Sunday, April 12, 2009

In Tribute: I Went Back To The Roller Skating Rink So You Don't Have To

Quite possibly one of the worst photos of me...ever.

As a tribute to one of the funniest bloggers I know - Julia at I Do Things So You Don't Have To I present to you:

"I Went Back To The Roller Skating Rink So You Don't Have To"

Last week, one of my friends rented out the local skating rink for a private roller disco birthday party. (She just turned 42 - and yes, she made us do the hokey pokey.) It was strange to go back there because I literally grew up in that place. I was there 4-5 nights a week for two years, (7th-8th grade) which would have been in the very early 80's. Roller skating and "the rink" - that was my life. My skate bag was signed in permanent marker by all of the rink regulars, I had Pacer skates with white Zinger speed wheels. I'd read skate magazines on how to clean and tweak open wheel bearings and occasionally, I'd have a loose lug nut that would cause one of my wheels to go spiraling off...

It was so much my life that on my birthday (12/31) on the eve of the millennium 1999, (don't give me that crap about the millennium starting on 01/01/01 - let me have my dream...) it was the one thing I felt I had to go back to represent what was most fun about my so-called innocent youth.

At that time, they were still playing mostly disco, early funk, and only the rare occasional rock song like "Juke Box Hero" and "I love Rock & Roll." It was all Sugar Hill Gang and Patrick Hernandez... it took me YEARS to find all of my favorite music from back in the day - I only recently just found "On the Beat" by the BB & Q Band as an audio clip on You Tube.

Not to say that I'm any kind of ravishing beauty now, but I know back at that age (11-12) I was an A grade doofus. (See picture above. What ex-disco queen did I steal that shirt from? And get a load of my Space-Sac purse that's probably not even a real Space-Sac, but a K-Mart knock-off. I think I'm also wearing feather earrings and an authentic pair of Sergio Valente jeans - how cool...) I was just starting to get interested in boys and they would do nothing but make fun of me and go running in the other direction. It was slightly traumatic save for one boy (who will remain nameless) that provided me with my first kiss. He tasted like pickles and I don't think I ever saw him again - more jabs at an already low self esteem...

Anyway... some of it was the same, but some things were different. Same disco balls, but the old light-up board that would show whether or not it was an "All Skate" or a "Couples Only" - that was gone. The pinball machines were gone. The round carpeted mushroom shaped benches that you would sit on to put on your skates - still there. (Which also acted as a "time out" place when you got "benched" for bad behavior. I did...once...)

I had to go and check out the bathrooms. Back in the day, they were just stalls separated by brick walls - no doors. Now, they attached doors, but the walls are way too skinny and I had to have the door propped half way open to be able to get my fat butt anywhere near the toilet. Luckily no one came in or I would have traumatized them with my lily white ass.

Since I hadn't eaten much that day, I stopped at the snack bar and bought a watered down Coke and a slice of the nasty pizza that didn't seem to change from what I had eaten over 25 years ago. I wonder if the expiration date on it still had a "19" in it.

And how did I manage to do back on 8 wheels after all those years? I'll put it like this. At one time, I was a pretty good skater that could both dance on my skates and keep up with members of the speed team. Wearing a 30 year-old pair of rental skates on legs that see most of their activity nestled under a computer desk, I think I did ok. 3 laps around and I was ready for a Vicodin. Parts of my legs hurt that I didn't know existed. After a short break, I headed out again and while my mind remembered all of the moves, I could only get my body to do a few. I think I skated for about 45 minutes when a bolt from the inside of my skate was starting to take up permanent residence inside my big toe. (You didn't think the rentals came with insoles did you?) That was enough. I returned my skates to the rental counter, took a last look around, sucked in a big deep breath of sweat and polyurethane, and hit the dusty trail.

Perhaps I'll stop back in another 100 years...

6 comments:

JD at I Do Things said...

Stephanie Bean, I love drooling over your luscious artwork and reading your insightful reviews, but this post shows another side of you. What a wonderful writer you are! I have a good ten years on you, but this took me back to my days at the rink (tho I wasn't as devoted as you) and made it all come alive again.

LOVE the picture of you and your description. Ah, yes. Sergio Valente jeans. The height of coolness.

Anyway, I'm glad you did this so I don't have to. I'm not sure I have enough Vicodin for an outing like this. But it sounds like you had a great time.

Hooray!

A.J. Axline said...

I couldn't skate worth a damn. For me, the roller rink was all about the pinball machines. Firepower and 8-Ball Deluxe, Quicksilver and Black Knight. I was a flipper fiend, until video games came along and changed my financial dynamic forever...

B Irwin said...

My skates were blue suede with yellow stripes and wheels to match the pine pollen as we all skated outside. And I wore Calvins, being built more like Brooke Shields in those days.

Alas I'm now the configuration of a 3rd string linebacker...

veritablyshort said...

Oh god, skating rinks. I remember playing red light, green light, and how it was SUCH A HUGE DEAL when a boy held hands with you as you did laps. I had a pair of barbie roller skates with a matching helmet.

rainbow said...

I was in my 20s by the 80s and missed that skating craze.

That's an *adorable* picture of you!

Biffybeans said...

Thank you JD! I'm always a bit hesitant to post my writing where I think I'm funny - never knowing if other people will read it the same way. From the queen of funny, that's certainly a compliment.

AJ - they used to have a great Alien pinball machine at this rink. It had an easy way to rack up extra games and you could play it all night. I remember the way the games felt different if you were on skates or in your street shoes. (Higher or lower)

Beth - Calvin's - nice!

veritablyshort - ah yes... the Couples Only skates...

rainbow - thank you!

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