rather than "rock gut" in your 8/14/06 blog post about the Silver Bullet.

Karen said...

Umm, honey, what's with the purse while skating? Don't you realize that will automatically throw off your balance, unless of course you have one leg shorter than the other. In that case, nevermind.