When I ran into Kim and her boyfriend Chris last month at the Zombie Santa shindig, she mentioned that they were thinking of going roller skating sometime; I invited myself quicker than I snatch the cherry from Henry’s milkshake. It was a given that Henry was going to want to come along too; he’s like Brian Boitano on wheels, after all.
“It smells like alcohol out here,” Chooch said as we staked our places in the line that was slightly snaked out the door. I’m not sure how he knows what alcohol smells like, but we weren’t in any sort of company that would have flinched at his statement.
Henry was still pissing around, trying to find a pair of skates that would fit Chooch, when the session officially started. I couldn’t bear to miss a second, so I ditched them there on the bench. When I came back around, Chooch was kneeling on the bench, arms folded, watching me with a big dimpled smile. “You were awesome, Mommy!” he enthused, and I was kind of like, “Um, yeah, no shit” but instead I graciously thanked him for his obvious statement.
Last year, Chooch was able to wear those plastic jobs that slip over the shoe. His feet are too big for that now so he had to wear a real pair, which was interesting. Every time he tried to stand, his feet flew right out from under him. I might make him wear a pair all the time around the house to maybe thwart his desire to ever try and be mobile again.
I’m always afraid that I’m going to step out onto that glorious wooden rink and find that my ability to glide with the grace of Princess Di’s hand during a royally rusty trombone has gone out of style faster than Katy Perry. (What, people still like her? Oh.) Good news, I’m still fabulous! The only difference is that now that I’m an adult, I’m higher up, and thinking of the consequences of falling really scares the shit out of me. Because if I fall? With my luck? It’s going to be less bruises, more open fractures. I find that I spend more time focusing on avoiding the amateurs and maniac kids, and less time getting my Anita Baker-circa-Same-Ole-Love-video groove on. (I’ve been watching A LOT of VH1 Soul. A LOT.)
Henry finally had both his skates and Chooch’s skates efficiently laced and was gingerly easing him onto the rink. Motherly Obligations began nagging at me, so I slowed to a stop as I came around to the rink opening. Henry could tell that the last thing I wanted to be doing was having a 4-year-old rollerskating virgin holding me down, so he said, “Just go,” shooing me away with one Bo Brady hand. Thank god Henry is All Parent.
Kim is a good skater, so we were able to skate around and converse (as best as we could over the pulsating Kiss FM beats) like we were leisurely strolling through Kensington Park (London on my mind, I guess), while wobbly skaters attempted to pull us down with them. We both bemoaned the fact that too much shitty Top 40 was playing, though. AND NO LADY GAGA THIS TIME, ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? Do you even know how majestic that broad’s jams sound in a roller rink? Best skating music ever. I felt so deprived. I mean, can you give us a little K$sha at least? Jesus Christ.
Chris is not as much of a whiz on wheels as Kim and I, so he seemed fine with keeping a slow, staccato pace with Henry and Chooch.
“Look, it’s My Two Dads,” I laughed as Kim and I glided past.
“Or Two and A Half Men,” Kim added, as we smoked past them a second time.
Kim and I stayed out together for all the Couple Skates, which I’m sure Chris and Henry didn’t mind one bit. But I wasn’t sure we could pull off 12 and Under, so we joined the guys in the snack area, where Chooch was inhaling a Drumstick.
“I keep getting yelled at!” Henry complained. “The rink ref keeps telling me to take off my hat, because there’s such a great chance a fucking beanie is going to fall off my head!” he spat with sarcasm. (Now that I think about it, he probably didn’t actually say ‘fucking.’ Henry doesn’t swear that much; he was in the choir once, after all.)
“Oh my god, did he blow the whistle at you, too!?” I cried, hanging on to every drip of Henry’s disdain.
“No! I don’t know!” he yelled in a fluster. “Oh look at that, it’s Immature Girl Skate. Better get out there!”
Soon it was time for Backward Skate and that is the ONE THING in the whole entire world that I simply cannot do. (Seriously! I’m typically an all-around wunderkind) I used to be able to, when I was a much more dainty young girl. But Kim assured me that it wasn’t something you lost the ability for, and strong-armed me into joining her and the other 20 or so skaters brave enough to partake in this unnatural direction of motion. It made me think back to the night before, when Barb, Mary, Kaitlin and I left the hockey game and the wind was so frigid and fierce that Barb decided to walk backward through the parking lot, and I remembered all those casually-strewn cadavers and acid-filled potholes in her path that I was too aloof to warn her about (she narrowly escaped them on her own), and I wondered if I would have the same luck.
Let me just say that no, skating backward does not so much come back naturally. I never did get into the groove of it; my feet felt awkward and I kept finding that my legs would start to bow out and I feared that it was only a matter of time I would be forced into a split.
“You have to look over your shoulder!” Kim laughed every time I would come close to reverse-humping a stranger behind me. I whined through the entire skate. And it just happened to be the LONGEST SONG EVER, too. I can’t even remember (on purpose) but I feel like it was possibly Strawberry Letter 23. That song can now and forever get fucked.
There was one Couple Skate left, and Kim graciously offered to sit with Chooch so Henry and I could make roller love together. It was Gentlemen’s Choice, but we all know Henry doesn’t get any choices. I grabbed his hand and used brute force to tug him alongside me. He lucked out, because when Gentlemen’s Choice was announced, he was clear on the other side of the rink, stumbling along at a snail’s pace with Chooch, so by the time he even made it to where I was standing, like a PRETTY LADY-IN-WAITING (only with less parasols and corsets and more Silly Putty ground into sweatshirts), the fucking song was half over.
“Too bad they already played my Bruno Mars jam! I wanted to skate with you to that SO BAD!” I cried.
“Yeah. Too bad,” Henry mumbled. One day recently, I made a play list with Bruno Mars’s “Grenade,” “Can’t Be Friends” by Trey Songz and the sultry Miguel hit “All I Want Is You” (featuring J. Cole! Don’t forget J. Cole!) and then played it on repeat for at least 7 hours and I guess that didn’t do much to persuade Henry to like any of those joints. I can’t even remember what wound up sound-tracking our Couples Skate, but it definitely didn’t inspire me to conceive a child in the men’s room. I do know it wasn’t All04-One’s “I Swear” because that had already been played during an All Skate. That song is so fucking lame, I’m so fucking mad that I was just reminded of it right now. Fuck.
4:00 approached us way too quickly, and it was time to return our skates. Leaving the rink, Chooch proclaimed that it still smelled like alcohol out there.
The five of us went to King’s for dinner. While Chris and Chooch watched ghost videos on Henry’s phone, the subject of Justin Bieber somehow came up.
“What’s he going to do when his voice changes?” I wondered out loud. “He’s going to be fucked.”
“Didn’t that happen to someone else?” Henry asked, trying to be a part of things.
“Um yeah. Peter Brady,” I said, earning a “fuck you” look from Henry.
Thank god I found Henry’s diary entry from that day.
Clearly my “to, too, two” tutorial has not helped Henry.