Nov 222016
 

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Shit, it’s been a hot minute since we went roller skating, thanks to my pernicious moods and “unrealistic” rink standards (according to Henry). But Chooch got invited to a birthday party at our old skate headquarters and even though it was taken over by lame-o Christians, I sucked it up and stuck around to skate it out. Sometimes you just gotta take the high road.

SO THEY SAY.

Roller DJ isn’t even there anymore. :(

Anyway, parents got to skate for free, courtesy of the birthday boy, so that made it even better – now I didn’t have to get the rink my own money! Henry claims his “foot hurt” so he opted out and I know that he wanted to just drop us off and go and run errands or whatever you call that stuff that grown-ups do but I was like “YOU CANNOT LEAVE ME HERE WHAT IF A PARENT TALKS TO ME.”

So he stayed and guess what? No parents talked to me! I must have a certain look or something. Or maybe it was just because they were so intimidated by how badass I am on skates.

(LOL, I was actually super shaky because it’s been a year since I skated last, almost!)

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Henry was really opposite-of-stoked when the DJ spun “Man in the Mirror” and he couldn’t swirl around on skates to the inspirational lyrics. 

Meanwhile, Chooch’s “nemesis” was in attendance (they love/hate each other) and she really can’t skate. She had to snail along the rink behind one of those training triangles (aka a walker with wheels) and Henry was like, “Wow, finally something that Chooch can do better than her.” And then, “I feel bad for her.”

“Pfft! I don’t! Let her suck at something for once!” I spat. 

Henry frowned. This is why kids can’t come over to Chooch’s house. 

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Riley reppin’ Riot Fest at the roller rink. 

I wanted Chooch to skate over to the lame ass DJ and dare him to play a single band listed on the back of his Riot Fest shirt. 

But instead, Chooch did something better! He requested CALL ME MAYBE! How do I have the best son in the world?! Oh yeah, because I’m the best, too! Henry was in mid-sentence when that candy-coated pop sensation started playing and I screamed “GIRL BYE” as I glided away from him like a motherfucking swan on quads. 

Henry’s used to not being able to finish his sentences though. Sometimes when we’re on the phone, I just hang up without a word when I’ve heard enough. 

The fact that there is a huge, universal pox upon 2016 was not lost on me and I had concerns that I was tempting fate by the mere act of even lacing up my skates. If ever I was going to break a limb on the rink, this could be the day. But I made it, even with all the little wheeled-terrorists out there, skating against traffic, causing bottle-necks and pile-ups, looking at their phones — I could have perished out there, but I made it out unscathed. 

I was lucky though because someone dropped their idiot locker key on the rink and I happened to see it before tripping over it and cracking my skull open. The last time I went skating, I tripped over CANDY and when I tried to tell someone about it, they made me feel like a LIAR because the evidence was supposedly GONE. Yeah, probably because it was all ground up under my skate! 

Anyway, I flagged down one of the apathetic skate guards and told him to go pick up the key. 

Literally. I was like “You have to pick it up. I’m not picking it up lol.” Because I’m too afraid to stop in the middle of the rink with all those amateurs out there! It’s like stopping in the middle of a highway. 

Anyway, the whole point of this post is to say that I have been in a huge funk and have also been feeling extremely combative on top of that. The night before this was incredibly poor, I was in a sour mood and feeling absolutely belligerent, and I had some fears that being among dummies at the skating rink would do more harm than anything good, but it turned out to be just the opposite. I had a lovely time pretending to grind my opposition and oppressors beneath the wheels of my skates to the tune of Ke$ha’s “Tic Toc” and instead of raging when Meghan Trainor came on (TWICE!), I simply exited the rink and sat on the bench in silent protest of shitty music. 

I still don’t like what that rink has become, but options are few and far between these days so I guess it’s either deal with it or skate down an abandoned street during the zombie apocalypse a la Carl and Enid. 

*****

“Wasn’t I so well-behaved?” I asked Henry before we left, and he just frowned at  me because I guess “being well-behaved” is expected and not something we should stop the earth from spinning in order to celebrate on the few occasions I do it. Whatevelyn.

Here's a minute long video of people falling on a skating rink. Not the game for me.

A post shared by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

Jan 182016
 

On paper, my Saturday looks like it was a fabulous day: breakfast at Pamela’s with Wendy, Summer, and Jeannie; roller skating; cherry pie; horror movies. But NO. It was frustrating and borderline volatile. (I say borderline because nothing got broken.)   

Summer, being less of a crybaby than Erin. 

I woke up in a wonderful mood even though it’s a struggle to leave the house early on a weekend. I love meeting Jeannie and Wendy for breakfast at Pamela’s, the only Pittsburgh establishment whose hype I can get behind—not to be morbid, but I want to be buried inside a blanket of their blueberry hotcakes. The last time we were there was over the summer when Wendy was still pregnant so this was Summer’s first Pamela’s trip! A real monumental occasion. 

Breakfast was wonderful. In hindsight, I should have stopped while I was ahead, but I have had this idiotic Sephora gift card for two years and I really wanted to use it (I’ve lost and found it three times, along with my entire wallet because that’s the type of adult I am); there is one across the street from Pamela’s, and I walked in knowing full well that I was going to be spending way more than what was on the card because Sephora is a racket like that. 

So already I was feeling anxiety because there is so much I woke rather spend $$$ on. I mean, I like make-up and other assorted shit like that but I hate having gift cards that are specific to one place. I really wanted to spend money on music, not moisturizer, even though I really do need moisturizer now that winter is sucking my face dry. And of course the one time I actually need assistance, I am INVISIBLE to every asshole in that store. 

So I left, and not quietly either. 

When I was little, my Pappap would always call me a pistol. I was born with a silver spoon practically shoved in my ass, and if there is one thing in my entire life that I have ever been really great at, it’s the fine art of hissy fits and temper tantrums. 

Even as an adult, even after years of struggling financially during most of my 20s, I never lost the spoiled brat in me. It’s my literal Drop Dead Fred, hovering over my shoulder and whispering things like, “Oh hell no, you’re not going to let THAT happen are you?”

One time, years ago, Henry made me an omelette and I kicked a hole in our bedroom wall because he put mushrooms in it and I didn’t ask for mushrooms. 

I kicked a hole in the wall. Because I am a fucking loco brat. 

(Fun fact: Henry just patched up that hole last week while he was painting the bedroom. So, 13 years later.)

From Sephora on, that is the Erin that starred in the Saturday Shit Show. The wall-kicking Erin.

By the time I came home, I hadn’t calmed down much. Every single thing Henry said to me, no matter how innocent, was met with screeching snaps and snarls. Because it was his fault. Why did he have to buy me a Sephora gift card?!

Finally, I went upstairs and played a Defeater record, hoping that would settle me down before it was time to go skating. I was chill long enough to take this picture:

  

Erin Rachelle, during happier times

But then the switch was flipped again as we left the house to go skating. Chooch and I were sniping at each other because: siblings. We were only five minutes from home before he and I were both huffing about how we should just turn around and go home, and Henry was doing that thing where he remains very quiet but his eyes are kind of bulging a little. Finally, he actually did whip the car around, which caused Chooch and I to both angrily mutter, “Oh, that’s great. I guess we’re not going skating. I guess we’ll just sit in the house and rot all day” and then Henry lost it and yelled, “TELL ME WHAT THE FUCK YOU WANT TO DO?!” and then under his breath he mumbled something about feeling like he woke up in another dimension.

So we went skating. 

Oh! I was also angry because my phone charger broke as soon as we left the house. Henry was like “Is this actually over a phone charger?!”

  

Henry said he was going to go to the post office and Lowe’s while we were skating, which made me cry, “YOURE LEAVING US HERE ALONE?” I made him at least put my skates on me first, but he ended up not leaving anyway, probably because he was too afraid.   Instead, he stood on the other side of the rink wall with all the other parents, and made sure Chooch and I didn’t indulge our inner derby demons. 

But on the rink, Chooch and I usually team up with each other because we are both roller NARCs, rink tattlers, skate snitches. We hate when people don’t follow basic rules and etiquette, and Chooch kept catching up to me, and in a staccato cadence marred by huffs and pants, he would cry, “THAT KID OVER THERE NEEDS TO GTFO! DID YOU SEE ME ALMOST SKATE OVER HER HEAD?” 

When it’s amateur hour, and it mostly always is if there are birthday parties on the schedule, it’s like skating through the Killing Fields: a vertible slalom course dotted with limbs and felled bodies, parents struggling to pull their children off the rink, and skate guards whirring past at warped speed without so much as a second glance. 

IT’S KILL OR BE KILLED. 

  

Let me tell you someyhing about where I am in life: I really dislike being around people. The exception to this is concerts, which is really weird considering, but I think my love for the bands helps me deal with it. As soon as stepped onto the rink, I knew it was going to be bad. Romp n Roll’s skate guards are teenagers whose pals come to hang out with them, and in this case, “hanging out” entails rollerblading like high-speed Bond villains around the rink. There was one that almost knocked me over and I wanted to complain but Henry was like “Good luck, he’s friends with everyone who works here.”

Oh don’t worry, it got worse: in an effort to block out the enemies, I decided to focus on the music. I thought it would be nice to request a Bowie joint in honor of his recent passing, so I sent Chooch over to the DJ booth to do my bidding. He loves requesting songs, just like I did when I was his age. 

Before I continue, let me explain that the DJ is old, like probably older than HENRY. He has the voice of Casey Kasem, even. For all intents and purposes, he has all the characteristics of your basic, generic party DJ. 

So when Chooch requested Bowie, he should have been rifling through the discography on his head, narrowing down the tracks best suited to play in tandem with the pulsating track lights and terrified yelps of children unseasoned in the art of rollerskating. 

 

But instead he asked Chooch, “Is that the one who just died? I’ll try to play Mony Mony, ok?”

Whaaaaaat. 

I slammed into the wall opposite of Henry to disgustedly scream about this disgrace to music. 

Henry just shrugged and said, “I don’t know what to tell you.” Considering that’s his classic response, then it seems to me like he does in fact know EXACTLY what to tell me.  

I don’t know what exactly I wanted him to do, storm the DJ booth with flaming bags of dog shit or what, but I guess I thought he would at least care a little bit more than he was letting on. I hate how unreactionary he is!!

But don’t worry – he played Mmmbop and some lame Taylor Swift song. 

Shortly after this, regular skating was interrupted for “cart races” and I hate this segment of the session because it takes FOREVER. It’s such an unorganized shit show, like every time they do this is the first time. So we sat in the snack room and made Henry buy us pizza because he had the audacity to buy himself a soft pretzel without us. Can you imagine?! Feeding himself and not us?!

Chooch and I told Henry about all the people we hated and he just rolled his eyes because he doesn’t understand what it’s like to expect perfection. 

After cart races wrapped up, we resumed skating. On my second time around the rink, I skated through a sticky gum-like substance and came very close to falling. I made a HUGE DEAL over it, turning and pointing over my shoulder at the infected area of the rink, loudly mouthing off to my skating partner about it, who said, “I’LL GO REPORT IT!” 

He loves reporting things. 

I skated around two more times but was unable to locate the contaminate. Then the DJ turned on the lights and signaled for one of the incompetent rink guards to inspect the area, so I skated off and joined Henry along the wall.

“I CAUSED THIS,” I urgently informed him. And then I started cracking up, but not because I thought it was funny–I was kind of embarrassed. “I can’t go back out there now,” I cried, clutching Henry’s arm. 

“Why?” he mumbled. “No one cares.”

EXACTLY – NO ONE CARES. I watched as the rink guard did nothing more than give the general vicinity of the almost-accident scene a cursory glance, little more than a lazy once-over, before shrugging in the direction of the DJ booth, and then the rink lights went out again. 

“There was nothing there,” Chooch said a few minutes later when he joined us. “I told the DJ you tripped over a block but they didn’t see anything.”

“It wasn’t a block, you idiot!” I screamed over top of some unoriginal pop song. “IT WAS GUM OR SOMETHING! GOD, UGH!” And then to Henry I growled, “I’m done. Go get my shoes.” I was irate. The situation had inflated inside my head to tragic proportions where the entire roller rink had conspired against. I was ready to start fights with people. 

“We’ve only been here an hour!” he exclaimed, mental math’ing how much money I wasted. But then Chooch lost a dollar in the claw machine, so then there were two of us crying about wanting to leave and Henry was hissing something about “never again” so then I accused him of being on Romp n Roll’s side when I almost PERISHED out there AND the DJ didn’t know who the fuck David Bowie was?

Get fucked, Henry. 

It felt like everyone was pointing and laughing at me in slo-mo as we walked out and I’m still not sure if that didn’t exactly happened. Ugh, fuck you smilers!

We drove home in absolute silence. Except for one I declared that I was going to write a letter, which is how I retaliate when I’ve been wronged. 

Later, Henry made dinner and I told him with zero coats of sugar that it had no taste. He gave me a really scary look and then went to the store because I said I wanted cherry pie but I think it was less because he wanted to make me happy with pie and more because he needed to get away from me and Chooch. 

 
But by the end of the night, everything had righted itself and Chooch & I settled down (after having a brutal tug of war over a blanket until Henry stormed away and brought us a second blanket) to watch The Visit, which was way better than I expected and even Henry said it was “not bad” which was high praise because he hates everything M. Night touches. I guess M. Night is to him what Ryan Murphy is to me. (Seriously, stop giving American Horror Story new seasons!)

Sometimes it’s not about being happy vs. sad. There are all kinds of other weird second-strong emotions fighting for their moment to shine, and the bad ones win out occasionally. There really wasn’t anything that was going to “fix” my day other than going to bed and starting over in the morning.  And my Sunday was definitely better.

P.S. I forgot to mention that I had numerous coughing fits over the weekend  which was clearly my body’s attenpt to expel the demons. 

Mar 132015
 

I have really been phoning it in lately. Yes, I’m aware. But this is not going to be the post that changes any of that. Just kind of stating the obvious I guess.

Here are some pictures of things that happened this past week.

We went rollerskating on Saturday. I really thought that this was going to be the winter where we would get back into the skating game, but it just wasn’t to be. Our weekends have been pretty full, but when I realized that nothing was going on Saturday, I told Henry that this is what we would be doing and, as he tucked his dick between his legs, nodded obediently. Kara and Harland met us there, so that was fun even though I barely got to talk to Kara because hello, I’m too busy being a goddamn dream on wheels out there, OK?

And Henry was sad because he apparently hurt his foot in another pallet-related accident (WTF goes on at the Faygo Plant!?) so he did not rent skates and instead leaned against the wall and watched everyone else whirrr past under the flashing lights. God, cry me a river of Dorothy Hamill tears.

We are definitely done with Neville Rollerdrome and have chosen Romp-n-Roll as our new headquarters. It’s a pretty great spot and just feels more roller-rinky than Neville. The sad reality is that really no matter where we go, we’re going to be terrorized by kids who can’t skate, so I’m trying to just get over that.

I got to talk to Kara for about five minutes when I finally came off the rink for hydration. Apparently, she had Harland in the side room, which is kind of like a mini-rink except that there are pool tables in the middle. Either way, it’s a good spot for non-skaters to practice, so she was trying to help Harland when Professional Skater Henry stepped in and began instructing him, because even when he’s not skating, he has to remind everyone that he’s a better skater than me, god fucking dammit.

Highlights:

  • Some dickhead came out onto the rink with candy and spilled it, which subsequently led to people skating over bits of Skittles and grinding it into the floor. So the DJ stopped the music, turned on the lights, and told everyone to stop where they were. He explained the sitch and asked us if we could all take a few minutes to look around where we were stopped and see if we could find any candy shards and if so, to please dump it into the hands of a skate guard or take it to the DJ booth. This way, they wouldn’t have to shut down the session for however long it took them to clean the whole rink. I was so excited because I FOUND ONE RIGHT WHERE I HAD STOPPED! It was orange and I almost fell when I went to pick it up, but it was worth it for the opportunity to triumphantly glide over to the DJ booth and announce with authority, “I FOUND THIS.” On my way there, I passed Henry in the snack room and shot my hand up in the air so he could see my candied treasure. Later, he told me he didn’t know what I was doing. Fuck you, Henry.
  • Not falling.
  • No terrible Goldilocks issues with the rental skates.
  • The DJ starts out the session with some old school jams, and that makes me happy. Of course, it veers into hott urban joints after that, with some T.Swift sprinkled in, but what can you do. I also appreciated that he’s on a first-name basis with the singers. He’d be all, “Next up, here’s Sammmmmmm” and it would be some Sam Smith song (they all kind of sound the same to me). Or “Heyy! It’s time for some Ed.” And then Ed Sheeran would soundtrack my hazardous laps around a rinkful of birthday party-goers who were having their hands held by their parents WHO DID NOT HAVE SKATES ON. Ugh, people shouldn’t be allowed on the rink without skates. Wait…hold on…

Lowlights:

  • PEOPLE WERE ON THE RINK WITHOUT SKATES! And one woman had her BABY STROLLER OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RINK. I couldn’t even wrap my head around this. If this was Neville, she’d have had a major whistle blown at her skanky suburban ass.
  • When Henry didn’t know I found one of the candy perps. :(
  • Their rink policing SUCKS. I told Kara I want to be a rink ref and she was like, “But then you’d have to yell at people all day” and I was like, “INORITE!? AND BLOW A WHISTLE.”
  • Some little bitch in a Snow White dress nearly killed me probably the same amount of times she watches Frozen in a week. I honestly almost shoved her once because BITCH MOVE OUT THE WAY.
  • People are allowed to have their phones on the rink and every time I saw someone take a selfie-in-motion, I had to fight the urge to shoulder them into the wall.
  • Also, some people would congregate in small, idle groups on the rink, not even near the walls, but right in the prime skating path, and they would just stand there and TALK. Like they were IN A PARK PAVILION. Or near a WATER COOLER. Unacceptable.

After skating, we ate dinner at some old folks joint in Glenshaw called The Boulevard and it was really quaint! Totally one of those places where all the old people have standing relationships with the waitstaff.  “Why haven’t we ever eaten here before?” I wondered out loud, and Henry answered, “Because we’re never in Glenshaw?” And Henry was one of the youngest people there!

Then I was just sad that we’re not regulars anywhere.

Sunday chin-scratches. I had a dream a few weeks ago that Marcy had a horse penis and also had this huge growth on her stomach which turned out to be a pug. Like, an entire dog just hanging off her stomach. I guess it’s because I’ve been so stressed out because she’s old and has breast cancer and everyday I’m like IS SHE BREATHING!? And Henry will calmly answer, “Yes, Erin. She was also trying to sleep but your big mouth just woke her up.”

The other night, Marcy was sitting on the couch with us and I kept saying, “I love you!” to her in a panoply of accents and strangulated voices. “Aren’t you glad that I keep all of my voices on lock while I’m at work so that I can come home and unleash them all over the house?” I asked Henry.

“Yeah. Totally,” he sighed.

Henry bought me this shirt at the Pierce the Veil show a few weeks ago. <3

Ironing Perler bead creations: What is Henry’s life.

Behold the most majestic ground-sheath. Chooch has come to terms with it and even helped me unroll it. Henry was just like, “I hope Marcy pees on it.” Oh OK, as if you’re not going to take your clothes off and roll around on this when no one’s home, Henry. That’s not something you would do AT ALL.

Chooch hijacked Henry’s phone last night when he stupidly went to bed early, and hoo boy did we have some fun. Mostly we just terrorized people on Instagram. Chooch went to his favorite YouTuber’s Instagram page and we left him all kinds of love notes from Henry (jrobber1 if you feel some sick need to follow him on there). Then, after posting several selfies, Chooch started following horrible people on Henry’s behalf.

This morning, I was talking to Henry on my walk to the trolley and he blurted out, “You two are assholes.” I tried to play dumb, which is usually is pretty easy for me, because I’m naturally dumb, but he barked, “Oh don’t play dumb. I know what you guys did. I knew as soon as I opened Instagram this morning and Kim Kardashian’s boobs were everywhere.” Also, his alarm didn’t go off, so we’re getting blamed for that now, too.

I just started cracking up over this while I was getting stuff off the printer, because not only am I prone to laughing alone at  my desk, but also while traveling to other parts of the floor. And it’s probably not even really that funny, but you should know that lately I have been fluctuating between laughing until I have to puke, to crying until I have to puke. OK, that’s not just “lately.” That’s “always.”

Speaking of hyper-psychotic laughter, we’re all moving our shit to our new spaces today and I was like, “Hmm, why the hell do I have a sewing kit in this box?” And then I remembered someone gave it to me when I was making my Glenn garland for my office Christmas tree a few years ago. O MEMRIEZ.

I was just finishing up this Dahmer painting to join the others in the set* when Chooch strode over and said, “I want that. Can I have it? PLEASE LET ME KEEP IT!”

“What, why? It’s—”

“Jeffrey Dahmer, I know! And I want it,” he cried. So, I guess Dahmer is going on Chooch’s wall and I’ll just make another.

*Fish and Manson so far—I’m trying to paint as many as I can so I can incorporate them into new cards for my serial killer card shop. I need a new “everyday card” line.)

****

In other news, one of my co-workers, Marlene, was moving into her new desk yesterday and suddenly screamed. Her scream was then followed by an accusatory, “ERIN!!!” I slowly got up from my desk and said, “Yeah, I think I know what this is about….” Apparently, there was a  leftover bloody finger in one of the drawers from last Halloween’s scavenger hunt. So Marlene suggested that we put it in Debby’s drawer. Today, it was back in Marlene’s drawer and she immediately accused me! I was like, “I SWEAR I DIDN’T DO IT!” so the next obvious suspect in line is always Glenn, who wasn’t here yet. Marlene marched over to his desk and put it in his jar of peanuts.

“Great, he’s not going to think that I did that AT ALL,” I said. And of course, I got blamed for it. I told Marlene and she was like, “I hate to break it to you, Erin, but everyone ALWAYS thinks it’s you!”

“BUT LOOK AT THIS FACE!” I cried, pulling it into the most angelic visage of innocence I could muster.

“THAT is why we always think it’s you!” Marlene laughed.

And then I went into Wendy’s office and she was crying because her sister sent her some sad song and then I started crying because I saw Wendy crying and tears are contagious.

Speaking of crying! I’m going to see Mike+the Mechanics tonight and I said to Glenn, “When they play Silent Running tonight, and YOU KNOW THAT THEY WILL PLAY SILENT RUNNING TONIGHT, I’m going to cry so hard.”

“Good to know,” he mumbled. He’s just mad because he had to take my late shift tonight. SO THAT I CAN CRY AT THE MIKE+THE MECHANICS SHOW!

Friends, I am more Sybil than usual. I think I need some sort of Mexican home remedy.

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.

 

Feb 052014
 

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Way back in 2005, Henry, Janna and I used to sometimes frequent the Valarena Roller Rink. Somehow, we missed the memo that the Neville Rollerdrome was alive and kicking, which is a shame considering it’s approximately 45 minutes less of a drive than Valarena.

But now the Rollerdrome has new owners and I dislike the atmosphere of that rink, so I suggested that we give the ol’ Valarena another try because I don’t want to give these other assholes any more of my money. Henry didn’t seem very pleased about this, because it’s about an hour away, but he quietly donned his Whipping Boy status and drove Chooch and me out to Apollo, PA, which means nothing to anyone. I was pretty excited about it because from what I remembered about the Valarena, they had the perfect roller rink snack room pizza.

We arrived ten minutes before the skate session started and were made to stand outside in the cold winter rain.

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The McNichol-locks are BACK, you guys!

Chooch was sick last week and still a little sniffly, so Henry took him back to the car while I held our spots in line. Not like it was super-crowded, but there of course had to be some dumb bitch’s birthday party that day so a small crowd had formed within the next several minutes. There are several steps to get inside the rink, which is right near a road, so the line formed an l-shape, with several people standing on the steps and then everyone else lined up on the sidewalk along the road. An older “uncle”-type arrived with two teenage girls and some younger child of unidentifiable gender, and instead of standing in the back of the line, they encroached on my bubble at the bottom of the steps and before long, one of the bitch-teenagers was standing next to me and trying to get her footing on the step in front of us, which I had intentionally not stepped on because my face would have been planted inside the ass of the mom-type in front of me.

So this went on, this push and pull of line domination, before the door was finally unlocked and I texted Henry and Chooch to come back. Henry got in the back of the line because he’s a dumbass, but Chooch joined me on the steps and greeted me by calling me a racist. WTF?

Since Chooch doesn’t care about planting his face in some strange mom-type’s ass, I placed him in front of me so that we were in the lead again.

I honestly can’t stand people trying to elbow their way to the front. And Creepy Uncle just stood by and let this happen because he’s an asshole too.

So now I’m already fuming and we haven’t paid yet, which is never the way you want to start things. And then HENRY was still outside when it was our turn at the skate rental counter (yes, the bitch-teenagers tried to worm their way in front of me here too; I’m surprised they didn’t just mount the counter) so I had to guess a size for Chooch because neither of us knew what size he wears! Ugh, we are so dependent on Henry, it’s sickening.

And apparently I don’t know my own size either, which I realized as soon as Henry finally paid and entered the rink. I tore the too-big skates off my feet, thrust them at him and hissed, “GET ME A SMALLER SIZE.” And then Chooch needed a bigger size so he hurled his skates at Henry, too. Henry tried to shoot us a threatening stare and failed.

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The rink was way more awful than I remembered—it wasn’t that beautiful wood floor that I had grown accustomed to at the Rollerdrome, but some kind of ugly seafoam painted cement with tons of nicks throughout. (There’s roller hockey that happens here, so I guess that’s why the floor isn’t wood. SEE WHAT I DID THERE? I used my brain.) Which was a shame, because those skates, the correctly-sized ones, were perfection as far as rentals go! The tongues were all soft and pillowy and the wheels spun with recently-oiled efficiency. I strongly considered stealing them, even though the skate rental broad held my boots as collateral.

I took a couple warm-up laps and immediately found something to hate about every single person there. At the Valarena, parents can walk on the rink in their shoes and no one gives a damn. So not only did I have to contend with skating-impaired children and obnoxious roller bladers, I now had to be mindful of dawdling moms meandering about the rink like they’re at Wal-Mart looking for discounted Hostess cakes. Also, the rink is SMALL. Probably only half the size of Rollerdrome. I kept doing that super cute thing I do where I turn my nose up and make stank-face because OMG I’m too good for this place. (34 years I’ve been trying to outgrow this horrible personality flaw.) Henry noticed my scowl and immediately got all huffy with me for not being completely enamored with this redneck roller warehouse and then got REALLY huffy when I yelled over top of Journey’s Wheels in the Sky that “I JUST WANT TO GO HOME!” within 10 minutes of lacing-up.

I was pouting alone on the uncomfortable carpeted bench, so I didn’t get to see what happened next, but Henry told me that this kid I originally thought was just a really short 4-year-old but turned out to be a teenaged midget had speed-skated past Chooch and pushed him, so now Chooch was pissed off too and wanted to leave because that place sucked. I was really angry about this, not because some diminutive jerk pushed my kid, but because some broad got on the mic as soon as the session started to remind everyone that there was to be NO SPEED SKATING.

Later, I saw the rink ref (the same broad who was renting skates) squat down to hug him, so it was all crystal clear from that point on. These place was teeming with townie-ism.

My other big beef with this joint is that there is a doorway leading straight from the snack room to the rink, so recently-caffeinated children can whiz right on out to the skate floor without looking. When we were standing outside before the rink opened, I heard some man talking about the time he was knocked over by some kid skating out of the snack room and ended up breaking his arm, but I didn’t think anything of it until I saw it almost happen 87 times that afternoon. I guess I never noticed the dangers of this doorway when we used to go there for adult skate back in the day, because there were only ever about 10 people there on those nights.

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Oh! And then we got to play this fucked-up game called Crazy Skate where a siren would play several times during a song and everyone would have to switch directions, which is a really fun game to play with a floorful of people who can’t skate for shit, where “really fun” is German for DANGER DANGER. There was this gawky lady with 1980s ginger feathered hair and a dopey, blank expression clomping around the entire time in the wrong direction and it never failed that she would be right up in my business every time the siren sounded and I spun around.

HATED HER.

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The pizza wasn’t as good as I remembered, but that’s probably because the snack room was infested with non-skating parents and birthday party brats, so we couldn’t sit at a table. Instead, we sat on stools in front of the prize counter, basically in everyone’s way, and one of the bitch-teenagers was in my direct line of vision the whole time.

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Bitch-teenager in white shirt at 12 o’clock. (That’s 12 o’clock, right?)

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There was a crowd of kids watching Chooch and if I were him, I’d have had to run into the bathroom and dry heave.

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No one gets eliminated from Limbo. Seriously. I’m surprised they didn’t give all the kids trophies too. Also, I was really excited to tweet that I was placing my bet on the midget to win at Limbo, but then he didn’t even participate! He just sat against the wall, texting all the bitches in the dwarfetishism community.

Afterward, Henry was in the snack room ordering Chooch a drink (there was this whole fight about a drink earlier which I tuned out because it didn’t involve me) and Chooch and I were sulking on the bench, when a couple skate was announced. As Chooch and I took the floor, he started laughing hysterically.

“Daddy just pushed some broad!” he wheezed.

By the time I was able to look over, I saw Henry polluting the doorway of the snack room, but I didn’t see any downed bitch. Sadness! After couple skate was over, Henry skated out and tried to play like nothing happen so I started pressing him for info.

“I didn’t PUSH anyone. Some lady started to fall and I tried to catch her but it was too late,” he barked and then sighed wearily. This was starting to sound suspiciously more and more like a certain case of Henry vs. Wheelchair Lady at the Ted Nugent Show.

Later, he pointed out the lady who fell and it was the fucking dopey bitch from the 80s.

“Oh,” I waved a hand in the air, dismissing the whole thing. “She’s a fucking nuisance. It was only a matter of time before she fell, so she deserved it.”

Meanwhile, the rink ref was scrubbing vomit or some other type of bodily fluid off the floor by the bathroom, and then an area of the rink had to be cordoned off with tiny orange cones because supposedly water was leaking in from the side door, but I’m not entirely convinced there hadn’t been a murder in that spot.

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This scary old Russian man was the only good skater there, without being a flashy dick about it. (And also, not flashing his dick about it.) Also, this is one of the few times the rink ref was not found with a sponge or towel in her hand.

So, the pros are:

  • decent pizza
  • buttery skates

Cons:

  • the entire population of small-town Apollo goes there so we reeked of Outsider.
  • far away
  • shittastically dangerous skate floor
  • too small to contain my greatness
  • that unfortunately-placed snack room door
  • it’s just gross
  • people bleed there
  • midgets

Next up, we’re going to revisit the Valley Skate Center, which has the most majestic skate floor you could imagine BUT has really shitty people working there, no order on the rink, comically terrible rental skates (which wouldn’t be a problem if I just BOUGHT MY OWN SKATES, I know!), not to mention the last time we were there, I caused a scene.

But if we go to that one and it still doesn’t “feel just right,” then I think it’s pretty clear that I need to just build my own rink. Or settle for the Rollerdrome. (I know: wow, what problems, right? But sometimes it’s easier to dwell on these insignificant little things rather than cry myself to sleep every night over Real Life.)

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.)

May 142013
 

I had plans to go roller skating this past Saturday with my friends Sandy and Elizabeth. This was monumental for several reasons:

  1. I hadn’t been skating since Chooch’s birthday party a year ago, what the fuck?!
  2. This was going to be my first time hanging out with Elizabeth, with whom I became blog-friends through Sandy. (Though we did technically meet very quick-like at the Big Butler Fair last year, long enough for a handshake, and then the Wacky Worm pulled me in another direction.)
  3. CHOOCH AND I WERE GOING WITHOUT HENRY.

Henry, who has been pulled all over the great state of Pennsylvania nearly every weekend lately, decided that this would be the perfect chance for him to finally get some shit done around the house.

At first I was like, “OMG WE CAN’T POSSIBLY DO THIS WITHOUT YOU HOW COULD YOU ABANDON US LIKE THIS YOU MONSTER!” But then I thought, “Wait….I get to go skating and then come home to a clean house? Tell me more. No, wait — STFU and just start cleaning, motherfucker.”

I think that the fact that Sandy and Elizabeth were going to be there made Henry feel a little more confident in his decision to usher us out the door, nary a compass nor bag of breadcrumbs. Not even a helmet for our precious heads!

Before we could even think about leaving, though, Henry had to go and put gas in the car, make sure we were properly monied-up, and then remind us of our respective skate sizes. It was a pretty large undertaking, but soon Chooch and I were on our way — and I didn’t even need directions!

Sandy and her daughter Elena were already there when we got there, and I proudly told her that Chooch and I had made it there all on our own. Sandy has worked with me for three years now so she is fully aware of my crippling dependence on Henry so it was all Blame Henry up in that parking lot for about 5 seconds and then my excitement for rollerskating eclipsed my abandonment issues.

*****

Parenting

I will say that skating-up took way longer than it would have if Henry had been there. Because when Henry is there, he laces both mine and Chooch’s skates before worrying about his own. Sandy would not do this for us, so Chooch wound up with his skates on the wrong feet, forcing me to rub my Care Bear belly-stretchmarks to radiate some of my dormant maternal magic upon the situation. (At least I put my skates on the right feet.)

I won’t even get into Chooch’s lacing-skills. Anyone walking by would have thought for sure he was an inbreed based on his skate-lacing alone. Jesus Christ.

(Sandy even took a picture of me fixing Chooch’s skates for parenting proof.)

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We had barely begun skating before Chooch was all, “I’m hungry, feed me.”

I panicked briefly until I remembered that there was change from our rink admission. So I balled it up into Chooch’s hand and steered him toward the snack room. Thank god he is way more self-sufficient than me and was able to procure his own food. However, he summoned me from the doorway and made me sit with him, which was really annoying because seven-year-olds should be able to eat by themselves. But instead, I sat with him, straining every few seconds to hear what AWESOME POP SONG we were missing but sure to hear 87 more times throughout the day, thanks a lot for having the audacity to be hungry, kid.

He shared his nachos with me, at least.

*****

Socks & Socializing Attempts

Sandy forgot to bring socks so it was either wait for Elizabeth to bring her a pair or pay $2.50 for a pair at the skate shop and god only knows where they get their socks. This was such an epic subplot to the day—would she wait for Elizabeth or go sock-commando and risk contracting some fatal strain of Athlete’s Foot?!— that I might create a Twitter handle* for it.

*(SandysSocks, obviously.)

But then Elizabeth and her husband Mike arrived with a spare pair of socks before Sandy had to resort to wrapping her feet in snack bar napkins. Elizabeth informed me later that it was kind of a big deal that Mike agreed to come because he had some terrible spill at a skating party in 6th grade which was caught on tape and he has never quite healed. So I scratched his name off the adult supervision list.

The problem with meeting friends at the skate rink is that skating isn’t conducive to conversation. At least not for me anyway. Because I like to skate FAST. Too fast to talk!

Sometimes I will slow down long enough to comment on the current song situation though. Like when “Call Me Maybe” was playing, I had to make sure that everyone knew Chooch and I requested it. “Didn’t they already play this?” either Sandy or Elizabeth wondered, and I can’t remember which right now because every time I close my eyes to try and re-picture the scene, all I see are blurs because I skate SO FAST REMEMBER.

(I actually wasn’t skating at Turbo Speed on this day. I didn’t want to die! And god help the poor soul that would have to help lift me off the rink, seriously.)

We mutually decided that maybe next time, we will go out for drinks, fancy food, all of the above.

*****

Roller DJ Reunion

Before I could even consider skating, I had to get my obligatory chastising by Roller DJ out of the way. I mean, he gets angry when I take a season off, so I braced myself for the scathing I was about to get for being AWOL an entire year.

I made up some on-the-spot excuse about scheduling conflicts and sicknesses, and by that I meant, like, the flu, but I guess Roller DJ took it to some terminal level and gasped, “Oh no, I’m sorry to hear that!” So I just kind of ran with that because at least he wasn’t making me feel like a skating poser for dipping out of the scene. He was probably picturing Henry cloistered in a darkened infirmary run by monks, finally succumbing to some disgusting disease he contracted when he was in the SERVICE. Fucking Panama!

Or maybe that’s just me who would picture that.

On the outside of the DJ booth is a big neon-lit sign that boasts DJ Big Will.

“That’s new!” I observed, and Roller DJ beamed.

“I just had it made!” he shouted proudly over throbbing basslines. “You have to like my page on Facebook!” Oh, you bet I will!

Sadly, Roller DJ’s ‘fro is no more. Maybe I should make a Twitter handle for that, too.

*****

Falls

I have to be honest here — I was scared when I first stepped out into the rink. I thought for sure, being out of the groove for a year, that this was going to be the day when the rink transformed into one consecutive banana peel and I was going to have all sorts of bones protruding from my limbs and poor little Elena was going to proficiently skate past this writhing mass of contusions and shrieking curse words and be utterly traumatized for at least the next three years and then will probably forget about it until one day in her twenties when she hears Justin Bieber’s “Beauty and the Beat” on some oldies station in a grocery store and wonders why she wants to puke more violently than people typically do when they hear any song by that dickstick.

Oh, that’s just the repressed images of Miss Erin’s “Grey’s Anatomy”-caliber rollerskating injury that the Biebs is helping you to re-see, Elena.

And oh god, can you imagine if I sucked in front of two people who BLOG? They would have a field day with their “ERIN FELL! READ ALL ABOUT IT!” blog posts. But I wasn’t as rusty as I anticipated! I mean, like Sandy said, I wasn’t wrapping my legs around my head or even at the very minimal doing the jumps during the Cha Cha Slide, but I could probably beat most of you turkeynoodles* in a race!

*(This was my attempt at cutting back on the swears because my vulgarity came up earlier today and now I’m feeling extremely self-conscious about it, fuck. The old Erin would have called you all cuntnoodles. I miss Old Erin already!)

The best part about this particular session is that it wasn’t crowded — it looked like one birthday party was going on and then a handful of inoffensive people. There really wasn’t anyone there that got on my nerves!

Just kidding.

There was some semi-chubby 10-year-old girl in head-to-toe spandex and blond ponytail and I don’t know what it was about her, but she rubbed me the wrong way.

Maybe it was because she reminded me a little bit of myself.

She fell during the Hokey Pokey and I had to summon every last morsel of restraint within myself to keep from publicly heckling her.

One perk of leaving Henry at home is that I was able to freely glide around the rink like the graceful swan that I am and no one could say, “You’re an OK skater, but DAMN—Henry can skate, y’all!”

Henry, Henry, Henry! — whined in the stylings of Jan Brady.

UGH! It gets pretty cold living in Henry’s shadow.

But seriously, aside from all of the skate guards and the two junior derby broads, I was totally the best skater there. Although, there was some older guy in a Clyde’s Auto Repair shirt and feet stuffed into fancy quads who was doing some moderately slick moves, but he fell A LOT and was pretty wobbly even when he wasn’t falling. I mean, I’m sure he was probably real sick in his day, but is pretty washed-up by 2013’s standards. Sorry, bro. I’m better than you.

(This is based solely on the fact that I didn’t fall, even though Chooch kept trying to tell Henry that I did.)

In fact, you can tell that I must have skated without break the whole time based on the fact that I only have one picture from that afternoon. (No phones on the rink, duh!)

There was another dad-type there who flipped over the wall, which was incredibly hysterical and I hope Elizabeth’s husband saw it because that’s gotta make him feel better about his own vintage roller skating birthday party blunders.

You know who else fell a lot? My damn kid. Jesus Christ! I don’t know how we didn’t cap off the day with a Children’s Hospital visit. This is how I learned that I would be a terrible skate guard because I struggled every time I had to help him pick himself back up.

Plus, the whole “lacking compassion” aspect.

Meanwhile, Elena was diligently skating around the rink relatively independently with a skate gate to aid her. (Sadly, she seems like she’s way more independent than me in most life situations. And she’s only 3.) “You skate better than your mom!” I yelled at her encouragingly as I skated past. “Yeah!” she yelled happily. She fell a few times, as kids do, but considering she is already so low to the ground, none of these falls produced any tears. Still, Chooch was all concerned about her every time and had to check for himself to make sure she was OK.

I don’t know where he gets that! Two years of Catholic school, maybe? Nah, those people were dicks.

Maybe if the rink had offered those skate gates two years ago, more people would have skated at my birthday party.

*****

Music

So, my music tastes are definitely pretty off the grid, varying from 80s goth to screamo, synthpop to post-rock, but I do really enjoy pop music. And really, nothing is better to skate to than some bubblegum-poppin’ Top 40. Therefore, I requested “Heart Attack” by Demi Lovato without a single ironic fuck given.

“I don’t have that,” Roller DJ said without apology.

“Seriously?!” I cried. I mean, that joint has constant radio rotation!

“Is this it?” he asked, playing Trey Songz.

“No,” I sighed with attitude.

“Are you sure?” he pressed on. Meanwhile, Chooch had fallen on his hip right outside of the DJ booth and I was struggling to pull up 70 pounds of dead weight while assuring Roller DJ that I was positive it was not the song because that was a man singing and Demi Lovato is A GIRL.

“This is the only ‘Heart Attack’ I have, so it’s gotta be it,” he argued.

OMFG! One is R&B, the other is Pop!!! I was like, “Just forget it!” and skated off.

A few minutes later, the Demi Lovato version came on and Chooch and I cheered. I gave Roller DJ a thumbs up when I whizzed past him and he gave me one of his scary, sly smiles.

Pop music is just really the best music to skate to — it’s fun and energetic and even if it’s fucking Katy Perry, I can usually tune out her shitty vocals and focus on just the beat. I have an unapologetic love for hot pop songs, you guys.

But then the opening notes of the next song trickled out onto the rink and there was a collective groan, which salvaged some of my faith in humanity.

It was Mackelmore’s “Thrift Shop.”

“THIS IS MY SONG!” Chubby Spandex Tween shouted to all of the friends that her parents bought for her. “I ASKED FOR THIS SONG!”

God, I knew I should have heckled her when she fell during the Hokey Pokey.

I don’t know what it is about “Thrift Shop” that makes me want to scream. That’s a lie. It’s the horns, it’s the beat, it’s that obnoxious child voice. I don’t dislike the other Mackelmore songs that I have heard though, just this one.  And besides my hatred for this song, it is really not a good song to skate to.

I guess everyone has that one song (or 50) that they absolutely cannot stand. Janna used to HATE that Billie Meyer’s song, “Kiss the Rain.” I purposely bought the CD (I think this was 1998 maybe?) and put that song on repeat one day when she was at my apartment because that’s how awesome of a friend I am. I even sent her a YouTube video of a live “Kiss the Rain” performance for her birthday the other day.

You know what other song drives me nuts? That fucking monotonous Icona Pop “I Love It” song which of course was played during Saturday’s skate session. Chooch loves that song though, so we always argue about.

“I wish she would crash her car into a bridge,” I muttered after hearing it for the 87th time one day.

“Why?” Chooch asked. “She won’t care.”

OH SNAP, SON.

*****

“So, don’t you and Chooch ever go anywhere together without Henry?” Barb asked me at work the following Monday, when we were sneaking hot beverage and conversation together over by the kitchen.

“I mean, if we have to, but….why would we?” I said with a shrug. Barb made some sort of “Yeah, really” expression and that was the end of that conversation.

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.

Mar 052012
 

Even when we were on a skating hiatus during the fall (tried to explain to Roller DJ that things are just too busy for us during that season but he didn’t want to hear it, jerk), I still kept tabs on the roller rink through Facebook to see if any soul skates were going to happen. Because I’d drop anything for some fucking soul skate. Some of the best times of my life (read: 2011) happened on that rink, beneath the flashing lights and pulsating beats of “Roll Bounce;” it’s kind of romantic, actually. For three whole hours, Henry and I get along. Sometimes he even looks attractive to me.

Finally, Roller DJ sent me a Facebook invite for an upcoming soul skate at the end of February. I RSVPd without even looking at the date, to be honest.

When we pulled into the lot that evening, I let out a ridiculous “Yay, black people!” cheer, which made Henry cringe, but you guys just don’t understand how happy I was to see all the Rollers milling about out there. They are THE BEST SKATERS IN THE WORLD. They make me embarrassed for my fellow white people, the same way my reverse racism embarrasses Henry. Thank god I’m only 2% white.

20120303-081108.jpgSometimes, during regular afternoon sessions, there is this awesome semi-scene kid who comes alone, with his own green-wheeled skates. He is a fast, adept skater and these are things I look for in potential mates, plus he seems like he would be open to listening to Dance Gavin Dance in the cemetery at night, something that is on Henry’s never-to-do list.  When he showed up after us at adult skate, I could barely contain myself, tugging on Henry’s arm, squealing “I hope he asks me to prom!” in Laura’s face. I was also pretty smug because the last time I saw him, Henry argued that he was sure this guy was underage, but the fact that  he showed up alone to adult skate made me confident that he is AT LEAST 18. Sure, I will probably be consumed with a bit of shame once we produce roller-babies together, but I’m sure it won’t last long.

I’ve done worse.

(Not underage stuff, though! Jesus.)

(This post is not going well.)

He was sitting behind me in the snack room, so I propped my phone up to make it look like I was taking a picture of myself.

“No. No. To the left. More. No, you’re still blocking him,” Laura kept saying, trying to coax my phone in the proper direction so I could snag an image of my new prom date to share with all my imaginary Internet friends.

“You’re the worst at that,” Henry grumbled, watching me with his furrowed caterpillar-eyebrows, lips bent up in his signature disapproving smirk.

Later on the rink, he whirled past me and I shouted to Henry, “I want to go ask him where his flute is!”

Thank god Henry is old and gets all my stupid 70s television programming references. This doesn’t mean he thinks they’re funny, though.

(Seriously, you have to see this kid from the front. H.R. Pufnstuf has got to be waiting out in his car.)

20120303-081116.jpgLaura reveling in her first Soul Skate!

20120303-081123.jpgHenry’s rink ref bromance was there. His name is Paul and he’s actually a very  nice guy, I just don’t get why he allows Henry to skate with him. I trailed them silently for a while, trying to eavesdrop, because what could they possibly have to talk about? Paul is a tangible majesty on wheels, leaving a trail of rhythm and skate-sex in his wake (you should see this man couple-skate!); Henry looks like Opie skating down to the creek to skip some stones before the Mayberry sock hop, leaving a trail of wedgie-inducing khakis and pocket protectors in his wake. I sidled up behind them but all I could make out over top of a 50-minute funk track was Henry’s HYUK-HYUK-HYUKing.

I like to do a Godzilla-dub of his laugh, making sure my jaw movements don’t  match up with the hyuk’ing. Henry does not find this amusing.

Later in the night, we were talking to Paul about skates, since we’re both looking into buying our own. (This is a big, serious process! I don’t want to fuck up and get some lame pair that doesn’t accentuate my scene kid swag.)

“I just like to skate fast,” I yelled over top of the quaking speakers.

“Yeah, I know you do!” Paul shouted back emphatically, which made me proud that he noticed. So we talked about my options, and then Paul kept trying to convince Henry to give his skates a try.

“Maybe later!” Henry kept saying on a bed of sheepish giggles, like Paul had just pulled a string of anal beads out of his back pocket. Before the end of the end, though, Paul finally wore him down, and Henry thought he was the baddest cracker out there, gliding around in a pair of $1,000 boots under-lit with a blue neon track light. He bragged about it for days.

Nauseating.

A gaggle of obnoxious honkies infiltrated the rink with their Valley Girl lilt and Katy Perry fan club membership cards. I knew right away that they were going to make the Rollers whisper “This is why segregation is sometimes OK!” They all looked like they stepped out of a 1998 Gap ad campaign, so basically imagine a gang of giddy Jannas. The ring leader was a ginger bitch wearing underwear on the outside of her jeans. (Laura overheard her telling someone she had lost a bet, but I could tell she was the type of person who thrived on the attention, good or bad.) There was something about her that immediately rubbed me the wrong way; well, yeah, there was the fact that she was a ginger (and not a good-looking one, either; but one plucked from the branches of the Bonaduce family tree).

The only good thing about their presence was that their sheer skating inadequacy made me look even better to the Rollers, I’M SURE. They just clomped around the rink in a tight group, stumbling and wobbling, having no rhythm and being white. I kept speeding past them, like I do, and I think Gingerpants was getting angry about it, because toward the end of the night, she suddenly broke away from the pack and passed me out of nowhere.

One thing to know about me is that I get easily up-in-arms. Sometimes (see also: 90% of the time) unrightfully so. When I am on that rink though, I get what I like to call skate muscles, where I really feel like everyone is out to get me and I am there to beat up the world. So when this ginger bitch smoked me, I didn’t take very kindly to it. Whether she did it intentionally or not (I honestly believe that she DID, though), this carrotbroad just threw down the gauntlet for a skate battle.

I skated off the rink and skidded to a stop next to Henry.

“DID YOU SEE WHAT THE GINGER DID TO ME?!” I exclaimed, arms akimbo, voice trembling with haughtiness. “SHE FUCKING TRIED TO RACE ME I THINK!”

Henry answered me by doing that thing he does to signify he’s exhausted by my antics, which is sighing wearily and running one calloused hand over his eyes.

“WATCH THIS,” I shouted as I skated back on the rink. She had rejoined her little suburban whitebreads; I dug down hard and picked up a good speed, turning to the side to skim between her and the wall.

She almost fell.

I couldn’t tell if Henry’s expression was one of shame to be associated with me, or one that said, “I’m gon’ bed that badass tonight.”

I was halfway around the rink, figuring that the battle was over, when I noticed a bright red beacon in my periphery; I looked over just in time to see Carrot Top’s illegitimate daughter glaring at me over her shoulder, like I’m her greatest enemy: The Sun.

“OH FUCK NO!” I shouted to no one and everyone, firing up my skates and passing her again. She never did catch up with me again, I don’t know if she gave up and or just succumbed to her melanin deficiency, but I noticed that she and her goof troop left the rink shortly after.

“I can’t believe that stupid white girl tried to race me, ” I scoffed later.

“You’re white,” Henry reminded me.

Only on the outside, my friend. Only on the outside.

Feb 122012
 

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I haven’t had time to write about skating last Sunday, but then I realized that the only thing that actually happened was that I got stuck skate-talking to Roller Creep during four corners. It didn’t even matter that Chooch was with me; he just kept bragging and bragging about the fact that the rink gives him his own weekly show now (another reason to switch to Saturday sessions). He basically gets one song to do his static routine, while all the little girls who have never seen him before kneel on the carpeted benches and squeal in amazement.

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Other than that, Henry’s bromance/rink owner was home sick that afternoon, so he moved on his son instead. The poor kid was behind the skate rental counter trying to tighten up bearings and here’s what appears to be a bear* on skates asking him all kinds of predatory questions.

(*And I don’t mean the animal.)

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The one who dubbed Henry “Smiley.”

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There was a lot of snow on the ground, with the threat for more, yesterday when we arrived at the rink. But there was still a line.

And people say roller skating is obsolete.

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“What? These were cool in 1983!”

My work friend Joy came out with her fiancé John and three other friends, which pleased me. I love that damn rink so much and any time I can persuade people to stop by, I feel like I’ve won a small war on modern activities, like basket-weaving and Botox appointments.

Even Joy said, “This was great! It’s good, clean fun!” AND IT IS, even though some asshole finds ways to desecrate the wholesome family sentiments behind it by calling all the kids she hates dickheads and motherfuckers on her blog afterward, mocks her friends for falling, and has not-so-secret scandalous thoughts about the new rink ref.

I think Joy wanted me to point out that John bit it three times while she remained upright for the whole session. SHE DIDN’T DO THE YMCA THOUGH.

Speaking of, I always get performance anxiety during the YMCA. What if my C is backward?!

There is an adult skate coming up in two weeks and I’m determined to bring new recruits to that, too.

Chooch spent the rest of the day singing the Village People quietly to himself. Better than Katy Perry.

Feb 062012
 

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Just last week, Chooch whined to me, “I liked it better when people came with us to skate. You never ask anyone to come with us anymore!” But I do ask! All the time! As it turns out, most grown ups just don’t give a shit about roller skating. However, Laura was off last Sunday and promised that she would go, even though she fell when she attemped to skate at my birthday party last summer.

LAURA IS A TRUE FRIEND.

We arrived at the rink a little bit before 1:30 and it’s a good thing we disobeyed Henry by jumping out of the car and standing in line, because that line exploded really fast. It was so crowded last Sunday! Almost like roller skating was popular again.

In addition to multiple birthday parties, I think it was Urban Recreation Day because the hooligans were there by the busload. And of course, none of them could skate so the rink was a minefield of inner city limbs. It calmed down a bit after awhile though; I’m not sure if the kids gave up and left or if their lo-jacks were sounding off.

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Laura fell before she even made it onto the rink and I am so disappointed that I missed it. Henry got to see it though and I hope that he laughed at her, but knowing Henry, he probably dove into Real American Hero mode and offered to help her up.

Henry and I are so different.

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Chooch and I do this awesome thing where we ditch Henry at the skate counter and then he has to carry an entire bushel of quads back to us. (And I always sit as far away as possible, allowing for the utmost chances of jutted feet for him to trip over as he weaves and winds his way down to me. It’s my duty, and I do it well.)

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My friend Shawn recently moved back to the area last year and I managed to con him and his two little girls, Cosi and Anais, to come out for some afternoon skate action. In addition to spending quality time with his kid, the fact that he knew he would be subject to relentless guilt-tripping and puppy dog-eyeing from me might have factored in as well. Cosi thought I worked there because I’m so fantastic.

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Chooch’s reaction when he saw the GIRLS.

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I had to bribe him with ice cream to get him to pose for this picture.

There was a new rink ref there that day. His name is Joe and I believe he’s one of the Jammers, a group of local skaters who skate better than you. Oh shit, my crush inflated like J-Woww’s jugs as soon as I saw his smooth moves. Plus, there was nothing annoying, creepy or offensive about him! I know this because Roller Creep was there again so I got a pretty telling side-by-side comparison.

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I call this portion of the story: Erin’s Big Fall

It was rough waters out there that day. Roller DJ and I have differing opinions on this subject, but I think that sharing a rink with children is pretty much the worst thing ever to have to do with skates on. This might have a lot to do with the fact that I generally do not approve of the presence of children anywhere, though. Roller DJ thinks it’s So Important for everyone to skate together with no segregation because it’s the amazing people like me who inspire children to want to get better (or learn at all). Brother, I don’t ever see a fucking child looking up to an adult in awe; I see asshole children creating moving slaloms for me, impetuously changing direction and purposely throwing themselves down on the floor to be “funny.”

But I braved that sea of pinwheeling kinder-limbs with my normal bravado, and even when Chooch and I were couple-skating* and Chooch fell, causing me and another couple to collide into the wall, my feet didn’t leave the ground.

*(He couple skate-blocked Henry and would only let me skate with him;even when it was Lady’s Choice, he picked for me! Oh well, at least I finally got to couple skate to “Broken Wings”! With my 5-year-old! How romantic!)

It wasn’t until later in the session that it happened. We were packed in like sardines on that fucking rink and I found myself trapped in the most congested area of all. I’m moderately good at the whole bob and weave aspect of roller skating, but sometimes I choke. At this particular moment, I needed the fucking Heimlich. A small child in front of me started to go down. I saw it as if it were playing out in slow-motion but there was nothing I could do; I was blocked on both sides and my reflexes atrophied. Before I knew it, I was skating right into a tangled child. And of course this would happen on the one day my friends actually came out to watch me be a dream on wheels.

This was it, the moment I had been dreading since I started roller skating again as an adult: I was going to break my hip, splinter my pride, split my pants: one if not ALL of these things were going to happen in 3…2…

I landed on one knee and one hand and in one quick motion, I sprung myself back up. JUST LIKE THEY DO IN HOCKEY YOU GUYS. Oh, the grace that was displayed! It would have made an angel flush with envy.

I even asked the kid if it was alright.

Then I skated it off like it never happened, all the while scanning the rink for Henry.

“DID YOU SEE ME FALL?” I cried out after finally spotting him later.

“What? No. It must have happened when I was in the bathroom.”

“Did you see me fall?” I asked Laura, who shook her head side-to-side. Shawn missed it too.

“NO ONE SAW MY AMAZINGLY GRACEFUL RECOVERY?” I wailed. It would fucking figure!

Amazing recovery aside, it still sucks to wipe out as an adult. My No Fall Streak is done-zo. I wish now that I could remember what song was playing, but I totally can’t. I’m sure one day when I’m listening to the radio and find myself awash with sudden shame, I will know that that was the song soundtracking my Big Fall.

Hokey Pokey Party Foul

Roller DJ plays the Hokey Pokey every week; you can laugh all you want, but that shit is fucking fun. I was excited that Shawn and Laura were there that day, so we could all laugh and put our backsides in together like it’s 1974 and Henry’s outlook on life is current. However, Laura shook her head in fright and the rest of them were nowhere in sight, so I skated out alone and joined the oblong people-circle.

Surely Henry and Chooch will join me, I thought.

The circle stretched into an even more oblong-shape as more people came out to turn themselves around.

But still no Henry and Chooch.

Roller DJ started the song.

Still no motherfucking Henry and Chooch.

There is something exceptionally pathetic and slightly embarrassing about being a grown-up and doing the Hokey Pokey alone. Sure, there was a rinkful of families out there with me, but I had no child of my own to exchange sidelong glances and giggles with. I mean, I tried it once, looked to my left and made eye contact with a little girl who did not return my smile, unless turning her eyes into saucers of STRANGER DANGER  is how she expresses happy camaraderie with her Hokey Pokey neighbor; I turned to my right only to see some mom videotaping her son who was right next to me, so let’s hear it for Erin doing the Hokey Pokey on some asshole’s family video tape.

Even still, I put my whole self in with some motherfucking gusto.

Henry’s New Name

Henry is off the rink more than he’s on it. He’s always wandering off, holding the owner, Jim, chat-hostage or talking to Paul, the rink ref. I can’t imagine what he talks to them about, installing Faygo machines? The Andy Griffith Show? Kristy McNichol coming out as a lesbian? Who the fuck knows! But it’s kind of creepy and who knew a roller rink would turn Henry into a social butterfly.

(You know who he never talks to though? Roller DJ. Probably because I already claimed him.)

“Jim’s wife just asked me if I ever smile,” Henry laughed, catching up to me on the rink. (Which is where you will almost always find me, considering that is what I pay to do.)

“Who the fuck is Jim?” I asked, annoyed that I had to slow my stride to have my brain freeze-dried by Henry.

“Uh, the owner,” he reminded me with indignance.

“Ok…?” I said, waiting to be disappointed by yet another No-Climax episode with Henry.

“Anyway, she said Robin told her she could make me smile,” he laughed, clearly flattered that someone would make a flirtatious remark about his non-descript self. I felt my face flare up with The Flames of Jealousy.

“Who’s Ro—” I started, but Henry, knowing that I never pay attention to this shit, was ready for it.

“One of the rink refs,” he sighed. Once I placed her, all my jealousy went back to funneling intself toward Jennifer Aniston’s hair and whichever skank Jonny Craig is presently using as a penis-cosy.

“Jim’s wife said she’s going to call me Smiley now,” Henry went on, smiling and shaking his head. God, go tell your mommy about it.

I will say though, that it is pretty cool to go there every week and have all these guys saying hello and looking all happy to see us. It’s starting to feel like a second home, like we might actually BELONG somewhere!

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Post-skating sundae.

[Ed.Note: I apologize if my posts have been even more grammar-erratic than usual lately. We haven’t had Internet at the house for a week now, thanks to Verizon fucking with the telephone pole. Comcast was supposed to come today but they did NOT and you better believe I want my bill adjusted. Anyway, I have been posting from my phone and sometimes from work, although I have actually had real work to do! I’ve been trying to finish this particular post since last Wednesday. Life is hard, you guys.]

Feb 042012
 

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There is an older broad here with a huge stick up her ass and a dildo-looking boyfriend on roller blades who is showing off for her and her two cunt-face little girls.

Chooch is skating like a zombie.

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There is a thing that I can’t tell if it’s a pre-teen boy or a middle-aged woman. Either way: total Uggz City.

Another young person looks just like the boy from Dark Crystal, only with a vagina. Henry agrees for once.

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Henry wonders why the rink owner’s wife has dubbed him “Smiley.” (SPOILER ALERT for the next skating post which I have put off writing all week because I’m a fraud of a blogger.)

In actual skating news, Chooch is getting so good, you guys! I’m still way better though. Don’t worry.

Jan 302012
 

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Chooch had another skating lesson Saturday evening. It’s really fun to be at the rink during non-session hours, mostly because there are so few people there and you would think it would lower the odds of me finding an asshole to hate, when instead it does quite the opposite; the absence of a crowd only makes it easier for me to single out the dickheads.

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We weren’t even out of the car yet when a trio of pre-teen girls ran past us and drenched our ear drums in their shrill giggles. I recoiled, then seethed, then declared my hatred for them.

“Why,” asked Henry’s mom, who tagged along to play Chooch Cheerleader. “Do you know them?”

“I don’t need to know them,” I grumbled, making her laugh nervously. It’s been eleven years, but she is still learning about me.

However, it only took me ten minutes once inside to completely forget about the Giggle Hookers and set my sights on another young target.

It all started when I got up to pee. I was walking toward Henry, who was coming back from sucking up to the owner, when he was forced to step over the legs of some girl, who was kneeling in the middle of the walkway while lacing one of the Giggle Hooker’s skates.  Earlier, she had been standing in line in front of us with her grandfather, who looked like Punky Brewster’s dad, and she didn’t seem very offensive at all then. Maybe a little smug, but nothing about her attitude really stuck out.

But now that her grandfather wasn’t within earshot, her true cuntitude came shining through.

Right as I was about to walk past her, I heard her scoff indignantly to her friends and spit, “That man just STEPPED OVER TOP OF ME.”

Well, duh, you dumb bitch. How else is going to get around you when you’re practically setting up camp in the middle of the walkway, soar over you on his Winged Ass Pony?

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It wasn’t until I reached the bathroom that I became super bothered. That’s my property she was mouthing off about. It’s OK for me to publicly cheesegrate his masculinity, but when someone else makes an attempt, I turn into a snorting bull. (Which isn’t much of a change from my usual demeanor.)

On my way back to our spot on the bench,  she was bragging to her giggly friends about how she’s taking the ADVANCED CLASS when I forced eye contact with her. She flitted her eyes away from mine in a hurry. Arms akimbo, I stormed over to Henry and began waving wildly as I told him and his mom what I had witnessed.

“I was so angry, I punched the mirror in the bathroom, Henry!” I cried, my fists all balled up.

“You did not,” he said calmly.

“You’re right, I didn’t. But I really am angry!” Seriously, cutting myself all because of Henry? Yeah right.

Meanwhile, Henry’s mom was laughing nervously while watching us verbally volley back and forth: Henry recounting the perils and consequences of a 32-year-old woman starting a fight with a 13-year-old; me cutting him off with desperate accusations, such as, “WHY, DO YOU THINK I’M SCARED OF HER?” and “I DON’T CARE IF I GO TO JAIL, IT’S WORTH IT.”

 

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Just then, she skated past and looked directly at me.

“SHE JUST FUCKING LOOKED AT ME!” I yelled. Henry’s mom, who was originally on Team You’ll Go To Jail,  laughed and then retorted with, “LOOK AT HER, SHE THINKS SHE’S SO COOL” and “SHE DOESN’T LOOK ADVANCED TO ME!”

Henry threw his hands up and said, “Seriously, mom?” and then stalked away to stand alone by the snack room. Every once in awhile, he would wave at me from his stance on neutral land.

While everyone was lining up to prepare for the lessons, I overheard the Whorebitch say, “I’m gonna have to put some ice on my foot.” She’s gonna have to put some ice on her FACE by the time I’M done with her.

AMIRITE HENRY? AMIRITE?

She fell during her lesson, causing me to crack up, point, and then squeal, “SHE FELL! DID YOU SEE HER FALL??”

Henry’s mom started to laugh, but then realized she was being sucked into my demonic vaccuum and quickly shook off her laughter. “Oh, I don’t want to see anyone get hurt!” she exclaimed.

I guess we’re not on the same page, after all.

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In other skating lesson news, this old dude (“He’s not old, he’s probably my age!” Henry corrected. Yeah. And that age is “old.”) was taking the beginner class with his son. It was pretty adorable. He was a hot mess on rollerblades.

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Whorebitch’s grandfather. He had on really nice quads and Henry said something about wanting to buy them.

“Why, is he selling them?” I asked.

“Well, no…” Henry started. “But it’s not like he’s going to be needing them much longer.”

I’m hoping he meant because the guy was like, 70 but the way he said it was just so foreboding. Actually, it was kind of hot. 20120128-212552.jpg

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Henry eventually came back to me, even though my big mouth and ability “to make something out of nothing” embarrasses him. I continued to make eye contact with Whorebitch every time she skated near our spot on the bench, though.

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The “advanced” skating instructor, moments after he had his hand on his girlfriend’s ass which naturally made me react like a 5-year-old seeing people kissing in public.

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OH LOOK WHO IT IS, THE WHOREBITCH.

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“Mommy, did you even WATCH me skate?” Chooch knows that my attention tends to veer away from him and latch on to people I either hate or have a crush on.

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I always forget that I can be recording shit with my phone, so now I am making up for it by recording shit that no one cares about. Look at how emotionally vacant Henry is. :(

If Whorebitch is there next time, I’m going to take lessons too.

Jan 272012
 

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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.

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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.)

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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.

Jan 182012
 

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I’m not really sure what changed in Chooch, if maybe enough time had passed for him to genuinely want to give roller skating another try, or if he was adopting the old If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em mentality, but he is a skating fool all of a sudden. After we returned to the rink two weekends ago after a long hiatus and saw that he was refusing to have his hand held, we decided that maybe a few lessons might benefit him.
“What are you going to do when he becomes better than you?” Wendy asked me in a taunting tone at work last week.

“Um, like that would ever happen,” I shot back, but I have to be honest here and say that I blanched a little. This is a possibility that hadn’t occurred to me!

Lessons are only $4.50 and then everyone gets to skate freely until the Saturday night session starts. I’m tempted to take lessons just so I can take advantage of that beautiful, open rink. And maybe learn how to do spins and twirls.

Before the lesson started, all the kids were permitted to stumble around on their own. I was actually surprised that Chooch took to the rink without even a hesitant glance over his shoulder. Kid completely didn’t give a shit that Henry and I weren’t skating with him. I think I was only surprised because I always project a little bit of myself onto him only to be reminded that my kid has way more confidence than I do.

I call this video Why Henry is Not a Skate Instructor:

This video was filmed pre-lesson. By the time the lesson was over, he had improved by leaps and bounds, was scissoring and doing cross-overs (albeit a little shakily, but the instructor said she was proud of him for trying, since it was his first lesson).

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There were some dicks in the group of kids, I’m not going to lie. Henry might yell at me for calling them dicks, but deep down, even he can’t deny that they were totally bastards. This clearly wasn’t their first lesson and their parents clearly knew someone affiliated with the rink, because they were acting like complete elitist motherfuckers and yes, my hate extends to children; I don’t age discriminate. Just being in the single digits doesn’t give you a free ride in my blog of wrath.

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Roller DJ was there! He got settled in his DJ booth and then came over and sat with me for the rest of the lesson and at first I was all, “Yes! Now I can sit here and take clandestine photos of him!” but after about 5 minutes of him lecturing me for not coming out enough and how irritating it is to him when kids request songs that JUST AREN’T SKATEABLE!, his follicular mushroom cloud novelty had dissipated and I had resorted to squirming on the bench in awkward imprisonment.

(I would like to take this moment to thank Henry for completely ditching me as soon as Roller DJ sat down. Fucking dick.)

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Goddamn, do I love that rink, and now Chooch does, too. Finally. I’m going to start schmoozing* the new owner so he’ll leave the rink to me in his Will.

*(I have ways.)