The Penguins were playing the Capitals on Sunday afternoon and as much as I love skating, I love my hockey more; I made the executive decision to go skating on Saturday afternoon instead, and it turned out to be one of the greatest ideas I’ve ever had, next to the creation of America’s most underrated sport (Thingieball), baking vaginal malady cookies, and touring in no particular order: Mystery Hole, Christ in the Smokies, and the Bayernhof Music Museum, which I try to name-drop every chance I get just so Andrea will be reminded of it every time she visits Oh Honestly, Erin.
(I heard Dick the Tour Guide even sent her a post card.)
“Why was it the best idea ever, Erin?” Oh, only because all the assholes stayed home, leaving me with all sorts of open rink space to jam out on.
This may have less to do with it being Saturday and more to do with the fact that there was an ice storm the night before. Either way, I was really feeling my groove that afternoon and made sure to openly gush about it to Henry, which always makes him scowl because he’s allergic to my four-wheeled braggadocia.
It didn’t seem like it was going to be a good skate session in the beginning, when my rentals ended up having two different-sized tongues. And one of them had shorter laces which needed to be tied lower than the other! Two really disconcerting flaws for someone who nitpicks every little thing that is put upon her person.
So for the first time ever, I had to return a pair of skates at the Rollerdrome. The new owner seemed annoyed by this, but I noticed that there were other people returning skates too so, I don’t know, MAYBE IT’S HIS PROBLEM AND NOT OURS.
The second pair of skates had adequate symmetrical properties, but the wheels were all fucked up and making me feet turn out against their will. I kept gliding over to Henry to bitch about it, at which point he would make the audacious suggestion that this was all in my head.
“Just keep skating. You’ll wear them in,” he shouted over Roller DJ’s meticulously crafted Top 40 playlist. This angered me. I wanted Henry to acknowledge my plight, to halt his Opie of Mayberry nerd patrol promenade around the rink and get to the bottom of my wonky wheels. I wanted him to march up to the skate rental counter and demand an oil can and a Billy Joel-approved red paisley handkerchief for him to adequately service his Uptown Girl’s brokedown quads.
But he did none of those things so I skated off the rink in a huff and pretended like I was just going to go home, which made him rant about how I waste money and OK FUCKER I WILL SKATE OUT THE KINKS, HAPPY NOW?!
And I did just that – took my temper, my indignation, my scrappy determination, and my catawampus-wheeled skates back on the rink. The kinks never really worked themselves out, but my desire to hedgeclip Henry’s scrotum did, and I guess that’s the important part.
Usually during intermission, Roller DJ plays a “Grease” medley and I just absolutely can’t stand “Grease” songs, which is weird because I love ONJ. But I mean, if you’re going to go that route, why not tip your hat to “Xanadu” and spin some “Magic,” Roller DJ? Plus, intermission equates “reverse skate,” and for some reason, I lose my bearings going clockwise around the rink, so I usually just sit it out. But last Saturday, Roller DJ dissed all the “Grease” fans and played normal music, which culminated at the end in a riveting romp through “YMCA.” I don’t know why this tickled me so, but I was so hyperbolically animated out there, it was probably embarrassing for all.
Meanwhile, Henry skipped out on his theme song and called all his make believe friends on his make believe phone to tell them about his new hair cut. Goodbye, flowing McNichol-locks, hello Mr. Belvehair.
(It only really bears a loose resemblance to Mr. Belvedere’s ‘do, so I don’t know why I said that other than the fact that Henry actually is the not-as-well-dressed Mr. Belvedere of our house.)
In other rink happenings, there was this stout lady in a purple sweater who was obviously some washed-up competition queen because she was doing all kinds of old school moves, but not the awesome soul skate jam moves. These were more “uptight cracker in a unitard skating a solo to Belinda Carlisle” calculated steps. My personal favorite was when she would squat down real low, prop her elbows on her inner thighs, and glide around the corners like it was some uncomfortable skate dance choreography for child birth. The fact that she was at least my age and fatter than me, and still out there doing her thing made me feel this really weird, awkward sensation. I realized later that it was what you people call “respect.” So while Henry, Chooch and I were sitting out during Backward Skate, I mused out loud that I wanted to talk to her.
“What, you HATE her?” Chooch asked, mishearing me as usual.
“No! NO NO NO, god no. I said I want to TALK to her,” I broke my neck to correct him. I’ve learned my lesson enough times now to know never to say anything disparaging in front of Chooch because he is a direct pipeline to the National Enquirer. (Sadly, it took me more than once to finally learn my lesson. But you’re not surprised.)
Also during Backward Skate, I fell in love with a ROLLERBLADER. I know, I was just as disgusted with myself! But to be fair, he had on pro blades, not those clunky plastic boots, and he was straight stuntin’. He obviously is a hockey player and as soon as I make sure he’s at least 18, I’m going to marry him. Or at least take him in the alley out back.
Highlight of the day: Roller DJ announced it was Guy’s Choice and I dejectedly skated off the rink. Even if Henry and I were there alone, he would never choose me. I bore his child, and he still won’t choose me. (ERIN, ARE YOU STILL TALKING ABOUT SKATING?) I’m sitting there alone on the bench when a grubby little hand juts out toward me and there’s Chooch, standing there saying, “Come on, Mommy!”
“You choose me?” I asked, all surprised and emotional. He gave me this look that asked, “Are you coming or not?” So I took his sweaty hand and we skated together to Bruno Mars and it was pretty much the most adorable thing ever. Chooch and I get along really well when we’re skating. It’s not until we get in the car that we start bickering like siblings. And he is getting so good at skating! He’s basically out there on his own all the time now and I don’t think he fell at all this time.
I like to think he aspires to be as excelsior as his mother. (Reminder: he was not adopted.)
Then it was time for the Pepsi Challenge! Which is really just Four Corners sponsored by Pepsi, unbeknowst to them I’m sure. I almost didn’t participate because the song was some nauseating Katy Perry joint (the second Pukey Perry* song of the session, I was very displeased) but it’s a good thing I’m trained in blocking out her eye-crossing caterwauls because my corner won, bitches!
*(This is totally what I would have gotten everyone to call her if we were in 4th grade together.)
I think there were 5 of us in all who got a ticket for a free Pepsi in the snack room. Henry skated over to me and with his lips perverted in that signature smirk of his, he said, “Gee, I’m sure Roller DJ choosing your corner as the winner had NOTHING to do with you.”
“Well, duh,” I said. Hey, some dudes are stupid enough to think I’m cute, OK? And if they want to give me free Pepsi products, I’ll take it, because I know my goods are way too damaged to score much better than a paper cup of carbonation. SO LET ME HAVE MY MOMENT, HENRY.
We stopped in the snack room on the way out so I could cash in my winnings. The owner’s wife took the coupon away from me before I had a chance to take a picture of it, which honestly left me feeling paralyzed because I have to take pictures of EVERYTHING. I guess I’ll just have to try to win again next weekend.
I was sitting at a table with Henry and Chooch, sipping my free Mountain Dew, when Chooch loudly exclaimed, “MOMMY! THERE’S THAT LADY YOU WANT TO TALK TO!” I started to slowly turn around, hoping that maybe she was outside of the snack room, or had ear plugs in, or just had her ears lopped off entirely by Jason Voorhees, but no such luck. She was literally right next to my shoulder. She looked down at me and smiled and waited expectantly. It was the longest, most pregnant pause of my life. I just stared back at her dumbly before finally sputtering some jumbled superlatives at her face, in the same way I do to guys in bands (“YOUWEREREALLYAWESOMETONIGHTTHANKSBYE”) but instead of bursting into tears and running away in the style of Phoebe Buffay, I simply returned to my free drink.
Thank god I was able to convince Chooch that I hadn’t actually said I hated her.
“I should have asked to be my mentor!” I wailed minutes later, when we were already in the car on our way home.
After my skate exchange earlier in the session, the owner (Henry is totally on the “‘Sup, cuz!” level with him now and it’s so irritating) gave me a skate catalogue and in a tired voice said, “Please, just please come talk to me before you buy a pair. I’ll help you.” I think I’m totally getting the purple ones with green wheels. That is, if my fickle feet can even tolerate low-tops.
Someday, I’m going to own my own rink. And I’m going to have bands play there. You just wait and see.