I had plans to go roller skating this past Saturday with my friends Sandy and Elizabeth. This was monumental for several reasons:
- I hadn’t been skating since Chooch’s birthday party a year ago, what the fuck?!
- 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.)
- 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.
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.)
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.