I vaguely remember roller skating as a young girl. I don’t think there was a rink near my house so if it wasn’t within walking distance, I was typically out of luck. I don’t remember particularly hating or loving skating. What I remember is the strobing lights and the music. The sweet top-40 tunes streaming from the speakers and the blue and white and and red and green lights circling around the rink. I remember feeling happy and I remember feeling giddy when love songs would come on and all of us girls would stand around giggling while sneaking peeks at the boys. It was all so new and wildly strange.
All these feelings came rushing back to me as I stepped into US Skates with Ri and Mario this week. They were playing top-40 songs and the lights were strobing. Holy cow – what a blast from the past. These skating rinks have not changed in 30 years. They still play the same genre of music, have the same wood floors, the same leather skates, the same goofy employees with their serious monitoring of the roller rink like they are overseeing the Royal Palace, and the same painted cement walls to grip when you are about to fall on your face.
Ri did surprisingly well on the skates. She started slow but moved up her pace as time wore on.
Mario did good, too but he wanted to keep “moving up” in skates. They had “speed skates” for $1.50 extra and he begged for those. He tried those and swore he went faster (even though he really didn’t). Then he wanted roller blades to try out. He begged and begged for me to buy the blades after he saw a sign saying “we sell skates.”
He finally got through his head that we were not buying skates and sulked a bit but then he couldn’t resist taking one more round on the roller rink with Ri and I. As I glided along the far side of the rink and watched Ri and Mario working hard to skate and balance on the other side, I chuckled at how crazy life was: here I was at age 42 back on the rink like I never left – still loving the lights and getting down with the top-40 music, and watching my kids jam in their little heads as they rolled around and around the rink.