Sunday, April 13, 2008

People Watching at the Roller Rink on a Saturday Night

9 year old boys at full speed intentionally crashing into walls, then getting back up and doing it again.

13 year old girls giggling at everything. Happily out of earshot of her parents, one of them loudly uses profanity in the line behind me, then glances around to see if anyone heard. I give her my well practiced raised-eyebrow-look, and she looks defiantly back.

A large group of teenage girls, wearing tutus, tiaras, polka-dotted leggings, striped knee-socks, and/or Sponge Bob boxer shorts. Giggling wildly, snapping pictures of each other when they fall, and unabashedly dancing the hokey-pokey and the chicken dance, boisterously celebrating their friend's 16th birthday.

A Daddy teaching his 7 year old daughter how to skate, holding her hand and speaking encouragement as she struggles.

A 20-something, clearly single guy wearing a muscle shirt and tight jeans, showing off well-practiced tricks and moves on the skate floor, skating backwards and dancing to the music.

Middle aged parents sitting at the snack bar, keeping a roving eye out for their children while trying to converse over the blaring hip-hop music.

A small group of teenage girls, uncertain and self-conscious, who arrived together but look nothing alike, and who also have trouble explaining to their acquaintances their relationship to me. I am obviously of a different race than each of them, yet I am their chaperon for the evening. They call me their 'Auntie by marriage' or their 'family friend', mortified that someone from their school might find out the truth, that they reside in a group home and I am paid by the hour to parent them. They want to keep their distance from me, but they seek out my help nonetheless because their real parents never taught them how to skate.

Then there is me, a 30-something woman skating with two wobbly-footed teenage girls, mentally calculating what I will write on the worker's comp claim when I fall and break both wrists. Once the girls are confident enough without me, I sit and watch, distancing myself from the middle-aged moms at the snack bar as I do not consider myself one of them just yet, wistfully remembering the days when I was one of the 16 year olds at the birthday party.


  1. Did you get the "clearly single" guy's digits for me? He sounds awesome!

  2. Oh, Becky, I would have, but he was skating much too fast for me to catch up with him. Don't worry, though, because there is a guy like this at every skating rink I've ever been to, so just go out to one on Saturday night and you'll find another one just like him.

  3. I think we are going to go to our skating rink soon, a few of Will's friends go almost every Saturday. It's open to families from 4 to 6 pm and older kids at 7:00. I expect we'll go earlier so I don't know if we'll see the 20 something single guy.

  4. Oh the memories this brought back! This was a great blog and made me laugh! I just gotta know...did the 20-something guy w/ the muscle shirt have a mullet?

    Gotta love people always makes me feel either more sane or more confused!

  5. What a great way for you to give- and what a memory those girls will have because of you...

  6. This was so well written. It took me right back to those days. I went to the rink every Friday night from 6th grade through 8th grade. Wow. It is funny to think about it again.
    What a dear you are to give those girls their own rink memories.

  7. May I just say that your current header makes me want to go back there? Can't wait to see you this summer!

  8. bless you for being a mother to those girls.

    and skating rinks! oh how many hours I spent chasing the cute boys around in my very own set of speed skates!


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