Magic (Archangel Knight's Inline Sk8 128 BPM Remix) - Olivia Newton-John (mp3)
Sunday after lunch, I took my two girls and a 9-year-old boy/friend of the family to the local rollerskating rink for an afternoon of hard knocks.
Most children of the '70s and '80s are likely to have etched-in-stone memories of rollerskating rinks. The birthday parties. The really cool and cute elementary school girls who could skate backwards. The supercool ones who could skate backwards AND shake their hips to the music. The games of Red Light Green Light. Reverse skates. The back corner on the side opposite the main entrance, where the 4-foot-high wall around the rink melded into the wall, where the really cool kids would sneak over and kiss or do other Truth Or Dare kinds of things that were the stuff of elementary school legend. And all the dance-friendly pop music you could ever stomach.
Close your eyes and think back to some of your memories of being in a rollerskating rink 20, 30, even 40 years ago.
Now open them inside Hamilton Place Skate World.
Holy shit!! Nothing's changed!!
To the best of my recollection, here are the only things that have changed since 1983:
- No more 4-foot handrail around the rink. Now it's just a step;
- You can rent in-line skates for twice the amount or stick with the tried-and-true 4-wheelers;
- People of different racial make-up skate in the same place!
A few other random thoughts about my three-hour experience:
THE DIVA -- One 11-year-old girl was mind-bogglingly good. Although perhaps a teensy bit overweight, she was agile and technically impressive and was downright entertaining to watch as she circled the floor. Two other girls about her age were basically her rollerskating version of Crabbe and Goyle, following and mimicking her as best they could. More than Slytherins, they reminded me of a too-young version of Heathers. Except, like, down a couple of notches on the income level. I never want to take my girls to the rink frequently enough that they could join that group. Being Queen of the Roller Rink in 2010... might as well buy some poodle skirts and teach 'em to do the Hand Jive with Danny and Rizzo.
He stayed out on the floor almost the entire time we were there. And all the regular kids knew him. It was clear he had taught many of them how to skate, and I saw him giving 10-15 minute mini-lessons to two different kids while I was there, trying to show them how to skate backwards. (Hell, I almost asked for help.) He was like the Pied Skater of Hamilton or something.
Because I am a firm believer in the ideal that everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt*, I must acknowledge that maybe the guy wasn't so much a predator as a nice socially awkward dude who just looks exactly like a predator.
THE HITS -- Many moons ago, I wrote a post about my belief that the number of universally-known pop songs was diminishing over time as tastes branched out and radio died and MTV died. If you go to skating rinks once every week or so, you will probably stay up-to-date on all the best Chris Brown and Taylor Swift songs. You probably won't suffer to the degree of most people. Those regular kids -- the followers of the Pied Skater -- knew every song, every word, every bit. But their knowledge is due to something totally Old School, which is to say going to a friggin' roller rink.
Anyway, point is, I think we're going again in three weeks. Should be groovy.