I went to the roller rink with my daughter. It still looked like the rink of my childhood, smelled like the rink of my childhood, contained the same teenagers flushed with hormones, and featured the same terrified skaters clinging to walls (hopefully not literally the same skaters) and the skates from when I was little (quite possibly literally the same skates).
It was funny being there as an adult in a new era, however, and looking at things with my 2016 eyes. Here are some events and observations:
–My daughter got hit on by a boy! More astonishingly, she owned that this happens sometimes.
–Several boys of color at the rink had their arms around another boy. I don’t know if they were affectionate friends or dating couples, but times have obviously changed and for the better, because those boys wouldn’t have lasted long or been as brave in my 1980s hometown rink.
–We are not used to being in the racial minority. We discussed our feelings about it and processed it.
–The same general rule still applies: If you see someone wildly swinging his arms around like propellers, especially if he’s big, RUN AWAY. He will fall and bring you down with him.
–Some small children can skate surprisingly well but are also oddly unaccompanied on the rink.
–On a Friday night, the skating rink is a bit like the DMV in that all different kinds of people are there, and it’s fascinating. Hipsters, thugs, cute families, weird families, packs of braces-wearing skinny-legged middle schoolers, queer skating DJs, the one person who insists on skating backward the whole time but doesn’t really look where she’s going, pairs of attractive teen girls, solo unattractive teen boys, etc.
–The rink still plays mainly inappropriate music for a family type of place, though it’s 2012-2016 inappropriate music instead of 1975-1990 inappropriate music.
–And speaking of, there is a song that goes, “Back it up like a dump truck. Dump truck! Dump truck!” It is the most unpoetic song I have ever heard, and the words are interspersed with backing-up-truck beeps. My daughter and I laughed a lot.
–The hokey pokey is still performed at roller rinks, but it’s less fun when few people are participating.
–It’s really weird that groups of people strap on wheels and go around in circles. Humans are weird animals.
–Part of the fun of skating is dodging the scary zoomers and arm-propelling fallers.
–I still really like skating. I want to do it more often.
–If your Rollerblades are 20 years old, they are likely to break when you put them on.