What Roller Skating Means to Me
Or: Where it is determined that skating has become a thinly veiled guise for Henry to take me where that delicious snack bar pizza is made.
Originally posted January 2005
Tuesday Night Adult Skate can be broken down into segments:
Pre-Skating Car Ride
It is here where one can witness lots of arm flailing and yelling about famine. The hunger pangs also make me an unstable song changer; if I feel little interest in the current song, I will shout, “God, I hate that song!” (even if I don’t, for I am at my appetite’s will) and slam my fingers against the skip button. Sometimes, in my peripheral, I can see Henry shudder a little. Janna is usually silent during the voyage to the rink, unless she is granted my permission to speak. This doesn’t usually happen. Then someone will “innocently” ask why I didn’t eat before we left, at which point you will find me hawkering the essense of Satan into their face.
Preliminary Skating Laps
I skate around the rink once before deeming my skates too loose. Exiting the rink, I stand near the lockers, looking lost and confused until Henry notices me and skates over to assist. Henry unties each skate and tightens the laces real good because he is a big strong man with a bandanna. Satisfied with the results, I glide back onto the rink and cruise around a few times, while Janna is still sitting on a bench, lethargically putting on her roller blades. She drags this part out so she’ll have less rink-time.
Henry skates past me and I can see the pain in his face as he fights the urge to pirouette. Then my knees start to buckle under the weight of my voracious hunger and I have to lean against the wall. I consider collapsing into a heap of malnourishment for good measure but not enough people are paying attention. Henry watches my faux-famine unfold and decides it’s time to order the pizza before I embarrass him.
Waiting for the Pizza
The next thirty minutes are spent skating lackluster laps around the rink through blinding flashes of light brought on by starvation. Janna, after three roller blade exchanges and one wheel change, has finally entered the rink (the catchphrase of the night is always, “Where’d Janna go?”). I begin showing off in case she forgets that I’m so much better than her. Then I realize that Henry has been off the hook for a good ten minutes, so I fall into place next to him and chant, “When will the pizza be done? When will the pizza be done? I’m hungry!” until he picks up the pace and leaves me in his prima donna dust. He’s getting good at shaking me. Catching up to him, I incessantly probe, “Is it done yet? Is it done yet?” until he quite brusquely shoulders past me. I contemplate screaming, “That man hit me!” until I realize that the only other people on the rink at that moment is a man who wears spandex to afford more comfort while performing spins and kicks in the middle of the rink, and a girl wearing knee pads. I might be on my own here.
Pizza Is Ready
I ravenously devour two pieces of pizza before Henry and Janna even have a chance to sit down with their drinks. Despite Henry urging me to slow down, I cram another piece into my rabid mouth in between colossal gulps of cherry Icee. Fearing Henry might be eying the last slice of pizza, I slam the palm of my hand into the greasy cheese, claiming my territory. I would have pissed on it if it came down to it. Oh, like you’ve never done that.
Janna claims that she “sprained her ankle” and opts to sit on the bench so she can watch the skating prowess of us real athletes. Really, she’s moping because this guy who she thinks is so hot has called it a night. He skates just like her, too – like he’s trying to outrun a too-touchy uncle while wearing plastic Fisher Price skates. Enough about Janna. I’m able to perform a few fluid laps amidst the “Oooh”s and “Ahhh”s of my fans, but then the night quickly unravels and I find myself stumbling around the rink with my hand on my stomach, groaning and admonishing myself for eating too fast.
I burp a lot, too.
Car Ride Home
Even in the throes of major gastro-intestinal discomfort, I cannot be quieted. I spend the hour in the car reflecting upon the evening’s affairs and making fun of anyone I may have overlooked while at the rink. Henry is quiet because he is thinking about the man with the mullet that magically flows into a tailbone-grazing pony tail; he admires him from afar. Janna is replaying over and over the scene where her crush (I call him Snape because of his hair) breezed past her while singing along to Ludacris. And by breezed, I mean clobbering around the rink while clinging to the wall.
So when I say that we went skating, now you’ll know.