Greetings once again friends! It is time for our semi-annual clandestine gathering on the internet that is basically just me typing into a void and hoping for the best. I haven’t written in a while because I have actually been busy, but as fate would have it, I finally got sick, and as I was lying here in bed with only my phlegm for company, thinking about how I really want a chicken biscuit but cannot obtain one, I thought, “I should tear down my self-esteem on the internet again.”
But really, life has been awesome lately, and I hope things are well with you all too. I’ve been getting really involved at school, made some new friends, and rediscovered my passions. But, as the rediscovering implies, it was not long ago that I was in one of those funks of non-passion and bleakness that we all slip into from time to time as the years go by. It is always after I’ve climbed out of the rut and looked back that I realize how incredibly stupid the reasons I had fallen into it were, and find myself laughing. Humanity, right? Ahh, yes. We’re all so dumb. (Don’t argue. I need the collective support.) Anyway, one of my most recent funks has become approachable, so I’ve decided to share.
Some backstory–I love skating. It’s my life, dude. I just like to get on my board and shred down pipes while my friend films on a DSLR for vimeo with a dope alternative song edited in and a sunset out of focus in the background. I have 12 posters of Tony Hawk in my closet, and all of them are funnier than this bit. (But actually, my skateboarding experience is generally limited to when I was rolling on one on my stomach in second grade. I was sucking on a Blow Pop. Then I flopped over sideways onto the driveway and scraped a subsequent circle of skin off my cheek.) (2 days before picture day.) But even though boarding is my life, I find that ice/roller skating is something I love even more. It’s something I have always been inclined towards, and hey, pretty good at. So if ever the chance comes up, I’m game to go. But, in college, because of a lack of interest and financial stability, and personal hygiene on my part, it ain’t always easy to find people to skate with. So, when my friend presented me with the opportunity to go roller skating with her youth group, even though I knew I’d have to keep an eye out for holy water so I didn’t burst into flames, I capitalized on it. It was the perfect chance to try to sneak into a group picture I could later use to pretend I have a lot of friends. (And to skate.) Plus the theme was sk80s night, and I absolutely adore excuses to dress up and look insane. AND it was a rare occasion to pretend I was Apolo Anton Ohno for like, 3 hours. So, I went.
After paying $9, or half of my monthly paycheck, to get in, we went over to the skate counter to barter our shoes for skates with decades of history and dead foot cells in their soles to begin our adventure. It was a nice rink–sort of like an abandoned warehouse that someone was storing old crap in with poor ventilation and no water fountains. I felt…at home. Safe. Like I belonged. After tying up our skates, we took to the rink, but something was wrong…it didn’t feel as easy as it used to be. My foot was going places I never wanted it to go. Had I lost my touch? I couldn’t have. After all of my big talk about being a natural? No…it had to be the skates. It couldn’t have been me… And I know what you’re thinking, reader, “ha ha, it was her. shouldn’t have eaten so many ho-hos.” But you’re wrong, because I was right, because I am awesome at skating, and upon inspection, the right skate, like everything else in the building, looked like it had been chewed up by rats and was broken. So I got it fixed and then took to the rink the way I should have from the start–like a graceful flying peacock, and it was awesome. Things were still going my way.
Now, since we had gone with a youth group, there were a bunch of people there my age. But I guess that it wasn’t enough, because the Cupid Shuffle still ended up being just me and 6 or 7 children. I don’t know what it is about getting old that makes people stop loving roller dance numbers. Perhaps the fear of judgement. Perhaps the exhaustion. Perhaps being honest with themselves about how the Cupid Shuffle starts out as a fun activity then turns into a horror show of sweat and pain and denial as you want to escape the repetition and the B.O. of your next-door neighbor but refuse to let yourself because you’re still clinging on to your childhood. I don’t know. Any of the options sound like fair game to me. But even if they didn’t contribute to the dance portion of the night, the good thing about having people around who were my age, even if they were on the outskirts, was that there were plenty of cute fellas to pursue.
So while I was alone in loving the Cupid Shuffle, there was still a chance for flirtation and romance. I was dressed to the nines in a sweatband and high-waisted shorts–the kind of shorts you see on a girl and think, “oh, she shouldn’t be wearing those shorts.” It didn’t even matter at the end of the races, which were also pretty much just me and 6 or 7 children, that my 8 inch zipper on the side of the shorts had come completely down without my knowledge. From the angles that didn’t allow that in view, I was lookin’ pretty fly. It was only when the couples skates began that I started to feel a void in my soul and wanted to self-waterboard. Feelings of forever alone and “no ones loves me” coursed through my veins. But, as per usge, I reacted by making a joke of it.
The combination of flyness, doing something I love, and crippling loneliness meant that I wasn’t really worried about what anybody thought. I needed a distraction from the dark cloud looming over my heart. So, in keeping with my nature, I started being obnoxious. There was a referee of sorts there who was skating around, manning the rink. He had to have been about 50 years old. He had a hooked nose, salt-and-pepper hair, and the frame of a thin farmer who could have been on Courage the Cowardly Dog as an innocent who gets eaten. His job, from what I gathered, was just to keep kids in line so that they didn’t turn the family-fun activity into a coliseum of carnage, as children have a tendency to do. He was doing a well enough job, it seemed. Anyway, so when the couples skate came on, partially to entertain my friends, partially to entertain myself, I would wait until he had skated out of view and then hold my hand out longingly after him, allowing my brows to furrow with emotion and heartache. I did this to others as well–anyone who looked like they didn’t fit the role of me wanting them, except for those under 18, because that would be too wrong even for me. I was delighted with my game. It was so blissfully stupid. Until Mr. Referee skated up to me and held his hand back.
I wouldn’t call myself stunned, but I hadn’t anticipated this. I knew I couldn’t just deny him. After all of what I had done, I had brought it upon myself. I initially went for move play it off, but he looked so nice and well-intentioned that I knew what I had to do. So, I looked back to my friends, then to him, and then accepted his hand.
And friends, here is where the real problem comes in. I was so dead inside at this point in my life that as I took his hand, I wondered if maybe there would be a spark.
I WONDERED IF MAYBE THERE WOULD BE A SPARK.
HE WAS 50.
Do you understand why this is so traumatic?
I WAS 20.
HE WAS 50.
THAT’S OLDER THAN MY DAD.
THAT’S OLD ENOUGH TO BE A GRANDPA.
WHEN DID I BECOME THE WOMAN AKIN TO PARIS HILTON OR SOME OTHER POP CULTURE REFERENCE THAT IS MORE FITTING?
WHO AM I?!!!
Readers, this is a detail previously unreleased to everyone in my life. I am trusting all 2 of you to appreciate that. And, y’all, my parents read this blog, so I hope you understand the gravity of the situation when I say that at least one of you needs to think this is funny. I am putting everything on the line here.
Anyway, normal paragraphs resumed, as I skated along with Mr. Referee, disgusted with myself and wondering if I needed medication, I realized that this was my first couples skate. And then I remembered my first slow dance. (See blog post #6.) I wondered if maybe this was just how my story was supposed to go. I had rejected so many guys in my life for so many stupid reasons. Maybe my comeuppance was that no one was left, except for this 50 year old man. And since, for the record, upon hand-to-hand contact, he could not stir my loins (I’m so sorry, family), I would eternally be unsatisfied until he died in like 5 years. I bet he’d hold his hand out to me the same way he did when he asked me to skate before he croaked. (This is why I can’t be in youth groups.) Anyway, as we circled around the rink, I knew I deserved it. It’s what I got for making that holding my hand out joke, and all of these sacrilegious jokes, and for saying “shit” one time on the trampoline when I was eleven. It was only fair, I concluded. On the bright side though, every time we skated past her, my friend was dying. (Edit: Wow, that sentence sounds awful. For the record, I mean dying in terms of laughter, not literally. I would never joke about death like that, especially not 6 sentences ago.) The point is: the time Mr. Referee and I were spending together was really something.
But as with all things, it had to end. When the couples skate finally came to an close, Mr. Referee thanked me and gave me a very sincere smile, and I realized how much it must have meant to him. I felt like I was the ghost of a girl he once loved in the the 80s. It made me feel a little better, and also also like taking ten showers. When the next couples skate came on, he circled the rink watching me like an unintentionally creepy bird before he went in for the kill. I declined without regret this time, and went about my evening festivities.
The last hour or so at the rink was a lot of fun, and I skated my heart out partially because it needed to be disposed of and partially because I didn’t want Mr. Referee to catch up with me again. I was skatin’ away from my problems with a purpose. And I do mean it. When I woke up the next morning, I felt like I had the worst hangover of my life. Or at least, I assume. I’ve never actually been hungover, I think, but trust me, roller skating makes for as crazy a night as the bottle. Probably.
But back to the story. Avoidance techniques were in high gear, and I resolved to preoccupy myself more with the health and building code violations that wreaked the warehouse rather than with the incident of half an hour prior. I skated with my homie and the other friend, and we held out until somewhere around ten. When the night ended, we were all greasy, exhausted, and smelled like old socks, but it felt good. So we returned our foot vessels, hit the road, and prepped to retire for the evening. On the ride home we fell into silence, each wading through her own individual thoughts. Mine naturally gravitated toward the couples skate, and the quiet gave me clarity.
Skating with Mr. Referee taught me that people are good. Even if I was being a scrub about the whole thing, and if I was actually the pervert in the situation (by Jehovah…why), what he did was a nice gesture. It also taught me that you don’t have to hold hands with someone if you don’t want to. Just give them your time.
That’s something we all should do for each other more. Give our time.
So, the moral of the story? Wellp, it’s all in the last paragraph. I’m just really used to including this phrase before I figure out what the moral is. So I guess we can put some other general life advice here to keep the structure alive. Hmmm. How about…always look at a sandwich before you eat it. You never know if it will be moldy, and even if the mold doesn’t make you physically ill, when you finally walk into the other room with some light and see it on the other half of the sandwich, it’s pretty unnerving.
Here’s hoping you never eat mold or an old man’s nether regions out of guilt.
Anyway, as always, thanks for reading my most heartless and risqué post yet. I swear I’m nicer in real life.
Regardless. Buenos noches, my loves.