Search Results : roller dj

Jan 252011
 

The roller rink we’ve been going to every Sunday isn’t really the greatest. It’s small, kind of out of the way, severely lacking in hot pants and has a cramped snack room with unfriendly attendants (according to Henry, anyway).

But it does have Roller DJ. And he is pretty fucking awesome. I’m not sure why I feel this way, and I know Henry has no idea why I feel this way. (“You’re so weird,” he mumbles, every time I walk away in a giggle fit from a Roller DJ run-in.) Last week, we were still sitting in the car when I saw him rolling his rotund self out of the driver side of some down-trodden green Blazer-type vehicle. His hair looked like the follicular version of a mushroom cloud and his lower half was stepped into baggy, worn flannel pj bottoms.

“Wow,” Henry and I murmured in tandem. Except mine had an “I love that guy” tacked on to the end.

The back of his dusty car boasts a magnetic advertisement for some herbal miracle weight loss drink. Nothing like a good, hearty swig of irony. Kim told me that he gave her a bottle of it last week, but after Googling it, she’s too scared to try it. I suggested she just give it to me. I’m not scared of ingesting illegal and harmful potions in the name of weight loss. If not for Henry, I’d have about 12 tapeworms in me right now.

This past Sunday, Roller DJ’s hair was noticeably less swollen. Kim immediately accused him of being the victim of a hair cut, which made him defensive.

He insisted, “I did not! It’s just wet.” And to me, he said, “Touch my hair.”

And I did. Having too much pity on my fingertips to force them all the way to Roller DJ’s scalp, I stopped halfway, quickly rubbing  between the pads of my thumb and pointer  a curl-i-que slick and moist with what I hoped was water and not natural scalp juices and molten filth.

“Yeah,” I said around a gulp. “It’s wet.”

As soon as he walked away, I said in a hysteric voice to no one and everyone at once, “I can’t believe I just did that!”

Henry and Kim looked horror-stricken, and expressed in unison that they too could not believe I touched his hair. I mean, it’s not the velvety locks of Justin Bieber, for shit-packing Christ’s sake. It’s goddamn Roller DJ. Who knows what he rubs in those black pube-like tufts.

When I was telling my co-workers about it yesterday (yes, it was that big of a deal to me), Barb asked, “And if he asked you to touch his penis, would you have touched that too?”

I can’t answer that without knowing more of the situation.

***

Elsewhere at the rink, Henry’s mom and sister Kelly joined us. Kelly brought her youngest, Zac, and her second-oldest daughter, Ashley. Like Chooch, Zac is not yet able to skate on his own, so Ashley chaperoned him as he edged along the wall.

Meanwhile, my lazy/spoiled son was being  pulled around the rink in a leisurely manner by his new professional handler, Chris. The scene would have been much  more complete had Chris been holding a parasol above Chooch’s head. I caught Chooch laughing and pointing as he rolled past Zac, who was lying on the floor in a small heap, post-wipeout.

“At least he’s TRYING!” I shouted to Chooch. Jesus Christ, that kid.

It’s surpising he didn’t stretch out on a lawnchair first, daiquiri in hand, and have Chris roll him under.

Last week, I skated into some man, stopping only after I splayed my hands against his Steelers-jersied chest. He was there again this week, in the same Mendenhall shirt (hate that I know who that is) and I immediately taunted Henry with little songs about how my boyfriend was back. During Backward Skate, which Kim made me stay on the rink for but I ducked off after two revolutions when she wasn’t looking, my boyfriend looked over his shoulder just in time to avoid crashing into me.

“I’m not very good at this!” I laughed.

“Either am I!” he shouted over whatever Longest Song in the History of Music that was playing over this week’s Backward Skate. (I should start jotting these down.) “Just sort of let yourself cruise!”

I laughed, even though it wasn’t funny at all, and couldn’t wait to rub it in Henry’s face. Apparently, it worked, because that combined with the fact that I absentmindedly missed Ladies’ Choice had him feeling really neglected. He told me later that night that he was sitting on the bench with his mom and sister, waiting for me to come and claim him, but I just kept skating past without looking at him. Which is confusing considering last week I had to knock people out of my way to chase him around the rink and claim him.

I do sort of have a crush on Rollerskating Henry. Don’t tell anyone.

By the time we left, Roller DJ’s hair was the slightest bit poufier. Oh my god, why did I touch his hair?

Mar 062019
 

Remember last week when I was like “blah blah blah I miss roller skating” and being my general whiny self about it? Well, I listened to the signs of the universe and persuaded Henry into revisiting Neville Roller Dome on Sunday!

Aaaaaaand I immediately remembered why we stopped going there: annoying people and a lame DJ, plus jerky owners. But, what can you do when it’s 2019 and rollerskating hasn’t been popular in like three decades? You learn to appreciate what you’re given, that’s what!

So even though there were four different birthday parties that day for bitchy teenage girls and Sunday skate is reserved for Radio Disney and CHRISTIAN CONTEMPORARY, I wiped off my resting bitch face and skated with a goddamn smile.

I learned that all of these newfangled current female singers sound exactly the same, like they’re trying to manipulate their voices to sound like its being dragged though a cheese grater, and it’s just not great, you guys. Not great at all.

And then the DJ announced the first birthday girl’s song which sounded weird and like something an old lady would request.

“What the fuck song is this???” I cried over the vibrato to Chooch.

“Seriously?? It’s Let It Go!” he said incredulously, looking at me like I just woke up from a coma.

Then the chorus came on and I said, “Ooooh, ok. I hear it now. Yeah.”

So apparently, I’ve made it this far in life without ever hearing anything other than the chorus of the dumb bitch song.

And then I immediately skated off the rink and joined Henry on a bench.

“I can’t skate to this song,” I said. And then when Sarah, the Let It Go birthday girl, paraded her hoochie-in-training girlfriends past us en route to the snack room for cake, I loudly said to Henry, “She has awful taste in music, wow!”

But then apparently when Henry and Chooch were in the snack room later, Sarah’s mom offered Chooch just cake (he said no because he knew Jillian Michaels wouldn’t approve) so Chooch said that Sarah is cool but we can still hate her friends and I was OK with that because her one friend in a marigold sweater had the smuggest face ever and…ugh. Just ugh.

Henry doesn’t skate anymore, ever since getting his foot run over by a pallet jack, lol. So he just sat on the bench the whole time and looked at boring Old People crap on his phone. I would join him every once in a while, usually when a song came on that I couldn’t get behind, such as WHO LET THE DOGS OUT.

A big NO THANK YOU to that one.

I was pouting about how shitty the music selection was when Britney Spears’ Hold It Against Me cued up and I almost fell on my face in my mad scramble onto the rink. Now THAT is golden skate jam.

When we used to go to this rink religiously, back when it had different owners and ROLLER DJ was on deck, there was this one kid on roller blades who would request the Pokémon theme park every single Sunday and at first I thought it was so dumb but after a while, I was power-fisting around the rink like I was catchin’ em all. I miss that kid and I miss those days.

Meanwhile, the next birthday girl had her song played and it was AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck”?! Not what I was expecting.

Look, I know that not everyone is going to come out to the roller dome and skate like a motherfucking dream like me because the world isn’t perfect, but it’s hard to enjoy yourself when you’re playing slalom with all the little kids using skating walkers (those things are a HAZARD and should not be allowed!) or worrying that one of the older, but just as talentless, kids is going to bite it and take you down with them. I miss the days of Soul Skate! That was when some local urban skate crew would rent out the whole rink one Sunday night a month for an adult-only skate session full of real skate jams and the kinds of people who could actually dance on wheels.

I really want to continue skating, even if it’s not as regularly as we used to, but it’s not as fun now that Henry can’t skate and none of my friends ever want to go anymore, and I really don’t like that rink anymore but it’s the closest one, ugh #firstworldskatingprobs.

There is another rink in Charleroi that we went to several times and I loved everything about it except that I felt Goldilocks with the skate rental! Their skates are obnoxiously shitty and I actually threw a huge tantrum last time we there and demanded a refund even though Henry begged me not to and shirked away to hide in the car. BUT I WAS VICTORIOUS IN THE END! Anyway, Henry won’t go back to that one because of that time, but it was like 6 years ago so I think we’re safe.

Jun 022014
 

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Do you know how many birthday parties I’ve taken Chooch to since he started school?

Zero.

I turn into a social cripple when it comes to being a Mom, so I always make Henry take Chooch to his classmates’ parties.

Except this last one. I was able to speak casually to this particular kid’s mom at Chooch’s cat party a few weeks ago, so when I saw that her son was having his party at Romp-n-Roll, I was like, “Eff yes I’ll escort my son to this shindig.” Clearly, I wanted to roller skate in a bad way. Plus, I didn’t feel awash with those typical overwhelming tidal waves of anxiety which  usually happens when Chooch brings home a birthday party invitation.

I think I am somehow accidentally fixing myself but I’m not sure how I’m doing it…?

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I was pretty stoked because I’ve only been to the Romp-n-Roll to spectate roller derby bouts, and never to actually skate. Since I am donezo with the Neville Roller Drome (not a fan of the new owners/homophobia/religious agendas), I’ve been wanting to try this place on for size.

We pretty much lost Chooch as soon as we got through the door because one of his girlfriends from school was behind us. I don’t think he spoke to me once after that until we were in the car going home. I SEE HOW IT IS.

It’s more expensive than the other rinks we’ve skated at, but it turned out to be well worth it. Aside from a slight skate issue which had Henry holding his breath because god forbid I should lose my shit at the roller rink for the billionth time of my life. What will the parents think, oh no!? Instead, I took my skates back to the counter and VERY POLITELY asked if I could have a different, taller pair. And the nice man exchanged them for me without the need to get anyone else involved! Henry was totally stunned when he saw me a few minutes later, wearing different skates that he didn’t even have to lace for me! (Don’t get too excited; he put the first pair of skates on for me.)

Even after that though, as soon as the wheels hit the rink’s surface, the wheels started pulling the skates inward and I was basically skating like how whimsical twee bloggers pose (ie. PIGEON-TOED), but instead of being a bitchbaby, I just made a conscious effort to force my feet apart, and it was fine. Henry was having the same problem with his skates too so at least I know I wasn’t just Being Erin about it.

The first thing I noticed, aside from the on-the-ball skate rental guys and the Trapper Keeper-like carpet, was that they were playing a good mix of music. In addition to the classic rock, oldies, and Top 40 on rotation, they actually played Fall Out Boy’s “This Ain’t an Arms Race” and Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf,” YES PLZ.

“They play good music here!” I yelled in Henry’s face after I caught up to the veritable Opie Griffith-on-skates. Aaaaand just like that, cue Nickelback.

But whatever, I can forgive them.

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Meanwhile, Chooch had laced up and took to the floor to show off for his little girlfriends. I noticed that there was girl in particular he wouldn’t leave alone. She was hugging the wall, and he was skating at a slow pace next to her. Anytime she would fall, he would quickly circle back and wait for her to stand up. For some reason, I thought she was a relative of the birthday boy because I’ve never seen her before.

“That’s Hailey!” Henry laughed when I pointed her out. Have I told you about Hailey? Well, she is pretty much the only thing that Chooch ever talks about anymore. She was the new kid this year, and when he went to her birthday party last fall, Henry said Chooch was determined to win her a prize from the Claw Machine at Dave and Buster’s, to the point where he had used up all of his tokens and Henry eventually took over so he could hurry up and win a fucking thing before Chooch wound up spending $18 on a stuffed animal.

I wasn’t there (parent phobia, remember? Stop forgetting everything I tell you! It’s offensive and hurtful) but Henry said Chooch made a huge deal out of presenting it to her.

They used to sit together too but the teacher had to separate them because they were too busy being googly, I guess.

Two weeks ago, I got to see her for a split second when I took Chooch to school, but I didn’t get a good look at her. That night though, he said to me, “Well, Mommy…now you know.” I asked him what it was I was supposed to know, and he quickly spat out, “How beautiful Hailey is!” and his face was beet red. I didn’t make fun of him, because I’d like for him to continue to tell me these things, but holy shit did Henry and I giggle about it later.

So yes, this is the story of how I finally got to see my kid’s crush in action. Totally fucking adorable and I would post a picture here but I have retained that lesson I learned awhile back and will instead just store that photo away somewhere un-Internet-ish.

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Fuck yeah, pizza!! Roller rink pizza is not exactly the best, but after you’ve been skating around in a dark oval for an hour, you start to think that nothing in the world could taste better. I ate that slice so fast, I don’t even think I tasted it. Then I was mad because I ordered pink lemonade (also a great album, holla if you’ve heard it) only because I didn’t know they had MELLO YELLO.

Fuck.

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Then I made Henry help me learn how to pose for pictures, and by that I mean how to smile naturally without looking like Jay Leno, a dead hooker or a stroke victim. Oh sure, I can take a decent selfie. That’s why selfies are the greatest invention of our time. Almost everyone can look attractive when they’re manipulating their own angles and using filters. Unfortunately, we can’t use selfies on drivers licenses and who the hell has a wedding album full of nothing but selfies? Not that I’m naive enough to think I’m getting married anytime soon, but it would be nice to not panic every time a lens is thrust in my face on my (mythical) big day.

We got one picture (above) that I thought was kind of decent, but Henry was rolling his eyes and mumbling about how he didn’t want to take anymore pictures of me because he can only look at my magnificent face for so long before being blinded by beauty.

J/K you guys. “Magnificent” is too large of a word for him.

Anyway, I was aiming for “innocent sweetheart with a provocative secret” in that pose.

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FEED ME MORE SOFT PRETZEL.

Other things to note about the rink:

  • I hated no one. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? I don’t think this has ever happened before?
  • I interacted with parents and didn’t turn to stone! It was actually not too bad and now they all know what a fucking dream on wheels I am.
  • I got to make my own sundae!!! Thanks, Birthday Boy and Family!
  • This rink has scooter races!!!!!! Asshole Henry wouldn’t team up with me because I’m too heavy to push and I couldn’t find my idiot son so I didn’t get to race, which is a shame because I would have won.
  • The DJ is pretty great and sounds like he actually is on the radio from 1965.
  • The only low point was when they played that ridiculous “Frozen” song and I purposely skated off the rink and sulked with my arms crossed because that song is extremely unskateable.
  • There was this one older broad there who was singularly bringing some Xanadu action up in there and I was obsessed with her. “I want to be like her when I grow up!” I wailed to Henry. And then there was an awkward moment when I was skating behind her and then she spun around and started skating backward, so it was like we were accidentally couple-skating. I got over it though because people thinking I was with that lady wouldn’t have been the worst thing to have happened, if you know what I’m saying.

TRA LA LA, MUTHAFUCKAS.

Seriously, I will be going back to this place with a quickness.

 

Jan 202014
 

20140115-143940.jpgOK, I have to confess to something: one of the reasons we haven’t been going roller skating anymore is because I hated how Henry became Man of the Motherfucking Hour as soon as we walked into that damn roller rink, and also the new owners irritate me. They’re super-religious (Sunday afternoon sessions are now primarily sound-tracked by Contemporary Christian music; no, just no) and it’s almost like their Christlike eyes give them x-ray vision into the upside  down cross seared into the inside of my bottom lip. I don’t know, they just make me uncomfortable, OK? They took over the joint and EVERYTHING CHANGED. I hate change.

But I love to roller skate, and there’s something about the suffocating winter months that make it almost feel like a necessity. Get me out of the fucking house!

Owner Wife took our admission tickets from us (it always seemed ridiculous to me that we buy tickets, walk two feet and then hand them over; what a waste of whatever admission tickets are made of) and I’m happy to report that she did not seem to remember us. Immediately, I spotted Paul, Henry’s Rink Ref Bromance, on the rink but he did not return my wave. I was pretty pissed off and Henry was like, “Well, you look a lot different now.” Um, I do? OH OK.

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Henry had to lace my skates, just like old times. The last time I was there, it was sans Henry so I had to do it myself. It was really taxing and it’s a miracle I had any energy left to skate. A true ridiculous miracle.

I couldn’t wait to see Roller DJ! It’s been awhile so I thought maybe he would lift me up like a tiny dancer (I’m tiny in comparison to him, OK?!) and then we would do some disgusting Saturday Night Fever on Wheels bullshit because that’s real life. But halfway to his DJ Cave, I skidded to a halt because it wasn’t him! It was the dumb owner, Jim, who apparently has been reborn as DJ Jimmy Jamz.

WHAT?

There’s something about that guy that makes me uncomfortable. Every interaction I’ve had with him has basically involved him telling me what to do re: buying my own skates. And if there’s one thing I hate besides Alaska, it’s being told what to do! DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO.

I’m going to have shirts made. FUCK.

Anyway, since that guy was DJing, I made Chooch request songs for me and he was happy to accommodate my whims for once. First, Chooch requested Paramore and was excited to skate-tromp back over to me on the rink to tell me, breathlessly, that, “HE’S GOING TO PLAY THE NEW ONE!” And so I got to have a brief 3-minute window of joy, skating to “Ain’t It Fun” (which is a fantastic skate song, you guys, and for a moment I felt like I was back in my prime, wearing my hot pink-wheeled white skates and breezing around Spinning Wheels in one of my many puffy-painted sweatshirts and leggings). But then that song ended and we had to suffer through the second Katy Perry “song” IN THIRTY MINUTES because it was some dumb bitch’s 7th birthday song.

Do you know how many Katy Perry songs, total, we had to endure in the 3-hour session? FOUR. That is fucking outrageous for ONE SKATE SESSION. As my Twitter friend Dave said, “That’s a lot for one year, let alone one skate session.” All of the best people are my Twitter friends.

And then “DJ Jimmy Jamz” played some god awful Christina Perri song that sounded like she was covering Crystal Gale singing at a funeral in 1976. Totally bizarre and I actually sat down because I couldn’t bring myself to continue skating to such a weird ballad.

Mostly, the session was sound-tracked by the usual Top 40 nonsense (NO BLACK EYE PEAS! OH HOW I CHEERED!), and also, inexplicably, a Queen song and Peter Gabriel’s “Solsbury Hill.” I sent Chooch to request another song, but when he came back, he yelled over top of Demi Lovato, “HE SAID ONLY ONE REQUEST PER SESSION!”

But it’s OK for him to play FOUR KATY PERRY SONGS?! WHAT.A.MOTHER.FUCKER.

Roller DJ never would have turned anyone away!

So I told Henry he had to request a song for me.

“Why can’t you do it yourself?” he asked.

“Because I don’t want to talk to that guy. It goes against all of my principles.”

(I know, right? What principles? HAHA.)

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Chooch was wearing his Bring Me the Horizon shirt and subsequently caught the eye of two older scene kids. I was really excited about that at first until I saw that one of them was wearing a Black Veil Brides shirt. Henry and I had a mild argument later because he said they were both girls but I swear to you that I saw the one with the undercut coming out of the men’s room. Plus, he looked like a boy.

So…..

I didn’t hate too many people there that day, although there was this one soccer mom who reminded me of one of the Catholic School Bitch-Moms. I think she forgot that she’s a mom and not Dorothy Hamill on roller skates, because she was doing these completely embarrassing turns around the rink where she would get down low and protrude her mom-jeaned ass. And then Fall Out Boy’s “Light ‘Em Up” came on and she pumping a fist in the air and singing along and all I could think of was, “You are the reason why I don’t like Fall Out Boy anymore, you stupid bitch.”

But again, she reminded me of one of the Catholic School Bitch-Moms so I MIGHT have been projecting.

She clipped me during 18+ skate and I was so fired up. Of course Henry defended her. “It was probably an accident,” he patronized. Fuck you, Soccer Mom Advocate! WHO’S SIDE ARE YOU ON?!

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Aside from a quick beverage break in the snack room, Chooch skated the whole time! Well, also except for the two Ladies Only and 18+ skates. This made me happy. And just so you know, we’re not one of those families that skate with linked arms in some lame Family Values Troika. We pretty much all skate solo, catching up to each other when we have some snide remark to make about someone.

I hate the people that skate in groups, by the way. They make it really hard to pass them without turning it into some violent game of Red Rover on Wheels.

And you know what’s even worse? These fucking plastic walkers-on-wheels that kids who can’t skate use to keep their balance. I mean, that’s all well and good but not when there are approximately 10 of them on the rink at all times. And the rink refs don’t do jack shit there, so even a simple skate around the rink turns into some goddamn Olympic slalom bullshit.

And even worse than that? A kid in a motorized wheelchair. I mean, yay! That’s actually really awesome, seeing a kid getting to enjoy himself on the roller rink (actually, he was pretty expressionless so “enjoying himself” might just be a wild assumption), but all I could think about was how I REALLY did not want to be that motherfucker who crashed into the handicapped kid at the roller rink. I’m a pretty good skater, but let me tell you something: there was one pile-up I saw that day and it was caused by one of the Really Good Skaters. NO ONE IS ABOVE FALLING ON A ROLLER RINK.

There was this cute little ginger kid there. I think his name was Damien. He kept wanting to talk to Chooch and me, which obviously made me suspicious. He caught me right when I was about to take the floor for the 18+ skate and, with his face scrunched up in doubt, asked, “Are you sure you’re 18 or older?” GINGER KID, I LOVE YOU.

Anyway, here’s a video montage of Chooch doing the Limbo, with cameos by some Old Guy who was the grandfather of Damien, I guess, and that dumb Afro’d rink ref who’s too busy showboating to actually do his goddamn job):

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Henry was surly because he wasn’t recognized. Also, that dumb motherfucker didn’t request a song for me. I guess it’s right up there with “proposing” and “having fun” on the Things Henry Can’t Do chart. Thanks, old man. I’ll remember that. You dumb motherfucker. (Also, I hated that bitch in the Little House on the Prairie braid.)

Mar 162012
 

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“There’s a deaf birthday party today,” the owner’s wife whispered to us as we walked in. “So if you see anyone acting weird on the rink, that’s why.”

“Aren’t there always people acting weird on the rink?” Henry retorted, making her shift uncomfortably because she clearly didn’t want to be standing there making fun of the clientele, even though we had totally been joking about amputation moments before.

Meanwhile, the prospect of sharing the rink with deaf people had left me positively giddy, like I was at a theme party. I love deaf people! (Just not Marlee Matlin. Actually, she’s the only deaf person I know.) Henry kept giving me warning glares, like I was going to do something stupid, as if I haven’t learned my lesson from the horrible blog backlash I’ve been getting in 2012.

If it hadn’t been for the occasional frantic signing, I wouldn’t have even noticed that there was anything unique going on. It seemed like a typical afternoon skate to me, complete with the rogue assholes skating on the diagonal, against traffic.

“God! Why isn’t Robin blowing her whistle?!” I yelled at Henry after nearly being plowed down by some directionally-challenged runt.

“Um, because they can’t HEAR it,” Henry reminded me.

If ever there was a time to use the IP Relay service for good!

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I don’t know what the hell Chooch’s problem was that afternoon, but when the first couple skate was announced, we made it around the rink once before he got all inexplicably angry at me and left me to skate alone to Luther Vandross’s “Here and Now,” and suddenly it was the 6th grade all over again and my crush du jour was dancing with some other stuffed-bra bimbo to that same song and to this day THAT IS WHAT I THINK ABOUT WHEN I HEAR THAT SONG. Which is often, actually, because if I’m not listening to Jonny Craig on repeat in my bedroom, the radio dial is set to soft rock. There, now you know something about my private bedroom life.

Oh, was I in a foul mood after that! Never has someone had a scowl so chiseled while being serenaded by Vandross. Toward the end of the song, Henry skated onto the rink and attempted to take my hand, oh valiant one that he is. I was like, “Quit trying to look romantic in front of your rink ref girlfriend.”

And that’s another reason I was in such a surly mood: Every time I would look around for Henry on the rink, I’d always find him over by the snack room, hyuking it up with either the owners or the employees and NEVER ON THE RINK WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND. And Chooch was off somewhere laying on a bench, being a pouter-bitch. I think he may have only skated for one song all afternoon. Oh holy shit was I livid. Nice to know I came to the rink to skate alone.

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Be a bitch, I don’t care!!

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He wouldn’t even stand near us for the Chicken Dance. THAT’S COLD.

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In other rink news, I have been having a big issue with the music there. I feel like it used to be a decent mix, with some nerve-grating tracks, but you have to expect that shit when the DJ is paid to cater to the masses of ordinary people who like shitty, ordinary music. When Ladies Only was announced, I said to myself, “Single Ladies or Barbie Girl in 3…2…1.”

It was “Barbie Girl.” Fuck that song. Fuck the other song too. This is the best us ladies get? Beyonce or motherfucking Aqua? Yeah, I still skated to it, but I WASN’T HAPPY ABOUT IT.

Men Only was next and it is almost exclusively “Boom Boom Pow” for the guys. I sat on the bench, gripping my phone and clenching my jaw. Deaf people are so lucky they get to avoid the Black Eyed Peas.

My ear drums were crying uncle at this point, so I skated over to Roller DJ’s music room and pleaded with him to play The Cure.

“Oh…I don’t think I have any Cure,” he said, but not making any moves to actually check. “I haven’t finished bringing all my music in yet, so I only have new stuff, or like, really old stuff.” Yes, I know — that fucking organ bullshit.

“You don’t even have ‘Just Like Heaven’?” I continued to press. What the fuck kind of DJ doesn’t at least have “Just Like Heaven”?! Supermarket sound systems have “Just Like Heaven” and those aren’t even real DJs!

I skated away in disgust and immediately this really terrible song came on that he plays every week.

“What the fuck kind of song is this!?” I shouted over the feel good “You’re my best friend” lyrics. I figured Henry would know, because it sounded like some goddamn Leif Garrett Afterschool Special track that he would have hitched up his tube socks and pranced around his bedroom to.

“It’s the theme song from the Pokemon movie,” Henry answered entirely too quickly.

RECORD SCRATCH.

Roller DJ has the motherfucking POKEMON MOVIE SOUNDTRACK but he looks at me all crazy when I request THE CURE?

Furthermore, why does Henry know this!?

So instead of skating dreamily to the sonic bouquet of black roses that is Robert Smith’s golden voice, I had to mope around on wheels to this bullshit excuse for a song:

Please try to imagine me skating around, shoulders all scrunched up in annoyance and a look of absolute horror and disgust on my face EVERY WEEK WHEN THE SAME KID (who is the best roller blader I’ve ever seen) REQUESTS THIS SONG. And on this particular afternoon, HE WASN’T EVEN SKATING TO IT!!!!

Oh for Christ’s sake.

Jan 112012
 

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I haven’t been rollerskating since I dragged a visiting Andrea there last September. We’re always so busy trying to get the most out of the fall weather that we just can’t fit rollerskating into our Sunday schedules. And then comes the fucking holiday season, which is even more manic. All throughout December, I kept saying to Henry, “I just can’t wait for this shit to be over so we can go back to skating regularly.” Thank god for winter! (I never in a million years would have imagined my fingers would type that horrible sentence.)

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Henry still has to lace my skates for me. And since Chooch actually wanted to come with us this time, he had to lace his too. I was angry that he laced Chooch’s first. What a fucking slap to the face.

Our absence did not go unnoticed by Roller DJ, who lectured and guilted me from his DJ Booth Throne. He kept reminding me that we could have come out on Saturday nights, but let me tell you something about Saturday nights at the roller rink: They fucking suck and remind me over and over again how much I really loathe the human race. It was a Saturday night when I took Andrea there in September and it was just miserable. There were some cool jammers there, but the ratio of decent humans to fucking idiotic teenagers was way too imbalanced to ever get me to come back. The whole time I was skating, I could just sense that they were ridiculing me,  like  I was in a bad anti-bullying promo on MTV. And then Andrea fell and they really did openly ridicule her.

“The clubs are still open after the Saturday night session is over! Come skate, then go to the club!” he retorted.

Because I really look like a club kid, I guess. Must be those shapeless jeans and hoodies I commonly wear to the rink.

“I usually have other obligations on Saturday nights,” I blurted out to Roller DJ, who was really applying the pressure.

“What’s his name?” he laughed.

“What? Oh my god, no! I’m not talking about a guy,” I yelled.

“So then what’s her name?” he asked under a glaze of chauvinistic slime.

“Goodbye, Roller DJ!” I half-sang, stepping onto the rink.

I really missed our talks.

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Chooch seemed pretty perplexed when he saw me loitering by the DJ booth.

“Mommy, who were you talking to?” he cried, probably because he’s so used to me shirking away from even the flimsiest social altercation. I explained to him Roller DJ’s purpose and told him that if there was a song he wanted to hear, he could ask Roller DJ to play it.

“Do you think he’ll play ‘Party Rock’?” he asked all seriously. “Go tell him to play it.” He’s going through a heavy (and alarming) LMFAO phase. I probably shouldn’t have bought him their most recent CD for Christmas, which came with a large temporary tattoo that has been on his stomach for the last week. He likes to flash it at school so his classmates will know that he’s sorry for party rocking.

“I’m sure he’s going to play it at some point,” I said before leaving Chooch in my dust. I had some serious child-slaloming to partake in.

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Something happened since the last time Chooch was there in August; I’m not sure what exactly, but it changed him. He actually wanted to skate as opposed to sitting on the bench, draining my phone’s battery. Most of the time, Henry wasn’t even holding his hand on the rink. And he was skating, really skating,  not stumble-walking along the wall like he would normally surrender to. I was so fucking proud. This of course is no thanks to me, because I’m always too preoccupied with skating as fast as I can to be bothered to slow down and lend my child a hand.

Henry is always saying, “Why don’t you teach him? He should learn from you,” clearly acknowledging that I’m the more excelsior skater in the family. But I’m always trying to remind him that I don’t know how to teach someone to skate, since I was born with all of the skillz. No one had to teach me! I just put skates one day and knew.

This always makes Henry roll his eyes. I guess the truth annoys him.

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Eventually, Chooch skated over to me and said, with an exasperated sigh, “Fine. Take me over to Roller DJ.” So I led him over to the music booth and Chooch yelled up to him, “Are you going to play Party Rock?” and just his tone alone was priceless, like he was so annoyed that he even had to ask such a stupid question.

“I got it coming on, buddy,” Roller DJ assured him, and Chooch made one more agrivated sigh before skating back out onto the rink. Sure enough, “Party Rock” was the next song to come on and Chooch erupted into this hearty cheer, but then caught himself and bit his lip in embarrassment, like he was ashamed or something. I was like, “No dude, BE HAPPY! CHEER! It’s OK!” It was the most awesome thing ever to witness my kid getting that first taste of music request fulfillment. The music is the best part of skating! I can still remember getting so excited to hear New Edition or Michael Jackson, Tears For Fears or Men At Work when I was in elementary school and tearin’ it  up at Spinning Wheels. Nothing* beats that rush of hearing the first couple of notes of your jam.

*(Except for maybe if Jonny Craig was there singing my jams to me personally.)

(Oh god, Jonny Craig.)

At my birthday party last summer, every single song that came on that night was one of my jams. It was the most amazing skating experience of my life. You don’t go to a regular skate session and get to do laps to Dance Gavin Dance or Billy Ocean. It was such a perfectly schizophrenic mix of music.

And now my kid is finally starting to get it.

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Earlier in the skate session, Chooch was sitting at the table right near the refreshment counter and decided quite early on that he couldn’t stand the way one of the employees was yelling “PIZZA!” every time a new slice was ready to be claimed. Eventually, he started mocking her loudly enough that we had to take him back out to the rink. He was SO PISSED about her pizza caterwauling and was acting like an elderly man about it. You have to admire a 5-year-old with balls.

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We were in the snack room again when Roller DJ announced that it was time for the next Couple Skate just as the opening bassline of Mr. Mister’s “Broken Wings” began pulsating through the roller drome. I lost my shit right then and there, in the snack room, in front of a herd of Orange Crush-stained children. Completely threw my arms up and yelled, “Are you fucking kidding me?” That is one of my favorite slow jams OF ALL TIME and I had to miss skating to it because when Chooch is with us, the term “couple” gets chucked right out thw window. Not that we’re the definition of it when we’re without him, but at least then we can actually pretend to skate close so I don’t have to miss out on cruising beneath rainbow track lights to some hot sex ballad.

When Chooch is with us, we have to forfeit our right to indulge in such frivolous acts of amour because we can’t very well leave a 5-year-old unattended on the bench. I mean, I suppose we could. But that’s not the sort of parental class I want to be a card-carrier for.

So instead, I sit around and stew and make my kid feel like shit for being born all because mama can’t skate to motherfucking Mr. Mister.

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Henry was irritated that he’d have to take off his hat at the rink, lest he get the whistle blown on him, so he started practicing taking it off in the car. God Henry, what’s the point of having Kristy McNichol locks if you’re not going to let them flow freely?

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The rink ref from my birthday party was there on Sunday. We exchanged pleasant smiles and a quick salutation as we whirled past each other, acknowledging that we did indeed recognize one another, but he and Henry totally bro’d out, slapped each other on the backs, exchanged knowing glances and head nods, acted like this was the sweetest reunion of their lives. Boys are so fucking weird.

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It happened during one of the 18 & up skates. Henry and Chooch were spectating from the bench as I skated around with all the other accomplished and capable adult skaters in an indulgent anti-children glory. That’s when I saw him, that bald-headed sweat fountain who kept trying to court me on quads during the last adult skate Henry and I attended last spring. Oh, I wanted to die. I just kept praying he didn’t see me, kept trying to make a beard with my hair to disguise myself, wishing for a lever to pull to open up the floor beneath me and shoot me off to a preferable hell.

Of course we made eye contact and he kept trying to skate up next to me like this was some low-budget student production of Xanadu and we were mere pawns in some greater love story. It’s easy to fall prey to the 1980s fluorescent romanticism of roller skating—Christ, HENRY looks attractive to me out there on the rink—but I was already duped by this flashy jammer once and I was not going to let him reel me in again.

Not even when he did a FLIP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RINK, YOU GUYS.

Didn’t do a thing for me.

Not a thing.

All the little pre-pubescent girls kneeling on the benches squealed in delight though.

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Imagine an afterschool special where some Opie motherfucker NARCs on all the cool kids smoking in the roller rink bathroom, starring Henry McNichol-hair as the Opie NARC motherfucker. That’s what flashes through my brain every time I see Henry rollerskating.

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I want to write about all the people there I hated, but I will keep it to myself, lest I get another disappointed Tweeter telling me they hope I find happiness someday. I apparently give off the impression that I am very embittered. But now that I think about it, there really weren’t too many people I hated. I mean, aside from the kids, but that’s a given. You are reading Oh Honestly, Erin, after all.

However, there was a lady when we first got there that gave me the stink eye a few times, causing me to say loudly to Henry, “That broad is going to look at me one more time…” which in turn made Chooch stand up, crane his head all around, and yell, “What broad, mommy? That one? Where, mommy? WHAT BROAD, MOMMY?”

Aside from learning that there probably won’t be any adult nights under the new ownership (I am so full of dislike over this), it felt so good to be there again, especially now that Chooch genuinely likes it and even said he wants to have his birthday party there. A bunch of Kindergartners (and Barb) sprawled out on the rink like pins in a round of human bowling—should be a good time.

Dec 242011
 

[Ed.Note: Apparently roller skating was all I had going for me this year, because these seem to be the only events I find worthy enough of an end-of-the-year repost.  So take a break from Christmas Eve freak-outs and read this shit. IT IS ALL I WANT FOR XMAS. Seriously, make your friends and bail bondsmen read this, too.]

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Henry and I went to the Adult Skate two weeks ago alone, kind of like a real life date, I guess. He didn’t even seem to mind when I blasted Dance Gavin Dance on the ride there while pantomiming in his face. (That’s his favorite part anyway, who’s he trying to kid.)

This particular adult skate was way less soul, more cracker because it wasn’t hosted by the Steel City Rollers. They did play my Return of the Mack song, though, which I’ve decided is my all-time favorite skating jam. But still — way too many whites. It was almost embarrassing. And maybe if I didn’t already have knowledge of the Steel City Rollers, I’d have been impressed by some of these Opies, but they just looked farcical out there. Especially the one older man who was fist-pumping aggressively to Queen.

Queen.

I was definitely the best white-girl skater there that night though, so I took satisfaction in that. And Henry even skated with me a lot, even to the tail end of “Rush, Rush,” and even after I admitted that I was pretending he was Jonny Craig. Henry is willing to role-play to keep me.

It became suddenly very apparent during this Adult Skate why Neville Roller Drome isn’t open all year. It was unseasonably warm that Sunday in April, and even at night the rink was trying to smoke us alive. The windows were open, and the exit door at the far end of the rink was propped open (which lured neighborhood children over to watch the grown-ups acting like teens on the rink; I raised the roof to them every time I skated past) but even then my whole body was moist with skate-sweat and I was starting to get scared of passing out. For the first time ever, Henry and I  spent more time sitting off-rink and downing fluids in the snack room than actually skating. That’s when it became apparent that we needed to find a new rink. (Though we’ll still be going to this one just  for the adult skates until the season ends.)

***

And that was the catalyst that led us about 40 minutes out of the city to Donora last Saturday. We let Janna come with us, even though she is A ROLLER BLADER.

Immediately upon entering the building, my tongue was slathered with a horrible taste as a Valley Skate-shirted woman darted around a corner and, in a very condescending tone (don’t listen to Henry’s version of this) asked, “Can I help you?” Her bug-eyes were sizing us up, realizing we were city folk, probably wondering what our motives were, like, why weren’t we at a martini bar?

I continued to stare back at her, making my eyes into slits of intimidating fuck-you-uppery, while Henry calmly told her we were there to skate.

I mean, I understand some people go to rinks to sell drugs to minors and have sex behind the skate rental counter, but bitch please. I have all the intensity of a professional roller dancer, but just to be clear: I AM HERE TO SHOW YOU WHAT A DREAM ON WHEELS LOOKS LIKE.

“Oh. Well it doesn’t start til 2.” And with that, we were made to go back out to the stench-laden vestibule, which was muggy as Hell thanks to the rainstorm performing directly outside the doors, where we had to stand with another family for an entire 10 minutes. (This will now be known as The First Thing That Pissed Me Off.)

And you know I was motherfucking that broad up and down, which prompted Henry to release his years-perfected elbow-clench (which, by the way, hurts but never makes me shut up). “She’s right on the other side of that window!” Henry hissed, pointing to the open plexi-glass of the ticket booth. “She can hear you!”

“OH I HOPE SHE CAN! THE DUMB WHORE BITCH!” I replied with my outdoor voice. (Which doubles as my Church Voice.) “LET’S JUST LEAVE! I DON’T WANT TO SKATE HERE ANYWAY, IT’S A DUMP.” (It was not actually a dump.)

Don’t start,” Henry seethed. And then he tried to block me from taking her picture. NICE TRY, ASSHOLE.

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Turns out (or, if this were Henry talking, “Come to find out”) she’s the daughter of the owner and also the go-to girl for purchasing skates, which is what I want to do, but now I’m not sure if it requires talking to her without the aid of a translator. Or a paper bag over my face.

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They got the Ode to a 1987′s Trapper Keeper carpet pattern down to a T. I completely approved, even though I tried to act disgusted by it at first when I was still hating the place.

The Second Thing That Pissed Me Off: The kid working the skate rental counter did not put enough attention into assuring that the skates he plucked from the wall were in my best interest. As soon as he handed them to me, I said (apparently to no one, since neither he nor Henry appeared to notice my presence), “I can already tell these are too big.”

And they were too big. So I threw a small fit, which Henry took as his cue to go get me a smaller size. Meanwhile, I decided to utilize the facilities before skating-up.

The bathroom was clean enough, but it was concerning how low the stall doors were. Any adult could have stood on the other side and watched from above as I proudly peed currents of rainbows and the blood of  Christ, which is also rainbow-colored and serves as an astringent for anytime a Katy Perry fan might lay a hand on you.

Which leads me to The Third Thing That Pissed Me Off: getting bested by a motherfucking sink.

A SINK, I SAID.

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After lathering my hands up real good (I’m not even so much of a germ freak), I held them beneath what I could only assume was a faucet and hopefully not the piece of farm equipment it actually looked like, and nothing happened. I fiddled around with the invisible knobs on top, banged around a bit with the heel of my hand and felt my face heat up as panic crept in.

I considered walking away, but I had this thick sheath of pink antibacterial soap on both hands and of course there was only a hand dryer at my disposal, nary a paper towel dispenser.

Suddenly, it was 2005 and I was in the lounge of a funeral home, waiting to be interviewed for a job. “Have some coffee while you wait!” I was told. But I couldn’t figure out how the coffee maker worked, which made me light-headed with anxiety. I didn’t really want coffee, but I was told to HAVE SOME COFFEE so I felt that I should do just that. I spent the whole time (at least a half hour, because the interviewer double-booked himself), slamming the carafe against the counter, sweating through my blouse, crying. Oh, I cried. And when I finally figured out its twisted puzzle, I was called back for the interview.

This sink was the new funeral home coffee maker, and I found my eyes were welling up much in the same manner. WHAT COULD I DO?! To my right, I noticed a water fountain. I tried to covertly assess how many people were nearby, and which of them appeared to be noticing this grown woman completely spazzing out in front of a sink (did I mention this sink was located OUTSIDE of the restrooms?)

I could rinse my hands in the water fountain, I thought, momentarily awash with hope. Just as I started casually walking over the fountain (to be clear, the Erin Version of “casually” is suspiciously clod-hopping with unbent knees while furtively glancing over my shoulders and drawing every last bit of attention to my person as single-handedly possible), a young girl skated over and took a hearty gulp from it.

I froze, like a priest caught with my hand up an altar robe, and she and I locked eyes for what seemed like an entire episode of that shitty television program where F-List “stars” pretend to dance. Then I decided to do that thing that people are always telling me about, where one human asks another human for help. So that is what I did.

“Oh! Here I’ll show you,” she said cheerfully, skating over to the trough. “You just step down on this,” and as she did so, glorious streams of water poured forth like a waterfall of promise. “And it’ll turn off on its own.”

I thanked her with way more enthusiasm than necessary, and she was like, “Um, OK,” then left me alone to have what I can only explain as my Virginal Hand-Washing Experience.

Meanwhile, I had been gone so long, Henry probably thought I was giving birth to my Internet Boyfriend’s lovechild in one of the stalls.

“You’ll never believe what happened to me over there,” I wheezed, out of breath from running the length of the building with jazz hands. I explained the situation and Henry, with a bemused smirk, said, “Let me guess—-did you have to step on something?”

“Fuck you,” I sighed in defeat, sitting down to put on my skates. Of course Henry would know! He’s so fucking old, ain’t no sink he hasn’t encountered.

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Once Henry scraped the gum off my wheel, I was set free and it only took me .0002 seconds to understand just how perfect the rink was. It was smooth as silk, twice the size of Neville Roller Drome, and even had a small children’s rink off to the side, so the idiots could stay over there and learn how to act like proper human beings.

The Fourth Thing That Pissed Me Off: Really awful music. In a three-song span, I was ear-assaulted with Miley Cyrus, Who Let the Dogs Out and Smashmouth. SMASHMOUTH, REALLY? I almost had an angry-cry session right there on the rink.

“It’s probably just because the session hasn’t officially started yet,” Henry reasoned, like he always does because he’s a professional father. Eventually, the lights went out and the colored track lights came on, at which point the rink was soundtracked by a mix of somewhat appropriate pop (there was only one Katy Perry song, I couldn’t be too hateful), 80s rock classics and a little bit of 70s soul for a little flavor.

An hour into the session, I noticed that there were still really only about 20 or so people on the rink, and most of those were children who actually knew how to skate well. There was only one incident where a boy younger than Chooch decided to change directions and came careening into me. We completely crashed into each other because I have little to no reactionary instinct, though I managed to stay on my feet while he rolled a good five times before coming to a stop.

My heart was racing.

“I COULD HAVE KILLED HIM! WHERE THE FUCK ARE THE RINK REFS?!” I screamed at Henry, because he was obviously responsible for the near-carnage. There are two rink refs at this joint, the one with bleached blond hair was nowhere to be found, and the other (the asshole who gave me my skates) was sitting in the corner of the rink with some kid, yukking it up.

UNACCEPTABLE.

“I’m saying something to that lazy asshole!” I yelled with determination, because it makes me mad when patrons do not abide by the rules of the roller rink. YOU DO NO SWITCH DIRECTION MID-STRIDE. There were literally no more than 15 people on the rink together at any given time, so collisions should not have been a worry.

“Please don’t,” Henry said quietly. So I didn’t, because we were newbies after all, and I guess I didn’t want to get black-listed right after we finally found The Perfect Rink. (It’s where I’m having my birthday party this summer, probably. It will be at the end of July so if you want to come, just tell me. I need all the people I can possibly get to pose as friends.)

After a minute or so, Henry added, “You should just be a rink guard.” (He refuses to call them rink refs like I do.)

“I KNOW RIGHT!” I yelled, even though he clearly didn’t READ MY BLOG a few weeks ago when I wrote about just that.

“No one would come on the rink.”

That’s actually a pretty good possibility.

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From some undisclosed location, the voice of Whore Bitch filled the rink and announced that it was Game Time. All fifteen of us gathered in the center of the rink for the Hokey Pokey, at which point we were all instructed by Whore Bitch to sit down for Spin the Pin. “The adults can remain standing,” Whore Bitch went on to say. “I know it can be kind of hard to get back up!” And she laughed, along with Henry who knows all about being old and unable to stand from a seated position. I sat with the kids because I’m not old. Janna and Henry stood like old people.

Spin the Pin was a crock of shit. The bowling pin was clearly about to stop while pointing at Chooch and me, but the tow-headed rink ref did something to make it keep spinning, I fucking swear to god, because he probably wanted a townie to win. So some other asshole got to win a free pass to come back, while Chooch and I sat there with our mouths twisted in the shape of WTF.

It was Katie’s birthday! I don’t know who she is, but she couldn’t skate for shit. She got a fucking purple balloon and I kept cheering and wishing her a Happy Birthday in a very exaggerated fashion, which was really pissing off Chooch because I think he thought I cared more about her birthday than his, which hasn’t even happened yet.

Then we played a game called Corners! How exciting! Along the rink, there were six numbers painted on the walls. Everyone had to split up and stand under a number. I went for 6, which was located above the DJ Booth. Whore Bitch was explaining where all the numbers were located and when she said, “And then number 6 is right above me!” I turned around just in time to make eye contact with her on the other side of the DJ booth glass. I don’t know why, but it hadn’t occurred to me this whole time that she was the DJ. Janna, Henry and Chooch were across the rink, standing under the number 1. Janna laughed when she saw my expression of extreme disdain.

One of the Rink Refs came out with a large felt die and had some asshole toss it. I’m chanting “666!” over and over, like some sugar-fed Satanist, and the die landed on 6! I was like, “HELL YES BITCHES! WOO!” but then Whore Bitch was all, “Oh, sad. Everyone under the number 6 is out! You must now leave the rink! Go stand somewhere over there.”

LONGEST SKATE OF MY LIFE. I had my head hung low, especially when I inevitably had to pass Henry and Janna, who were belly-laughing at my loss.

“I thought I was supposed to root FOR my number,” I hissed at them, before sitting sadly and alone on a blue carpeted bench.

Stupidest fucking game ever.

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Chooch got to roll the die and rolled Janna, Henry and himself right the fuck out so I made sure to jeer and heckle them loudly from my spot in exile. Assholes.

AT least they didn’t piss around with Limbo. I hate Limbo.

The rest of the time was All Skate, with an occasional Couples Skate thrown in (I tried to get Henry to twirl me but he was too embarrassed to have to publicly place his hands on me).

By the end of the session, I was a hot mess of frizzy hair and brow-sweat, which is how I look at Warped Tour. That’s how I know it was the best day ever. And I didn’t even find a single skater I wanted to hate! Except for Janna. Obviously.

Henry and I get along best at the roller rink, it’s become quite clear to me. I’m thinking—we have hardwood floors, so maybe if we just go about our homelife while wearing skates, we might actually be able to achieve full-scale Love.

Sep 252011
 

After our fortuitous trip to the no-named junk store in Tarentum, we drove back to Pittsburgh to meet Wendy for lunch at Ritter’s. She ended up getting caught in traffic and after refilling our drinks for the third time, the waitress  asked, “Do you want me to bring out some crackers?” I think she mostly meant to keep Chooch satiated, but both of us desperately whined, “Yes!” like we were being groomed for Sally Struthers’ next commercial shoot. Chooch ended up turning the crackers into confetti and our waitress—who was young, yet maternal—helped pick it out of my hair. I really liked that lady.

I liked anyone who takes care of me.

(I really need to be taken care of, I don’t know if you’ve noticed.)

Everyone had changed their minds a dozen times by the time Wendy arrived, but I was pretty secure with my omelette selection.

Until Wendy pointed out the special (which I never look at because that seems like such an Older Person thing to do) which was an omelette stuffed with kale and black eyed peas.

For some reason, I was intrigued by this.

“Do I like black eyed peas?” I asked Henry, who said “I don’t know!” in that stupid squeaky voice he uses when he’s angry that I’m speaking to him.

I shouldn’t have ordered this for two reasons:

  • I had to ask if I like a legume that one of my most hated pop groups is named after
  • It didn’t have cheese in it

Never mind the fact that I apparently hate kale and never knew it.

My omelette was a plated shit stain. But for some reason I still ate most of it and bitched with every bite.

Andrea thought it was SO FUNNY that I hated my omelette (apparently I hate kale*, too) that she nearly tripped over herself trying to take a picture of my plate of slop. My homefries and wheat toast were good at least.

(*In high school, I dated a guy whose last name was Kail and my mom absolutely hated him, even threatened to send me to an all girls school. One time, we were at the grocery store and I saw a bundle? batch? collection? of kale and tried to make her buy it. She almost started crying. So I don’t think I’ve ever actually had kale because my mom had a pretty hefty boycott on it.)

This was totally Wendy’s fault that I hated my breakfast. (I have to blame someone and I don’t think I’ve ever blamed her for anything yet, so congratulations—it’s your turn, Wendy!) She was trying to have an adult conversation with Andrea but kept getting distracted by the exaggterated “4-year-old eating brussels sprouts for the first time” faces I was pulling from across the table. Henry just ignored it. He’s really good at ignoring it.

Meanwhile, Henry ordered BEEF TIPS. Seriously! He’s not even trying anymore to avoid succumbing to Old Manhood. I noticed that some sort of beets were available as a side and while the waitress was waiting for him to decide, I was loudly pleading with him to order the beets. He was so agitated but the waitress was laughing, which made me love her even more.

God, I want to try to find her on Facebook now. I think we’d be great friends. She looks like someone who would help me cross the street.

I really need someone to help me cross the street.

My fantastic morning purchase served as an intentional centerpiece.  Henry groaned, but Andrea encouraged it. This is why we’re friends. That and the fact that she’s like a crackerjack when it comes to getting Chooch and me to stop fighting. Maybe if Henry wasn’t so adverse to buying us shit, his stress levels would plummet.

Afterward, Wendy, Andrea and Henry all fought over the check while Chooch and I kicked back and dreww pictures on his Drawing Thing. We didn’t have any money anyway.

Then it was time to go down the street to my beloved Vanilla Pastry Studio so Andrea could finally taste the cupcakes that inspired the sex metaphor-laden review that wound up on my blog a few years ago. They are still my favorite cupcakes, although Kaitlin’s come close to dominating.

We stayed there to eat our cupcakes, and Chooch embarrassed me in front of the one and only Sugar Fairy (the owner and my cupcake idol), but then he really started being an asshole so Henry had to whisk him away. God only knows where they went; I’d suggest an alley where Henry beat him in private, but everyone knows that Chooch is the one beating us, so no one would believe me anyway.

It was early evening by then, and Andrea wanted to take a little nap (read: needed a break from Chooch and me squabbling like siblings) so we parted ways with Wendy and dropped Andrea off at her hotel after specifically telling her that roller skating started at 8 and I wanted to pick her up by 7:30. She “conveniently” slept “longer” than she “intended” so we were a little late getting there and I was like, “This is the kind of thing that gets Janna Mexican neck-tied by me, just so you know!”

But then she fell within 60 seconds of stepping onto the rink so that made up for her “accidental” tardiness. Apparently, some teenage girl laughed at her when she had her spill and I wish I would have known that because I’m always looking for a reason to mouth-off to teenagers. Especially at the roller rink.

But Andrea at least got to meet Roller DJ, and I think that was really all she wanted to do anyway. She rested safely on the bench for the rest of the time and even made a friend who just happened to be one of the ladies proficient at that crazy roller line dancing bullshit that I so badly want to learn. Andrea kept trying to get me to go out there and ask for help, and she was about one can of Aquanet away from acting just like a pageant mom. I think she was embarrassed that I wasn’t the best one out there.

Andrea’s favorite part was when a Lil Wayne song came on. She had just seen the video for it the night before at my house and quickly bought his entire discography on iTunes.

We ended up leaving an hour early. It was too “middle school dance” for me, and in between pre-teen slaloming, I found myself making quite a few enemies. (Most notably this 8 foot tall Waldo-looking motherfucker who snubbed me during Men Only skate when I tried to slap his hand. Andrea suggested that he was just a germ-phobe and I was like, “WHY DO YOU HAVE TO DEFEND HIM!? WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON!?”) Anyway, we wound up at an Eat n Park, which was on Andrea’s list of places to dine in Pittsburgh. We were sitting near a booth of about 10 girls who MAYBE were high school freshmen. They were playing some truth or dare-type card game and we now know more about their sexual history than their combined gynecologists ever will. Andrea was shriveling up and next to tears; if she opens up a shelter for sexually-deviant teens, you’ll know why. And then she can have a booth at Warped Tour and I’ll be her “helper” who “passes out literature” in front of all the stages and in the back of all the tour buses.

Of course we got stuck behind the whole gaggle of them when we were got up to pay. One of the girls dropped the entire stack of cards and another walked by and purposely kicked at them, sending them sliding all over the floor. It reminded me so much of the type of friendship Janna and I have, that my heart got all warm.

Andrea was beyond obsessed with them at this point and even talked to Colby the cashier about them.

“Do you know them?” she asked. And then we had to listen to him bore us with details of which ones he knows and how he knows them.

It was about 11:30 when we got back to Andrea’s hotel room. I’m surprised she let me come back at all; I figured she had a long night of praying the rosary for the Eat n Park girls.

We drank champagne and I “accidentally” smoked some of her cigarettes. (I can’t be around Camels. They were my absolute jam back in the day.) We talked about absolutely everything from depressing shit to my friend who wanted to “bang” me at the cannon memorial down the street from my house and when his wife got pregnant, he texted me: “We’re having a baby. :(” so now Andrea adds a “baby” behind every frowny face she texts me as an homage to our night of champagne-fueled conversation.

The next thing I knew, I was rolling in my house after 4:00 AM to find Henry methodically in his underwear, mopping up cat pee. He didn’t seemed too alarmed that I was just coming home.

“It’s like being married again,” he mumbled.

Aug 122011
 

Guest List:

  • Henry & Chooch (they were uninvited a multitude of times before Sunday)
  • Janna
  • Blake & Shannon
  • Robbie & Karen
  • Wendy
  • Mary
  • Barb
  • Jeannie
  • Kristen
  • Sean & Leon
  • Kaitlin
  • Glenn & Amanda
  • Regina
  • Judy
  • Kelly
  • Brian, Sam, Steph & Zac
  • Gina & Elissa
  • Laura & Mike
  • Kara, Chris & Harland
  • Kristy, Nate & Sarah
  • Bill, Natasha & Demi
  • Jimmy Wenger
  • Bill & Deena
  • and of course at least 20 no-shows because I’m the most unpopular girl on the block & people suck.

Glenn would rather be riding the Wacky Worm.

I have been thinking about what to write all week and I’ve decided that I just can’t put it into words. It was literally like reliving my childhood, from the skates on my feet to the music in the rink to the Orange Crush in my mouth. And being surrounded by my closest friends, most of whom surprised me by actually skating (even Barb!), it was just the best feeling ever. It totally made up for the last several lackluster birthdays.

There were some downsides:

  1. Not having anyone there who knew how to use my camera. I just wanted to skate, not take pictures! Janna gave it a whirl and managed to get some salvageable shots out of my finicky Canon (he only loves me) but most of the guests were lucky and escaped being photographed so it looks like only 5 people came to Loser Erin’s Pathetic Party.
  2. The rink is not air-conditioned. Hello, it’s August. I was the true definition of Hot Mess because when I skate, I SKATE. So I got to transfer sweat-through-hugs to all of my dry guests. I mean, the people who see me every day are used to me looking like shit, so at least this wasn’t a new look for them. And it was obvious that Chooch was my kid because he and I looked like we had both just squeegeed a giant’s armpit. We were the sweatiest kids there, no contest.
  3. My inability to convince God to let me operate his celestial Claw Machine in order to grab all of my favorite faraway friends and plop them down at the Neville Roller Drome. You know who you guys are.
  4. Henry didn’t wear his hat like Jonny Craig.

When we arrived at the rink, Henry went to the side entrance to let the owners know we were there a little early. He came back to the front door and asked, “Why do they think this is your graduation party?”

Well, because a few weeks ago, when I was ironing out details with the owner on the phone, we were just about wrapping up the conversation when he said, “And hey, congratulations again on graduating!”

A normal person in my shoes would have corrected him and said, “Oh, no. This is for a birthday, not graduation.” You know, set him straight right away.

Me? I simply said, “Thanks!” and hung up.

And hey, I’ve never graduated from anything since pre-school, so maybe I kind of liked the idea of being a graduate for a night, alright?

Harland, Chris and Kara, post-getting yelled at by Roller DJ for breaking the rink rules.

Mary, Barb and Wendy. This might have been after Barb’s “spill.” I even offered to knock down Janna to take some of the heat off her.

Robbie & Karen, blasphemous roller bladers.

Bill, whom I met when we came to last year’s Pie Party with my friend Shannon. I thought it was so awesome of him to come to my birthday party. He brought his friend Deena who skated for a minute before yelling “OH THIS AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN!” and stormed out. I don’t know where she went, but she never came back. That was the most drama my party saw, however, which is unusual for an Erin Rachelle Kelly affair.

Rink Ref was trying to teach me strides, which is great and all, but I didn’t ask.

“Um, do you like give lessons or anything?” I asked, hoping we could schedule something for a time when I wasn’t hosting a party.

“Yeah, I’m giving you one right now!”

“OK, because I really just want to skate fast, you know?” I said, itching to be set loose.

Rink Ref sighed and said, “Go. Enjoy your party.”

God! Thank you!

I caught Henry skating really close to him later on. I fell into place with them and hoped to hear some juicy convo, like maybe what really happened the night Darrel Fell!, but it sounded kind of boring so I lost interest after about 4 seconds like any other time Henry is talking. I later asked Henry what he was doing with him and he said, “Networking.” Seriously? Doesn’t he know that’s what Facebook is for? People don’t actually talk to each other’s faces anymore.

And what kind of networking could one seriously accomplish with a rink ref?

Back in March, I approached Kaitlin, baker goddess, about making me a custom cake for my birthday. I have wanted a Robert Smith cake for as long as I could remember and had it all laid out in my mind exactly how it would look.

Kaitlin exceeded my expectations. When she walked into the rink with it (while The Cure’s “The Baby Screams” was playing, no less!), I nearly cried (I actually did later that night though when I read her birthday card). It was everything I had envisioned, minimalistic and instantly recognizable. Chooch ran by, paused, and said, “Oh it’s Robert” and then kept running.

Oh you guys, that cake. It was hands down the best birthday cake I have ever had. Fuck Bethel Bakery, it’s Zia’s Custom Desserts from here on out. (Seriously, if you live anywhere even remotely close to Western Pennsylvania, you’ll want to get a cake from her. Or macarons!) Beneath the beautiful Robert Smith circa-1987 veneer was layer upon layer of moist vanilla cake and raspberry filling. It was worth being pulled off the rink for. Even if I was forced to stand in front of everyone, dripping sweat all over my Wacky Worm shirt, while the entire snack room serenaded me. Worst part about birthday parties. I never know what to do! I mean, I’m awkward enough without a roomful of people singing in my face, thanks.

So I took pictures to make them feel awkward, too.

Glenn’s yawning, which isn’t surprising. He IS 50, after all. Also, a pretty great indicator of how much fun people were having. :(

After Henry cut paper-thin slices of cake for everyone (which I bitched about until later when I saw that there was no cake leftover and then quickly understood Henry’s stingy-slicing reasoning; also I think people had seconds and eighths), it was time for me to open presents! Chooch came over and tried to do this for me, at which point I turned into bitchy 12-year-old sister Erin and yelled, “GO AWAY THEY’RE MINE NOT YOURS” so he crossed his arms over his chest and ran out of the room with Barb calling after him, “Wait! I have something for you too!”

Record scratch.

She didn’t bring something for me to his party in May.

“Well, I thought you might be more mature than that,” Barb said, but that was right when I realized I was missing “Easy Lover” and started unwrapping faster.

My friend Bill, who was the Kaitlin of my old job (the one with Tina and Eleanore!) baked me BROWNIES. I was like, “Oh shit, Bill’s brownies!” and immediately glued one to my paw. I spent the rest of the time opening presents with a brownie in my hand, even though Barb kept saying, “You know you can put the brownie down, right?”

Not gon’ happen!

I got some great gifts! But really I was just happy that people showed up. That was all I really needed. (Ha-ha, what a lie. I wanted presents, all of the presents.)

Jimmy Wenger! He sat next to Jeannie, who strategically wore a dress so she wouldn’t be tempted to put skates on. Then someone pointed out that Blake’s girlfriend Shannon was wearing a dress & skating, foiling Jeannie’s plan.

Three hours went by way too quickly. (Everyone else: “God, three hours at the rink is a fucking long ass time! Shoot it dead!”) I’m happy that some people showed up and skated and I hope everyone had as much fun as I did, because it was like being a kid again, skating to all the songs that molded me into who I am today, underneath twinkling rainbow lights with all of my favorite people (plus Henry). And that is exactly what I needed after the week I had.

To summarize: it was fun and I was the best skater there.

I should have invited the Steel City Rollers, though. Fuck.

Jun 032011
 

I wasn’t looking for love at Soul Skate. It was hotter than Snookie’s kooka in that joint and really all I was focused on was not melting into a flesh-puddle while rollin’ to Justin Timberlake’s “Summer Love,” which I never realized just how truly anthemic that song really is until I had quads laced to my feet. (Also, Alicia Key’s “I’m Ready” made me almost consider giving Henry a sex-coupon, which never would have happened outside of a roller rink.)

And then I saw him: the rink lights bouncing off his smooth-shaven pate, the slick way he b-boy’ed around the rink with the best of the soul skaters, spinning tricks and commanding attention.

Holy shit, he was exactly my type! Which is: not Henry.

AND THEN HE DID A SPLIT, YOU GUYS.

To put it simply, motherfucker had it going on. (Does anyone still say that, other than En Vogue fans circa 1993?) I started imagining all the scenarios in which we paired up for couple’s skate, our roller passion so undeniably palpable that disco balls and T’Pau records birthed between us.

Of course, I told Henry immediately. I always alert him when there is someone within close proximity that I want to reverse-rape. He has the extreme misfortune of not only being my boyfriend, but also best friend, and sometimes those lines get a little more than blurred.

Since the rink was doubling as a sweat-tent, I had to take generous breaks to stand by the open side-door and wring out my tank top which was already the sheerest material I could morally get away with wearing in public, but skating around that rink on a ninety-degree day made me feel like I forgot to leave my burqa at home. I was sitting on the bench, across from the open door, tweeting faux love notes about this totally skilled skater when I looked up and saw him.

He was standing across from me by the door.

He smiled.

I smiled back.

He said something indecipherable, presumably about the heat, and I laughed and nodded, which is my go-to when I have no clue what’s going on. In my mind, I pretended he was wondering out loud why a hottie like me was ringless. And in my mind, I was saying back, “You think you’re sweaty now, baby?” The next thing I knew, Henry was sidling up next to me and my prey skated away.

“DID YOU SEE HIM TALKING TO ME?” I squealed.

Henry rolled his eyes.

“If he asks me to skate with him, will you let me?” I pleaded, adopting my best whiny-daughter tone.

Henry’s reaction is as follows:

We were still sitting there when Roller Crush skated by backward. He smiled at me, and I smiled back coyly then buried my head in Henry’s belly to smother my laughter.

“You know he’s been going out of his way to skate near you,” Henry mumbled. NO, I DID NOT KNOW THAT! God, Henry is a good wing-man.

So that was fun for awhile, making eye contact and then looking away bashfully, like suddenly I was in 3rd grade again with my big blond ponytail, flirting with boys from other schools at skating parties. (I was decidedly not cute at all anymore after third grade, so good thing I got in all that pre-teen flirting while boys could still look at me without vomiting.)

But about 45-minutes later, Henry and I were taking another break when Roller Lover came over, stood right beneath the pulsating speaker, and started talking to me as though Henry was completely invisible. (Which is completely acceptable, actually.) Again, I could barely hear what he was saying, but I heard enough to make me want to punch all those lustful feelings right back up into my ‘gina. He opened his mouth and braggadocio projectiled out on waves of squirrel-voiced bullshit. Through snaggled teeth, he told me about how he can “skate with the best of them” and how he and his ex-girlfriend were basically the King and Queen of shadow-skating. (Minus-87,000 points for bringing up an ex-girlfriend in the first sentence. Christ, that was annoying, a total turn-off.)

(Oh, look at me, acting like my boyfriend of 10 years wasn’t sitting right next to me.)

He said he goes to all of the Rollers’ parties, but this was the first time I have ever seen him.

And then he splashed sweat on me.

Henry at this point had completely checked-out of the conversation and was staring wistfully over my shoulder. I kept trying to make eye contact with him so he could bail me out, but I have a feeling he was purposely ignoring me. He does that sometimes, like all the time.

“You know what song I love to skate to? Return of the Mack,” Roller Disappointment said, almost smugly, like he was hoping to stump me.

“Um, yeah, that’s only like the best song ever to skate to,” I returned in my own smug tone.

“I’m going to see if the DJ will play it for us,” he said excitedly, and skated off. I was going to mention that Roller DJ ALWAYS plays that song and shouldn’t he know that since he comes to all of the soul skates, but I let him go because that was my way out. I slipped back onto the rink so fast, I almost fell backward. I glanced over my shoulder and saw that Roller Braggart was now sitting down by the rest rooms, changing t-shirts. I imagine his other one had to be half-dry by then, since he wrung most of it out on me while we were talking. A drop of his sweat even got near my lip and just typing that out made me dry-heave all over again.

Now that my skating goggles had been forcefully adjusted, I began to see that he actually had no rhythm at all. Sure, he could stunt better than most of the guys on the rink that night, but he had no flow whatsoever. Total skate-jam foul. (Look at me, like I’m some fucking Beyonce-replica on quads.)

Roller Doof sniffed me out later when I was standing by the door, letting the breeze blow under my shirt. During this painful conversation, I learned that he’s from Wheeling, which is apropos because it’s “WHEELing, GET IT? ROLLER SKATES HAVE WHEELS?” he shouted at my face. Yeah, I got it, Roller Perspiration, now back up off me.

Henry was clear on the other side of the rink, looking at the skate display that hasn’t changed since we started going there in January.

“Return of the Mack” came on just then.

“There’s our song!” he yelled, smiling all goofily. And that is how I ended up skating with a man who was not Henry. I can’t not skate to “Return of the Mack!” That’s the epitome of roller skate theme songs. So if it just so happens that some crazed man is skating alongside me, then so be it. I put myself in my Professional Skater zone and cruised along, muttering several “I bet!”s every now and then in reply to his tall tales. Then I noticed Henry back on the rink so I slowed my pace, and Roller Creeper kept going, not noticing my absence.

“What the fuck!” I yelled to Henry when he caught up with me. It was like he just came back from an “I Told You So” facial. Every last inch of his visage was silently admonishing me. Finally he said, “You asked for it.”

The rest of the night turned into a cat and mouse chase. Roller Stalker would literally cut across the rink just so he could skate beside me, causing me to panic and increase my pace, wedging a wall of soul skaters between us. I’m totally going to just stick with the black people from now on.

Here he is, in his third t-shirt of the night. My hand-drawn heart oozes sarcasm.

We could have taken the night, been a tour du force under the rainbow track lights, and then rode home together on the back of a Ke$ha-sponsored unicorn. If only he hadn’t opened his mouth.

And now I leave you with Mark Morris’s seminal hit “Return of the Mack.”

Apr 192011
 

20110417-094220.jpg

Henry and I went to the Adult Skate two weeks ago alone, kind of like a real life date, I guess. He didn’t even seem to mind when I blasted Dance Gavin Dance on the ride there while pantomiming in his face. (That’s his favorite part anyway, who’s he trying to kid.)

This particular adult skate was way less soul, more cracker because it wasn’t hosted by the Steel City Rollers. They did play my Return of the Mack song, though, which I’ve decided is my all-time favorite skating jam. But still — way too many whites. It was almost embarrassing. And maybe if I didn’t already have knowledge of the Steel City Rollers, I’d have been impressed by some of these Opies, but they just looked farcical out there. Especially the one older man who was fist-pumping aggressively to Queen.

Queen.

I was definitely the best white-girl skater there that night though, so I took satisfaction in that. And Henry even skated with me a lot, even to the tail end of “Rush, Rush,” and even after I admitted that I was pretending he was Jonny Craig. Henry is willing to role-play to keep me.

It became suddenly very apparent during this Adult Skate why Neville Roller Drome isn’t open all year. It was unseasonably warm that Sunday in April, and even at night the rink was trying to smoke us alive. The windows were open, and the exit door at the far end of the rink was propped open (which lured neighborhood children over to watch the grown-ups acting like teens on the rink; I raised the roof to them every time I skated past) but even then my whole body was moist with skate-sweat and I was starting to get scared of passing out. For the first time ever, Henry and I  spent more time sitting off-rink and downing fluids in the snack room than actually skating. That’s when it became apparent that we needed to find a new rink. (Though we’ll still be going to this one just  for the adult skates until the season ends.)

***

And that was the catalyst that led us about 40 minutes out of the city to Donora last Saturday. We let Janna come with us, even though she is A ROLLER BLADER.

Immediately upon entering the building, my tongue was slathered with a horrible taste as a Valley Skate-shirted woman darted around a corner and, in a very condescending tone (don’t listen to Henry’s version of this) asked, “Can I help you?” Her bug-eyes were sizing us up, realizing we were city folk, probably wondering what our motives were, like, why weren’t we at a martini bar?

I continued to stare back at her, making my eyes into slits of intimidating fuck-you-uppery, while Henry calmly told her we were there to skate.

I mean, I understand some people go to rinks to sell drugs to minors and have sex behind the skate rental counter, but bitch please. I have all the intensity of a professional roller dancer, but just to be clear: I AM HERE TO SHOW YOU WHAT A DREAM ON WHEELS LOOKS LIKE.

“Oh. Well it doesn’t start til 2.” And with that, we were made to go back out to the stench-laden vestibule, which was muggy as Hell thanks to the rainstorm performing directly outside the doors, where we had to stand with another family for an entire 10 minutes. (This will now be known as The First Thing That Pissed Me Off.)

And you know I was motherfucking that broad up and down, which prompted Henry to release his years-perfected elbow-clench (which, by the way, hurts but never makes me shut up). “She’s right on the other side of that window!” Henry hissed, pointing to the open plexi-glass of the ticket booth. “She can hear you!”

“OH I HOPE SHE CAN! THE DUMB WHORE BITCH!” I replied with my outdoor voice. (Which doubles as my Church Voice.) “LET’S JUST LEAVE! I DON’T WANT TO SKATE HERE ANYWAY, IT’S A DUMP.” (It was not actually a dump.)

Don’t start,” Henry seethed. And then he tried to block me from taking her picture. NICE TRY, ASSHOLE.

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Turns out (or, if this were Henry talking, “Come to find out”) she’s the daughter of the owner and also the go-to girl for purchasing skates, which is what I want to do, but now I’m not sure if it requires talking to her without the aid of a translator. Or a paper bag over my face.

20110417-094251.jpg

They got the Ode to a 1987’s Trapper Keeper carpet pattern down to a T. I completely approved, even though I tried to act disgusted by it at first when I was still hating the place.

The Second Thing That Pissed Me Off: The kid working the skate rental counter did not put enough attention into assuring that the skates he plucked from the wall were in my best interest. As soon as he handed them to me, I said (apparently to no one, since neither he nor Henry appeared to notice my presence), “I can already tell these are too big.”

And they were too big. So I threw a small fit, which Henry took as his cue to go get me a smaller size. Meanwhile, I decided to utilize the facilities before skating-up.

The bathroom was clean enough, but it was concerning how low the stall doors were. Any adult could have stood on the other side and watched from above as I proudly peed currents of rainbows and the blood of  Christ, which is also rainbow-colored and serves as an astringent for anytime a Katy Perry fan might lay a hand on you.

Which leads me to The Third Thing That Pissed Me Off: getting bested by a motherfucking sink.

A SINK, I SAID.

20110417-094403.jpg

After lathering my hands up real good (I’m not even so much of a germ freak), I held them beneath what I could only assume was a faucet and hopefully not the piece of farm equipment it actually looked like, and nothing happened. I fiddled around with the invisible knobs on top, banged around a bit with the heel of my hand and felt my face heat up as panic crept in.

I considered walking away, but I had this thick sheath of pink antibacterial soap on both hands and of course there was only a hand dryer at my disposal, nary a paper towel dispenser.

Suddenly, it was 2005 and I was in the lounge of a funeral home, waiting to be interviewed for a job. “Have some coffee while you wait!” I was told. But I couldn’t figure out how the coffee maker worked, which made me light-headed with anxiety. I didn’t really want coffee, but I was told to HAVE SOME COFFEE so I felt that I should do just that. I spent the whole time (at least a half hour, because the interviewer double-booked himself), slamming the carafe against the counter, sweating through my blouse, crying. Oh, I cried. And when I finally figured out its twisted puzzle, I was called back for the interview.

This sink was the new funeral home coffee maker, and I found my eyes were welling up much in the same manner. WHAT COULD I DO?! To my right, I noticed a water fountain. I tried to covertly assess how many people were nearby, and which of them appeared to be noticing this grown woman completely spazzing out in front of a sink (did I mention this sink was located OUTSIDE of the restrooms?)

I could rinse my hands in the water fountain, I thought, momentarily awash with hope. Just as I started casually walking over the fountain (to be clear, the Erin Version of “casually” is suspiciously clod-hopping with unbent knees while furtively glancing over my shoulders and drawing every last bit of attention to my person as single-handedly possible), a young girl skated over and took a hearty gulp from it.

I froze, like a priest caught with my hand up an altar robe, and she and I locked eyes for what seemed like an entire episode of that shitty television program where F-List “stars” pretend to dance. Then I decided to do that thing that people are always telling me about, where one human asks another human for help. So that is what I did.

“Oh! Here I’ll show you,” she said cheerfully, skating over to the trough. “You just step down on this,” and as she did so, glorious streams of water poured forth like a waterfall of promise. “And it’ll turn off on its own.”

I thanked her with way more enthusiasm than necessary, and she was like, “Um, OK,” then left me alone to have what I can only explain as my Virginal Hand-Washing Experience.

Meanwhile, I had been gone so long, Henry probably thought I was giving birth to my Internet Boyfriend’s lovechild in one of the stalls.

“You’ll never believe what happened to me over there,” I wheezed, out of breath from running the length of the building with jazz hands. I explained the situation and Henry, with a bemused smirk, said, “Let me guess—-did you have to step on something?”

“Fuck you,” I sighed in defeat, sitting down to put on my skates. Of course Henry would know! He’s so fucking old, ain’t no sink he hasn’t encountered.

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Once Henry scraped the gum off my wheel, I was set free and it only took me .0002 seconds to understand just how perfect the rink was. It was smooth as silk, twice the size of Neville Roller Drome, and even had a small children’s rink off to the side, so the idiots could stay over there and learn how to act like proper human beings.

The Fourth Thing That Pissed Me Off: Really awful music. In a three-song span, I was ear-assaulted with Miley Cyrus, Who Let the Dogs Out and Smashmouth. SMASHMOUTH, REALLY? I almost had an angry-cry session right there on the rink.

“It’s probably just because the session hasn’t officially started yet,” Henry reasoned, like he always does because he’s a professional father. Eventually, the lights went out and the colored track lights came on, at which point the rink was soundtracked by a mix of somewhat appropriate pop (there was only one Katy Perry song, I couldn’t be too hateful), 80s rock classics and a little bit of 70s soul for a little flavor.

An hour into the session, I noticed that there were still really only about 20 or so people on the rink, and most of those were children who actually knew how to skate well. There was only one incident where a boy younger than Chooch decided to change directions and came careening into me. We completely crashed into each other because I have little to no reactionary instinct, though I managed to stay on my feet while he rolled a good five times before coming to a stop.

My heart was racing.

“I COULD HAVE KILLED HIM! WHERE THE FUCK ARE THE RINK REFS?!” I screamed at Henry, because he was obviously responsible for the near-carnage. There are two rink refs at this joint, the one with bleached blond hair was nowhere to be found, and the other (the asshole who gave me my skates) was sitting in the corner of the rink with some kid, yukking it up.

UNACCEPTABLE.

“I’m saying something to that lazy asshole!” I yelled with determination, because it makes me mad when patrons do not abide by the rules of the roller rink. YOU DO NO SWITCH DIRECTION MID-STRIDE. There were literally no more than 15 people on the rink together at any given time, so collisions should not have been a worry.

“Please don’t,” Henry said quietly. So I didn’t, because we were newbies after all, and I guess I didn’t want to get black-listed right after we finally found The Perfect Rink. (It’s where I’m having my birthday party this summer, probably. It will be at the end of July so if you want to come, just tell me. I need all the people I can possibly get to pose as friends.)

After a minute or so, Henry added, “You should just be a rink guard.” (He refuses to call them rink refs like I do.)

“I KNOW RIGHT!” I yelled, even though he clearly didn’t READ MY BLOG a few weeks ago when I wrote about just that.

“No one would come on the rink.”

That’s actually a pretty good possibility.

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From some undisclosed location, the voice of Whore Bitch filled the rink and announced that it was Game Time. All fifteen of us gathered in the center of the rink for the Hokey Pokey, at which point we were all instructed by Whore Bitch to sit down for Spin the Pin. “The adults can remain standing,” Whore Bitch went on to say. “I know it can be kind of hard to get back up!” And she laughed, along with Henry who knows all about being old and unable to stand from a seated position. I sat with the kids because I’m not old. Janna and Henry stood like old people.

Spin the Pin was a crock of shit. The bowling pin was clearly about to stop while pointing at Chooch and me, but the tow-headed rink ref did something to make it keep spinning, I fucking swear to god, because he probably wanted a townie to win. So some other asshole got to win a free pass to come back, while Chooch and I sat there with our mouths twisted in the shape of WTF.

It was Katie’s birthday! I don’t know who she is, but she couldn’t skate for shit. She got a fucking purple balloon and I kept cheering and wishing her a Happy Birthday in a very exaggerated fashion, which was really pissing off Chooch because I think he thought I cared more about her birthday than his, which hasn’t even happened yet.

Then we played a game called Corners! How exciting! Along the rink, there were six numbers painted on the walls. Everyone had to split up and stand under a number. I went for 6, which was located above the DJ Booth. Whore Bitch was explaining where all the numbers were located and when she said, “And then number 6 is right above me!” I turned around just in time to make eye contact with her on the other side of the DJ booth glass. I don’t know why, but it hadn’t occurred to me this whole time that she was the DJ. Janna, Henry and Chooch were across the rink, standing under the number 1. Janna laughed when she saw my expression of extreme disdain.

One of the Rink Refs came out with a large felt die and had some asshole toss it. I’m chanting “666!” over and over, like some sugar-fed Satanist, and the die landed on 6! I was like, “HELL YES BITCHES! WOO!” but then Whore Bitch was all, “Oh, sad. Everyone under the number 6 is out! You must now leave the rink! Go stand somewhere over there.”

LONGEST SKATE OF MY LIFE. I had my head hung low, especially when I inevitably had to pass Henry and Janna, who were belly-laughing at my loss.

“I thought I was supposed to root FOR my number,” I hissed at them, before sitting sadly and alone on a blue carpeted bench.

Stupidest fucking game ever.

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Chooch got to roll the die and rolled Janna, Henry and himself right the fuck out so I made sure to jeer and heckle them loudly from my spot in exile. Assholes.

AT least they didn’t piss around with Limbo. I hate Limbo.

The rest of the time was All Skate, with an occasional Couples Skate thrown in (I tried to get Henry to twirl me but he was too embarrassed to have to publicly place his hands on me).

By the end of the session, I was a hot mess of frizzy hair and brow-sweat, which is how I look at Warped Tour. That’s how I know it was the best day ever. And I didn’t even find a single skater I wanted to hate! Except for Janna. Obviously.

Henry and I get along best at the roller rink, it’s become quite clear to me. I’m thinking—we have hardwood floors, so maybe if we just go about our homelife while wearing skates, we might actually be able to achieve full-scale Love.

Mar 102011
 

I realized on Sunday that I miss football season. It kept all the idiots inside on Sundays and let me enjoy life without the promise of asphyxiating on humanity. And apparently, the skating rink is where all the people want to be when suffering football withdrawal, because that fucking rink has been packed tighter than Clay Aiken’s asshole for the last few weeks. In fact, the one week we went, the parking lot alone was so crowded that we promptly left and went bowling instead.

This past Sunday, we decided to grin and bear it. I knew as soon as we walked in that it was going to be bad news; maybe it was the immediate and shrill cacophony of dolphins on a sugar rush which tipped me off to that.

There were kids everywhere, and they were fucking HYPER, like eight orphanages had planned a field trip on the same day and then set off porridge bombs and false hope of adoption. Totally unacceptable. There was almost nowhere to sit, and some kids were sprawled out in the middle of the walkway like they fucking own the joint, which made me tremble with territoriality.

And of course, they all came paired with douchey parents. Before my skates were even laced, I had already made twenty-three enemies, unbeknownst to any of them. No, you are NOT excused, you mom-jeaned tart.

I made it around the prepubescent slalom course six times at best before slowing to a stop next to Henry (who was patiently pulling Chooch along near the wall) and saying, loud enough for all to hear, “I’m done! There are way too many kids here. THEY ARE RUINING IT. KIDS RUIN EVERYTHING. FUCK!” Henry just looked at me patiently, waiting for me to put a cork in my effervescing rant bottle. I expected him to concur, to say something like, “Yeah, fuck these bitch ass kids. Let’s string ’em up in the corn field and let the Lord take over!” But there was no massaging of my neuroses, so I skated off the rink in a huff, staked out an empty spot on the bench to squeeze my fat ass into, and proceeded to vent to all of my imaginary friends on Twitter. I did a lot of angry exhaling too, because I needed everyone around me to know that I was extremely disgusted by their infiltration of my roller rink, which I purchased 49 years ago in a secret sale before I was even born, that is how awesome I am.

At one point, I happened to look up just as Henry and Chooch idled on the rink across from where I sat. Chooch pointed at me and laughed while Henry pantomimed a crying fit.

Fuckers.

In the middle of my stew session, Roller DJ (who actually gave us a super warm welcome since he hadn’t seen us in like three weeks so that in and of itself made me feel like I belonged there more than any of these other motherfuckers) announced in his signature lackadaisical drawl that it was time for Couple Skate. Sometimes, Kim and Chris will chill out off-rink with Chooch so I can chase Henry down and skate-rape him, but they weren’t there this particular afternoon because Kim hasn’t been feeling well. (And let me add that it sucked not having a partner with whom to plow into small children). So, I stayed on the bench and played into the role of downtrodden single hag while Henry and Chooch couple-skated. And of course, this would be the one time Roller DJ actually played a song worth couple skating to.

Paula Abdul’s classic sex jam, “Rush Rush.”

MOTHER FUCK.

So instead of fake-holding Henry’s hand while telling him about all the boys this song made me want to make out with in middle school, I sat unloved and alone on the bench, witnessing a verbally violent domestic quarrel between the human versions of the Gorgs on Fraggle Rock who were seated across from me.

King was very upset and bellowed loudly, “WHY DON’T WE JUST FUCKING LEAVE THEN?” while Queen sat there acting all Appalachian and shouting back at him to shut up and leave then. I tried to piece it together, maybe he caught her in the back alley fucking a chicken leg, and goddammit this is the LAST time she’s gon’ fuck some greasy chicken leg behind HIS back, so good luck finding another man with a gas station attendant job as good as his who can also fill the role of dead beat dad as adequately as he did.

But no, it was because he done got himself the wrong size roller blades.

“YOU AIN’T LEAVIN’ ME HERE ALONE WITH THESE TWO,” Queen hollared back at him while giving the two youngest ragamuffin spawn a neglectful flick of her thick wrist. “WHY DONTCHU JUS’ GET A NEW SIZE?”

I didn’t even try to pretend that I wasn’t watching. How ya’ll gon’ argue while “Rush Rush” is playing, anyway?

In the end, he ended up getting a new pair of roller blades and I can only hope they went home later and fornicated on top of a week-old pizza box while Jeff Foxworthy did some stand up on the tellyvision behind them.

Realizing sitting it out was more detrimental to my nerves than actually fighting the masses on the rink, I decided to give it another go-around. My patience hadn’t improved much during my short hiatus and I found myself flat-out yelling at children because fucking RINK REF wasn’t doing his job. What a motherfucking waste of a striped shirt and whistle. Then a parapet of inexperienced wheeled grade schoolers forced me into the wall and your fucking mother could have easily steamed some goddamn succotash on my face after that. I resumed skating with locked-arms and hands balled into fists.

When 18+ skate was announced, I legit cheered. Loudly. There was a vigorous Roof Raise connected to it. However, it didn’t take long to figure out that even 18+ skate was going to be a bust. The rink was full of honky doofs that day. I watched some older man attempt to do a split in the middle of the rink, only to fall on his broad cracker ass. Bring back the black people!

We left shortly after an hour and a half, and Henry had to buy me a shamrock shake to cheer me up.

Jan 172011
 

The DJ at the RollerDrome is in love with Kim and sort of reminds me of Christina. It’s exciting to me that you can see my quotation mark tattoos in the reflection.

 

By the time my second straight rollerskating trip rolled around, I had shimmied out of my idyllic sense of humanity like sodden post-rape panties and resumed hating every wheeled dildo that dared skate in my path. It was crowded this past Sunday with Steelers-jersied douchebags and birthday partying prepubescents, most of whom had their feet stuffed in clunky rollerblades, which are super easy to trip over on the rink. I hate that rollerblades are permitted there. QUADS 4 LYFE.

Kim and Chris thankfully made it home safe and sound from the ghost hunt as well, so they met us at the rink. There are two reasons Chris comes skating: to play videogames with Chooch and to help Kim and I lace our skates. (He calls himself KH now – Kim’s Henry. It’s a pretty accurate nickname.)

Once they arrived, I tried not to talk too much about the prior night’s ghostly events in Henry’s presence, lest he feel all left out and do that thing where he shoves his hands in his pockets and slumps his shoulders. He could have joined us at the haunted school if he wasn’t so scared.

The music selection was a little better this week. What the rink lacked in Lady Gaga, they made up for in Ke$ha (look I spelled it right this time!) and Trey Songz. Still too much Katy Perry. At least three tracks! I once knew this obnoxious girl* who would always end tweets with “boo hiss” when she was displeased with something and I thought that was so lame, but really – BOO HISS, FOR REAL. (* And no, I’m actually not referring to myself.)

However, I was very happy with the song selection for the first Couple Skate of the afternoon and thought to myself with a smile, “I’m so glad I survived ghost hunting last night so that I could skate to Air Supply today.” Air Supply, bitches! Huge fan of soft rock.

There were a lot of children there who had no right being on that rink, and because of them, I spent more time slaloming around the wooden floor and less time practicing the roller-dance I’m choreographing in lieu of walking down the aisle. (You know, if Henry ever proposes before arthritis and osteoporosis sets in.) There was one point where Henry and I were skating together sort of near each other (to Justin Bieber no less; I let loose an ironic shriek in perfect tandem with all the young girls and Henry was not pleased) and I delved into a (loud and meant-to-be-heard) rant about how bad I hate children and how they should all stay the fuck home playing their fucking Wii and sexting their classmates and leave the rollerskating intricacies to the well-trained adults. Henry made some off-hand remark about our son being there too, but he’s cool by association, I argued. Besides, he spent most of the afternoon sidelined on the bench with Chris, playing games on my phone. I’m so disappointed that my spawn wasn’t graced with the same roller-master gene as I.

“You weren’t always good at skating,” Henry argued. “I’m sure it took you awhile to learn, too.”

“Are you fucking kidding me?” I cried. “There was no learning for me. I put the skates on and just skated. It was inherent, Henry.”

Just then, some douchebag in a flannel CHANGED DIRECTION in the middle of the song and came barreling toward me. He and I both yelled out in terror at the same time, narrowly missing each other, which made Henry do this husky laugh inspired by schadenfreude. I hate that fucking laugh. It’s usually reserved for when I get busted for writing about someone on my blog. (He thinks I’m going to get recognized someday while out and about in Pittsburgh, which will probably lead up to me catching a blow with my jaw. But then I remind him that there are only 10 people who read this thing.)

The DJ announced it was time for Limbo, causing Kim and me to collectively protest. Limbo is a fucking waste of time to the die-hards who want to SKATE, MOTHERFUCKER. And of course, since there were so many kids there, that fucking line snaked back to eternity.

Getting in line for Limbo. Never mind that Chooch can’t skate!

 

“How is Chooch going to manage to get under the bar?” Kim asked. “Do you think Henry will take him all the way?”

“No,” I said, barely thinking about it. “Henry will probably just push him through.”

I was right. Henry gave Chooch a hearty shove, resulting in Chooch falling and basically crawling his way under the bar.

“I used to be so good at that,” Henry murmured to himself, lamenting the fact that it’s been thirty years since his Limbo heyday. I’m going to have to ask his mom if she has any photos of a bell bottomed Henry, in a provocative half-split Limbo action-shot.

I sort of had a crush on Henry that afternoon. Skating makes him seem less old, I guess. He tried dodging me when it was Ladies’ Choice, but I’m way too fast; I caught up to him and clamped his hand inside my own, silently signifying to all of the rink that we are definitely A Couple.

My crush dissolved as soon as Henry took off his skates.

I nearly wiped out way more times this week than last, all because of waist-high nuisances. Kim even used one as a hurdle at one point. I’m pretty sure that people should be licensed before being allowed on a rink. Amateurs really fuck with my flow, you know? Specifically that asshole in the flannel. His near-collisions with me were beginning to become such a regular occurrence that I was sure he was doing it on purpose. I kept skating over to Henry and screaming about it.

“He’s gunning for me! That fucking prick is doing this on purpose! He won’t be happy until I break one of my delicate bones!” But then I started thinking about how I always wanted to break my nose, because I hate it so bad, and I wondered if I could somehow arrange for that to happen by the flannel motherfucker’s hand, so that people would feel sorry for me and I could get a new nose, which would hopefully change my whole face just like it did for Jennifer Grey and then no one would recognize me and I could start over from scratch! No more running from the Feds!

Look, you flanneled motherfucker: Try skating in the right direction! I don’t care if you’re six. You are a motherfucker.

When I finally pointed him out, Henry was surprised. “I thought he was going to be at least a teenager, the way you were talking about him!”

Why? Because I used names that most respectable adults reserve for other adults? I don’t care if he was two-years-old and in a wheelchair. He would still be a motherfucker. Evil little dickhead.

The other person I hated was this old fuck who thought he was Flashdance on skates. Oh my Lord, he disgusted me. While everyone not participating in Limbo was told to stay off the rink, he planted himself in a corner and did these fruity fucking pirouettes with his arms bowed gracefully above his head.

“What a dumb motherfucker,” I yelled to Henry. “Stay home and do that stupid shit on your driveway, am I right?” I looked at Henry for his adamant agreement, but instead he gave me a thoughtful stare which means he’s trying to figure out why I’m so hateful. Maybe it’s because of you, Henry!

 

(l-r) Fruity Ballerina, Rink Ref, Someone in a black shirt associated with those two so clearly he must be an asshole, as well.

Next to Fruity Ballerina is the rink ref (Henry said he’s actually called a skate guard and I was like, “OK, but there’s no alliteration in that…?”) who chastised Henry thrice (little Conan shout-out) last week for wearing a beanie on the rink. I was prepared to shoot him scowls and stinkeye but then I saw Henry sidle up next to him on the rink and lean in real close to his ear. Whatever Henry said made the rink ref laugh, and then Henry laughed too, and I felt so confused. I thought we were supposed to be hating this dick, not sharing secrets with him on the rink?

When Henry skated back to me, I demanded to know what he said to him, and I swore Henry said something about asking him to go thrifting, which makes sense because that’s always what I pictured Henry doing on a same-sex date, but later, when we weren’t shouting over top of Ludacris, he said he merely alerted the rink ref that someone had spilled something on the floor by the refreshment room and people were streaking it around with their skates.

Oh. That’s pretty boring.

Kim’s Sunday Boyfriend (i.e. The DJ) told her that his friends have bought the rink. The current owners are going to finish out the season, but once the new owners take over, it’s going to be better with more Adult Only skates and hopefully a new DJ (sorry, dude). I will be highly anticipating that. I might even have my birthday party there. One of them, anyway. (I have a few years’ worth to make up for.)

Mar 222010
 

It’s been two years since I last partook in a roller derby bout, so when my e-friend Bonecrusher posted on Facebook about the season opener, I looked in the mirror and thought to myself, “Well, here’s my opportunity to hate on opposing bitches and be a creepy Bonecrusher stalker. I mean, fan. Bonecrusher fan. Why is my reflection looking at me like that?”

I corralled Alisha into being my partner in spectation. The whole way to Romp n Roll in Glenshaw (we didn’t get lost, because Henry didn’t give us directions), I regaled Alisha with my favorite antidotes from the new sports radio station I’ve been listening to obsessively. I was laughing all over again at the memory of it all, and Alisha was like, “Um, maybe you should just try to get a job there.” She looked worried about me.

We were early to the bout so we had to stand in line for a bit.

“I feel cooler just being here,” Alisha said, looking around at all the non-lame people surrounding us. But really, I could take her to a landfill and she’d feel cool, just being there with me, Erin Rachelle.

There was a man in line in front of us with a long brown ponytail and a corduroy blazer the color of camels. He spoke with his female companion about funny-to-them moments they shared in Europe and I would have puked into my cupped hands if I wasn’t so mesmerized by the uncanny resemblance the man bore to someone I knew but I just couldn’t place it. It wasn’t until later, when he walked past us once we were inside, that I realized he looks like the BAD GUY from Kindergarten Cop. I pointed it out to Alisha and she was like, “I’m from Arkansas. What are movies?” So I went through all this hassle of finding a picture of him on IMDB only for Alisha to shake her head and say, “No, not all. He looks nothing like that.” At that moment, we almost fought.

I reiterated that the resemblance was uncanny before dropping the subject. (OK, it was only slight at best, but still.)

Before the first bout started, I had to use the bathroom and of course I picked a stall neighboring someone who was pooping. But it was a nice complement to the signature roller rink stench of fermented b.o. After awhile, it became a part of me.

At the sinks, I found myself washing my hands next to an exact doppelganger of ex-friend Christina. Only this one was black. But she was dressed like her, was wearing the sort of stupid hat that Christina would probably leave the house beneath under the misconception that she looked cool, had the same build, EVERY FUCKING THING POINTED TOWARD AN AFRICAN AMERICAN CHRISTINA HARRISON. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. Simultaneously, I wanted to die and punch her in the face. By the time Alisha was done readjusting her prosthetic hand, the doppelganger was gone.

Later, I saw ANOTHER look-alike. This one was taller, white, and a bit thinner, but it was remarkable nonetheless.

“What do you expect?” Alisha snapped. “There are a LOT of lesbians here.” I already knew that because I could tell Alisha was developing a lot of crushes. I wonder what her diary looked like after that night. Don’t worry, I’ll find out for you.

Still, never have I seen so many mirroring Christina’s duck lips and the build of a compacted football player with Elvis hair ALL IN ONE LOCATION. I was scared.

Luckily, the first bout started soon after and distracted me. Pittsburgh’s B-Unit was playing a CANADIAN team! That was more exciting to me than it should have been. The Canadian team was awful and Alisha and I took a particular disliking to their Semi Precious 10kt. Actually, Alisha hated her first and then I piggy-backed the hate because I was really in the mood of channeling some rage and spewing disparaging slurs.

The Canadians lost real bad. At least Canada still has Sidney Crosby.

Before the second bout started, Alisha was like, “Hey, there’s your friend.” I turned around and Bonecrusher was RIGHT BEHIND ME, being all glamtastic and exuding glittery awesomeness. I was so nervous, but I forced myself to call out her name. I  was fully prepared to start jumping up and down and waving Alisha’s hair if I had to, but Bonecrusher noticed me after the second yell.

This is where Alisha causally leaned back against the wall of the rink and watched the awkwardness unravel. She loves witnessing me meeting new people.

After saying hi, I wasn’t sure what direction to take it, so I complimented on her cool face painting. “Does that take long?” I asked stupidly, like I was the world’s first ever reporter. She told me about the process and I just stood there and smiled retardedly, not knowing where to place my hands or where to settle my roving eyeballs. I can’t meet people! It’s disastrous. She probably thinks I have fucking Asberger’s.

I didn’t want to hold her up any longer so I wished her luck, hi-fived her, and said, “I’ll be screaming real loud for you!” Because that didn’t make me sound like a lame sycophant trying to secure a seat at the cool lunch table. As she skated away, I turned back around and pretending like I wasn’t dying internally. I was afraid to even look at Alisha, because I knew she had smirks and biting one-liners ready to explode from every orifice.

“She seemed really cool!” I said and we left it at that. Then I spent the next ten minutes kicking myself for not rehearsing this in the mirror, or making my cat Marcy role-play.

I held true to my word and screamed real loud every time Bonecrusher knocked a Maine bitch on her ass. “I know her! I know her,” I’d say every time. Meanwhile, I was texted Henry in all-caps and he wouldn’t answer me because I was being obnoxious. He was probably just nervous that I was going to wind up with another girlfriend, you know how I do.

During the bout, I suggested to Alisha that we should start our own teams. “But it’ll just be me on one team, and you on the other,” I started, and I had so many more ideas to add but Alisha stopped me abruptly and said, “No, not ever.

There was a sailor there, taking photos of the Maine team. I couldn’t get a good shot of her, but you can imagine just from this angle how awesome she must have been. Her boots rivaled Wonder Woman’s and her sailor hat was…so very kawaii. I can’t even believe I just wrote that. Anyway, I saw Alisha ogling her and I suggested she take her to the bar later to make her girlfriend jealous. Because I know if Henry brought home a vinyl sailor, I’d be forced to piss on him.

ALISHASGF

Steel Hurtin’ kicked the collective ass of the Maine All-Stars. I don’t know why Maine even bothers having a roller derby team. I love roller derby because I always forget that the opponents are actual human beings and not corrupt fembots waiting to infect the spectators with Satan’s sperm and rust shavings.

After the bout, Alisha and I went to her favorite bar, 5801, to meet up with  her girlfriend Jess and Mark. (You might remember Mark as the lovely fellow who forced me to climb a ladder and break into his apartment.) I don’t go to bars very often because I don’t like sitting. When I drink, I like to be outside, playing extreme frisbee in the church parking lot across the street and diving into bushes. That’s just me. “I’m just going to stay long enough to get one glass of wine,” I warned Alisha.

But then we arrived and Mark made me feel like a visiting diplomat with the reception he gave me. “I didn’t know you were coming, too!” he exclaimed. He even stood up to hug me! Alisha doesn’t ever do that.

“It was a surprise,” I said. I think all surprises should involve me just showing up somewhere.

Jess and Mark donated their seats to us since we had stood for four hours during the roller derby bout. Actually, it was only Alisha who complained while I’m the one with spurs on her lumbar. Someone needs to send her to boot camp. As soon as I sat down, I looked down the bar and noticed several pairs of eyes on me. A straight girl has landed!

Mark leaned down and asked, “Is this your first time at a gay bar?” I told him that there was another one I had gone to several times with my ex-gay-bestie Brian. (Not to mention all the Tegan and Sara shows I had attended back in the day.) “Oh, that doesn’t count!” Mark laughed, and we both agreed about how filthy that place was. 5801, on the other hand, was awesome. It was very lime. I wanted to hug it. There was even a festive collective singalong to “Sweet Caroline” and I felt like I had finally found my way home.

Not to mention Mark and I bonded over synthpop (“Synthpop is my heart,” I said melodramatically) and then Jess, noticing my iCarly pocketbook, admitted she watches that show too and we shared our favorite parts and I felt so accepted! It only took thirty years!

Two glasses of white wine later and I was pretending to dance with this large scary spiky-hair woman next to me while her back was turned, and then almost took out innocent bystanders with an impromptu round of jumping jacks. My behavior seemed to be accepted, plus Alisha wasn’t flashing me mean looks, so I think that I will be spending more time at 5801. If only to see more octogenarians nearly stroke-out while spry dread-locked bois grind on them at the bar.

Nothing could have went wrong on Saturday. It was just one of those days that it is infused with Awesome extract from the moment you wake up until the second your head hits the pillow. There might have been an incident early that morning where I quit my job as a Mother and swore that I was leaving and taking my cats with me. But other than that, and the fact that the Penguins lost their game with .9 seconds left in OT, my face actually hurt from laughing/smiling all day.

The first day of spring is apparently very agreeable with the balance of my chemicals.

P.S. Oh good, look what I found!

alishasdiary

Jan 132010
 

1

After spending the better part of this new year wilting under the spell of some unknown illness, I was so very ready to get out of the house and strap some old school skates over my Valentine hearted knee highs. Most of last Saturday found me spontaneously erupting with excited outbursts  like, “OMG skating tomorrow!” and “One more day, I can hardly wait!” and “This time tomorrow I might be finding a new lover!” What? Not like I’m actively looking or anything.

And then came Sunday, the official skating day. We had to wait for Janna and Blake to get here and of course I was acting a fool, pacing, swearing, running my hands through my hair. When they arrived, I could see Janna was in the mood to sit a spell, but I quickly ushered everyone back out the door and we were on our way to Neville Roller Drome, where Stacey was meeting us.

This was the first time any of us have been to this rink and it was AWESOME. Totally old school and un-fancified, just like I prefer. And even better – the Asshole Population was low. The rink was much bigger than the other place we used to go, at least based on my warped memory.

10

“OMG you guys, they’re playing my Justin Bieber joint!”

Stacey had read up on my retro posts and was not surprised when Janna kept flitting off to exchange her roller blades for another size or slip into the ladies room to do some blow. Stacey would laugh knowingly and then return to her desperate agenda of out-skating me.

There is just something so therapeutic about rolling across a warped wooden rink that even stale Top 40 songs sound Really Fucking Good. I didn’t think about any of that real world bullshit. Fuck bills, fuck the economy, fuck Jay Leno – for those three hours I was back in 5th grade with a blond side ponytail, white high-topped skates with pink wheels and rainbow laces, a Kids R Us sweatshirt decorated with puffy bears, flirting with boys at our school skating parties at Spinning Wheels. (And by flirting I mean skating past a boy and asking my friends, “DID HE LOOK AT ME? DID HE SEE ME?”) I used to live for those skating parties. “Heart and Soul” by T’Pau would come on and it’d be so intense. SO INTENSE.

9

We were prepared for Chooch to hate it, but the moment his plastic-wheeled feet hit the rink, he was like, “HELL YEAH BITCHES.” Henry looked pained because he was the designated training wheel, therefore unable to skate fast and free like his inner child-of-the-70s was begging.

6

Henry pushed Chooch down, derby-style, on purpose at one point, in hopes that it would dash Chooch’s skating dreams. But Chooch just laughed and got right back up again. Because he’s my son, and people that surf out of my uterus don’t give up. (Or in Chooch’s case, sliced-and-pulled out of my uterus.) After awhile, he was flat-out rejecting the steady hand of adults and even threw in some advanced jumps. That’s my kid – go big or go home.

7

When the octogenarian inside the music booth announced in his George Burns-voice that it was time for Couple Skate, I knew it was on. I shoved Chooch at Janna and barked, “Here, go take him to play a game or some shit” and then I dragged a reluctant Henry onto the rink, forced his hand into my sweaty paw, and pulled him around to the tune of some unknown country-cross over ballad. Even Stacey didn’t know what song it was, so it MUST have been as bad as it sounded. Henry looked pained, his thick brow all catawumpus and furrowed, stands of gray glistening under the disco ball-reflected lights. Then I started thinking about us being skating assassins and I couldn’t stop cracking up. I tried to invite Henry in on the joke but he declined.

The second couple skate was to the sexed-up tunes of some unidentifiable R&B track; as I circled the rink again with Henry (who looked violated), all I could think was that it sounded like a black Phil Collins. Thanks to the racy sax interludes, I felt like there was a chance I could be pregnant by the time the song ended and we left the rink. Stacey had worked up the nerve to invite Blake to skate with her for this couple go-around. They didn’t hold hands, but they sure looked happy….

11

….unlike here, where they were clearly in a skating coma. This was after Stacey attempted to raise the roof and promptly ass-kissed the floor. Definitely one of the highlights! I told her to just blame Henry, who was right behind her when it happened and I noticed this suspicious pattern of kids winding up sprawling on the rink with arms knotted and legs pretzel’d in Henry’s wake.

I won’t even try to deny the fact that I like that Ke$ha song, “Tic Toc.” And paired with roller skates and racing rainbow track lights, that song is THE ANTHEM. By the time it ended, I was like, “More! Again! One more time!”

After about an hour or so of straight skating, I yelled over to Janna and Stacey, “Hey, let’s go get a drink after this song!” But when it ended, the old man-DJ announced it was time for reverse skate and I was all, “Oh hell no, mama’s not missing this shiz” so Janna and Stacey, having already stumbled off the rink, hung out along the benches waiting for me. As that song was ending, I began to pass Janna and she yelled, “Are you coming?” but “Bad Romance” had JUST COME ON so I shouted back, “No, I love this song!”

Janna threw her arms up exasperatedly and retreated to the snack bar without me.

Let me just say that the ultimate Lady Gaga experience can be had on a roller rink. Possibly it would be better if someone had slapped an acid tab on my tongue, and I had all the Queen’s diamonds magnetizing toward my unitarded-torso, but who am I to ask for so much. Skating to Gaga for some reason triggered sweet memories of post-dinner basement skates  while Sanford & Son and One Day at a Time played on the small TV in the background. Those were the days.

Sadly, “Bad Romance” had run its course, so I very nimbly exited the rink with the grace of the holiest angel. Or Jennifer Aniston; she seems like she’d be graceful on skates. By the time I made it to the snack bar, Janna, Blake and Stacey were all sitting around a table, properly beverageinated. Realizing I didn’t have any cash on me and that Henry was still on the rink with Chooch, I pleaded for Janna to spot me. Hooo boy was she pissed. There went the arms! There went the eye-roll! There went the disgusted phlegm gurgle! Apparently, Blake had also asked her for money and she was starting to feel like a parental unit or something. What? I felt it wasn’t enough that the entire rink already assumed she was my son’s mom, why not try to finagle an allowance out of her too?

In the end, I got my Mountain Dew because it is written in the Bible that Janna cannot deny me.

4

Oh boy, soon it was time for Limbo! We kept trying to get Blake to go out there but he was all, “No, no, hell no.” Finally, we convinced him that it was the best idea anyone had ever had, even better than  putting peanut butter and jelly in the same jar, even better than making porn downloadable, even better than giving this asshole her own Internet property. So off Blake skated, to the back of a line in which he was the tallest by at least a foot.

When it was his turn, he split his pants.

Like, really split his pants.

Like, split his pants to the point where it was too obscene for me to even take a picture of it unless I wanted to have at least a dozen unsavory labels slapped on my record.

He handled it better than I would have. Had it been me, Henry would have had to rush home and clear the house of all prescription bottles, nooses, and razor blades.

3

Shockingly, witnessing Blake’s folly inspired Chooch to give it a go, and he tugged Janna onto the rink with him. I didn’t even realize what was going on until I saw them skating to the back of the line together. On his first skating foray, my kid did the Limbo and cleared the pole without falling on his ass. I was so proud! The guys holding the poles were like, “Dude you made it! You get to go again!” but Chooch was all, “Nah, cuz. It’s cool. I just wanted to do it that once.”

Then came the wobbly-voiced DJ again, reminding us that is was “Gentleman’s Couple Skate. This is now Gentleman’s Couple Skate.” I looked at Stacey and shouted, “Dude, that’s so progressive!” but then he came back on over the loud speakers to correct himself. It was actually Gentleman’s Choice. Since Henry doesn’t have a say in anything, I forced him to trade Chooch’s hand for mine. Stacey wanted Chooch to choose her, but he got real nervous and said, “I can’t! My hand’s all sweaty!” That means he really likes her. He’s shy around his crushes. He ended up skating with Janna, while Stacey kept Blake and his exposed crotch company on the bench.

Wow, that sounded so innocent.

Once the song was over, I was dismayed to find that Stacey and Blake had already exchanged their skates for their shoes, and even more dismayed to see that the session was nearly over. I was overheated as shit, but I wanted more! More more more! Everyone assured me that the world wasn’t ending and that we could come back soon. But soon for me would have been ten minutes later.

I miss it there so much already. And I didn’t even have any pizza! I was so busy skating that I didn’t stop once to eat lunch. That’s how awesome it was there.

Later that night, I said to Henry, “Remember when we couple-skated and you didn’t ask me to marry you?”

“I also didn’t ask you to skate,” he pointed out.