Sunday, September 20, 2009

Hell on Wheels (or, Reliving One's Roller-Skating Glory Days at Age 40)

photo taken by me, of my 40-year old feet and those of The Dean's, all laced up in roller-skates for the first time since our glory days of 1982.

Roller-skating at age 40, when one hasn't been under a rink's strobe-lights since the Reagan administration, can be somewhat of a humbling experience.

Not to mention a painful one, what with the assault on muscles unused for decades and also of the mental ache of simultaneously listening to squealing youngsters and The Jonas Brothers.

Allow me to explain. Betty and Boo were invited to a birthday party yesterday at a local roller-skating rink. (And not just any party, mind you. This was a party for an adorable 6-year old girl - let's call her Hannah - who happens to have a little crush on Boo, her summer love from this year's camp program.)

"Where's Boo?" Hannah asked, as soon as we arrived at the rink. I explained that he had acting lessons this morning, but not to worry, he would be arriving soon.

This news was greeted by a swoon normally reserved for the likes of, well, one of The Jonas Brothers.

"Boo is in a play!" Hannah gushed to her friends. (Indeed, this is quite true. My Boo has landed the role of Gaston in a children's production of Beauty and the Beast.)

Boo arrived shortly thereafter, accompanied by his Manager of the day (a.k.a. The Dean). After the requisite pizza and princess-decorated cake was eaten, and the princess presents opened, it was time to skate.

"Doesn't this make you want to relive your roller-skating days?" I asked The Dean. And when we realized that parental skate rental was only $2, thanks to being part of a party, we gamely laced up along with the other parents.

Around the rink we went, albeit a much slower speed than we experienced back in our glory days. We sang along to Michael Jackson tunes that, amazingly, still blared from the speakers, followed by the Mileys and Selenas and the Taylors of this new day. We reminisced about a martini-imbibing boss we once shared, a tough-as-nails taskmaster who, in the throes of her own mid-life crisis, abandoned us to pursue a new career as a roller-blader. (Or in-line skating professional. Or something vastly different from the public relations pro that she was.)

Then, the lights dimmed and the strobes shimmied across the hard floor for Couples Skate, as The Dean escorted his best girl out to the floor. (Birthday girl Hannah tried the same moves on Boo, who remained cooly aloof, so she settled on Boo's mom, perhaps as a way to endear herself to her future mother-in-law, much as I did with Mrs. Calhoun, mother to my true and only love of my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade life.)

The Dean and Betty taking a spin around the rink.

And then the skating became a little like riding a bike. It all came back, the push off with the left foot, the gliding of the right, the memory of sneaker skates and the days at the Pike, my home-away-from-home for most of my tween years, before we knew they were called the tween years.

And then the inevitable happened. (How did you ever guess?)

In the midst of my 80s reverie that had me cruising at speeds approaching 5 mph., I wiped out, nearly crashing into the cement wall. Landed flat on my back, arm slammed into the hard floor.

Not wanting to remain a spectacle to the teenyboppers cruising past me, probably laughing at the middle-aged loser flat on her rear, I dusted myself off and determined that medical attention was not be needed (however, this morning, my own version of The Day After, I am very grateful for the leftover prescription Motrin courtesy of last month's root canal ... who says that falling apart doesn't have its perks?)

Yes, this morning I am paying the price for my folly with heating pads, ThermaCare patches and piles of pillows here on the sofa. But for all my bitching this morning, it's a good, growing kind of pain, in a way.

One born from having real-honest-to-goodness fun, something scarce in a 40-something life, watching one's kids zooming 'round and 'round the rinks of their lives.


rhapsodyinbooks said...

Oh my gosh, so sorry about your wipe out! But I agree, it's a "bittersweet" pain!!!

gretchen said...

I highly recommend Advil and Epsom salts! I had a similar experience a few months ago when my son was invited to an ice skating party. He, at age six, was cruising around the rink like a natural. I, at age 48, was on my freezing, achy butt almost the entire time!

Niksmom said...

I salute your bravery and admire your good sportsmanship! Boy, this post makes me really wax nostalgic, too!

JoAnn said...

Great post! I have a similar story involving skiing...same end result though!