Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The music hasn't changed.

The scuffed brown roller skates, the blue carpeted handrails encircling the rink, the glinting disco ball hanging in the center, and the swiveling red stools at the candy bar. It’s all still there. Walking into the roller rink, my senses were flooded with memories of times and places I had filed away under C for “clumsy” or O for “oh my god I can’t believe I was such a dork”. Why didn’t anybody tell me that it’s not cool to dance and skate in unison? You can swing your hips, clap your hands, or shimmy your shoulders all you want but when that left skate heads off track, you’re in no position to properly catch yourself. You’ll fall flat on your ass and that cute boy with the inline skates? Forget turning his head your way, he’s going to rocket past your sorry fallen ass and chase the nice girl who is just skating. Not dancing and skating. It’s just so hard to keep those incredible moves to myself, you know? I mean, seriously, who can’t help but wiggle when girl you know it’s true….g..g..g..girl……ooh…ooh…ooh…I love you blares over the speakers?

So I’m on the bench today, holding the baby and watching my two kids fumble along. They’re laughing, they’re chasing, they’re catching and returning glances. Suddenly, wake me up before you go-go, don't leave me hanging on like a yo-yo starts ringing in my ears and I swing around, fully expecting to see my friend Amanda wearing her headgear or my friend Caroline with her freshly trimmed mullet. What year is this?? They still play these songs? I look over at the sound booth. There he sits; Mr. Doody. The same gray feathered hair, the same deep voice and kind eyes, using the same smudged limbo stick, playing the same dance songs, and charging the same 50¢ for a fudge bar just like he’s done for twenty five years.

I close my eyes and if it were not for the squirming baby on my hip, I could very easily be 13 years old. I could very well have just fallen flat on my ass after yet another attempt at capturing that skinny boy’s eye. If I breathe deeply enough I can almost smell Exclamation! on my arm. If I squint my eyes, that girl on the far side of the rink looks just like Julie. She’s waving to me. If I just glance quickly, all the GAP sweatshirts look like LAGear sweatshirts.

Time marches on and things change. But in this small hometown, time and transformation have forgotten this old roller rink. I wistfully smile as I watch my daughter fall flat on her ass.


Blogger Amanda said...

Love it. Just love it. We should plan a trip when I come up to visit...well, that is, provided there's an available and willing babysitter nearby.

I think about the roller rink and instantly feel the awkwardness of the barely-pubescence and the need for acceptance from whoever the crush of the day was. I remember quite vividly being jealous of Ginger because her skating was far more advanced than mine. I can't believe I ever went out in public wearing a headgear! Ugh! But now I see it was worth it. Thankfully, when we were 12 we actually got to be kids; we were certainly not concerned about our shirts being just short enough to show our bellies without Mom vetoing it or planning our next visit to the salon for a highlight (that was my job, after all). I see kids (ahem, pre-teens) now and am so sorry for them that they have been robbed of the ignorance we so greatly enjoyed...
My next speach will begin with "Back in my day, we didn't have buses, we had to walk to school in a blizzard."

3:24 PM  
Blogger Momma Star said...

OMG Exclamation! flashback. I had forgotten all about that stuff.

8:08 PM  

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