Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Spinning My Wheels

A couple weeks ago I was walking home from the Gym when I made a discovery. I walked the back way around the building to take the short cut through the "alley". I discovered a vast corner of the parking lot that was vertually empty. Instantly I was taken back to my childhood as my first thought was "This would be the perfect place to roller skate."

Aaaaaah. Roller skates. Just the words make me smile. It was a whole different world back then. Things were so much simpler.

I remember my first pair of skates. They were an ugly ass blue with red and white stripes. I wasn't very fond of them but only because the cool, pretty girls all had white skates. I felt a little geeky with these babies. But they were skates non the less and when dad and the neighbour guy were at work, the shared carport was my rink. The car port was smooth sailing. I would practice my twirls and cross overs. I couldn't practice speed because of small amount of space and large wooden pole in the center but speed could be concoured on the street. The carport was also perfect for perfecting my award winning ability to shoot the duck. I even enjoyed making wheel marks in pretty patterns after running through greese spots, but when I tired of the limited space I would be off. I would hit that slope of concrete that was one large driveway(lived in a sixplex) with my life in my hands and I would tear down the street.

Kooooossshh, kooooossshhh, koooosssshhhh. Remember that sound of loud hard ballbearing wheels coming down the road? Unfortunately my Derby skates were also somewhat cheap and had wheels made from rocks. Alright maybe they weren't really rocks but the hardest plastic they could find. Unlike normal outdoor or better quality wheels, they didn't take kindly to small obsticles, rather they would hit them like a brick wall which suddenly stopped any skate motion. Regular wheels are made to obsorb the bumbs like a 4 wheel drive. What I had, not so much. I would keep an eye on the road ahead trying my best to manouver past rocks, small twigs, anything that might reak havock, but inevitably some small grain of sand would find it's way in front of a wheel and that skate would come to an obrupt stop. Note I said "that" skate. It was always just ONE skate that would stop. The other leg didn't have issues and would keep on going. This resulted in a twisted, disfigured spin as the moving leg circled the downed leg and I almost always landed on my ass. Better than a face plant. Good thing I had on my protective pads. PU-SHA! Protective gear, what the heck is that! This was 1983. No need, for protection we weren't wussy cry babies. Hell we were still debating whether seat belts were really neccessary. If you fell, you pulled yourself together, didn't want the other kids to see you cry, and then you got up and skated again!

And then there was Friday Night at JJ's Crystal Palace. The name alone screams good times! JJ's Crystal Palace was the place to be and between 5-9 kids under 14 could skate thier little hearts out. That was me. 10 years old and so excited about my first time to the roller rink and I didn't have to rent skates. Nope I had my own skates now. Slightly embarrasing skates but still cooler than renting. And thus I got in line with everyone else my skates over my shoulder, and anxious for the doors to open. Being 10, mom and dad sat in the car until I was inside but I was in for a shock. You see they inspect your skates before going in and one look at mine and man(ok probably in his late teens but he seemed so old) looked back at me and said, "No".
"What do you mean, No?"
"There are no stoppers. Can't let these in"
"Because they don't have stoppers?"
"That's right, can you move to the side please people want in."

Just like that I was pushed away. Trying hard to hold back the tears, I ran to the car like my world had just crashed down and blurted out the socially crippling news. My parents thought that not letting me in do to a lack of stoppers was stupid, of course these are the same people that let me fall out of a truck who's door didn't lach properly THREE times as a baby, so logically stoppers seemed pointless. Besides I had perfected how to lower my speed, keep my eye focussed on my stopping object and coast into the bench/wall/pole/human etc.. without letting out an "Ooofff". I didn't need stoppers! Even so, moms talk with the manboy got her nowhere and it was back to renting for me. At least I was in. Free to enjoy my rainbow snowcone with my friends ovblivious to the fact that my lips, including a 1 inch perimeter were stained blue.

Check it out, I found a picture of the skates I used to have, no not my actual pair as you will see these had stoppers. Gotta love the internet! But why didn't anyone tell me we could have stoppers put on the..sheesh!

I remember that mad rush to get on the rink when the good songs came on, 867-5309, Van Halen's Jump, Mickey, Bright Eye's, Angel In A Centerfold, which by the way I though was cellophane and could never understand why they would wrap a girl up in this. Was it the clear stuff or the pretty blue and red that we used in art class to make pretend stained glass windows? It just never made sense. Regardless you had to be seen on the floor during these songs to be cool. The only other time to be cool. The couples only skate. Now being ten this wasn't a huge deal, if I didn't have someone to skate with, and surprisingly I often did, I would hang on the wall with all the other singles, watching the cool older kids with their tight jeans and untied skates. "Can you believe he doesn't even tie his skates" *swooon* wishing I would be as pretty as her when I grew up. JJ's Crystal Palace was the end all be all of Friday nights and I have many great memories from those days. Sadly it was torn down in the late 90's, years after I stopped going, and apparently everyone else too.

So why is it that I am suddenly drawn back into the desire to skate again. Maybe it's that feeling of being free, coasting, flying on the ground if you will. Or maybe it's that Diet Coke commercial where they are skating at the beach? They're having so much fun. I want to skate at the beach.

When I shared this desire with Jeff, he said "Do you think that's wise? Sounds like an accident waiting to happen."


The only thing stopping me is the price of skates. YIKES!! But I'm gunna do it, you'll see. Oh and feel free to call me a wuss, but I think I'll get some protective pads this time around, they have proven the seatbelts work.


cari said...

Wow what a flashback...being that you are slightly older than me, my memories are wrapped around Sinead O'Conner "nothing compares to you" and of course everytime I here anything by Roxette I am instantly taken back to JJ's, waiting for "the boy" to ask me to skate... It was an icon, too bad it's gone. Although can you imagine 2 thirty-omething women in tight jeans slamming into the walls trying to look cool? Sigh, you can never go back....

Anonymous said...

wuss dont get stoppers be original.heeheehee Boy were we really that bad Well you all servived and I am very proud of all of you so we must have done something I love you and your stories.momxoxoxox

Mye said...

OMG...I had to comment. I got a laugh when I saw those skates. I had the white ones with red and blue stripes! To be young again!

Miss M! said...

Oh man. I was a TERRIBLE roller skater! Maybe because MY first pair of skates were, oh, maybe ten sizes too big for me? My mom was like, they are skates, make them work! So I did. Barely.

I envy your (alleged) skating prowess. ;)

Jen said...

Angel in Cellophane...too funny!!! I love this post. Your written description of the sound of skating took me right back. You have a great way with words.

Laura O'Donnell said...

I used to love to rollerskate - great post!

Catherine said...

This totally took me back. I was never cool enough to have my own skates. We lived in the country and my mother was too scared of me getting hit by the cars going 55 on the road in front of our house.

Now the kids call them 4 wheelers and feel like they are cool all over again.

Anonymous said...

Let me start by saying your skates were "cool shit" to me cuz my 1st pair were metal!! LMAO I did eventually get the tennis shoe kind and i thought i was top shit.

Secondly, thank god for Jeff. I'm with him, is that wise? what if you go down forward and land on your wrists wrong? Won't that be bad?

Also, the "cool boy" you described was berto. seriously, his sister's boyfriend's parent own the only skating rink in town. now it wasn't the cool one like in Salem that had the "wave" floors but it was always busy. Ironic think is that I was skating there all the time as well. I swear Berto and I were there at the same time. it's obvious that i wasn't "cool guy" material. lol


Zee said...

"Secondly, thank god for Jeff. I'm with him, is that wise? what if you go down forward and land on your wrists wrong? Won't that be bad?"

Dude I don't even have wrist joints, so the worst that could happen is they reset the original fuse...LOL. Oh but I would wear protective gear. LOL.