Holy Rolling Batman – Gospel Night at Skating RinkJuly 4, 2011
When members of my blanchetourage like my Brown-educated roommate, her boyfriend who’s getting his PhD in something to do with Shakespeare and their friend who works as a French literature translator invite me to hang with them, I always feel perfectly safe that whatever they suggest will be Oreo-appropriate.
So when Brown, Shakes and French said “Let’s go skating!” I was like “D’accord!”
When they murmured that it was Gospel Night at the place we were going and that the place we were going was at the corner of Crenshaw and Venice (read: inner effing city!) I was apparently not paying attention.
When we got there, I was in shock. “Gospel Night” didn’t come close to describing the scene. It might as well have been “Fried Chicken and Check Cashing Place Night” considering the number of black people who were there.
I was soon distracted though, because in addition to way too many black folks, World of Wheels was also filled with something else: wonderful, sweet nostalgia.
I hadn’t been to a skating rink since I was maybe 10-years-old. So, you know, just like 10 years ago. Definitely not 21 years ago. And I had forgotten how wonderful they were.
Old school skates are awesome. They’re heavy and look exactly like they did back in the day. Which also means they’re probably also crawling with strangers’ foot germs from back in the day, but they smelled fine and did the job. The floor on the rink feels really specific–smooth, but grainy like you’re sliding over warm ice with just a hint of gravel in it. The arcade was awesome. I am terrible at video games (except Katamari – I will totally kick yer butt at Katamari) but I love arcade games. Give me skee ball, Centipede and some air hockey and you can get rid of me for like 12 hours.
While looking at all this wonderfulness and whizzing around the track, I felt all the things I felt when I was a kid–joy, bliss, abandon, like I could fly, and because a guy I had
a very meaningful relationship with sex with a few times showed up, hugging a girl with whom he was clearly having a very meaningful relationship, I also felt shame. Just like in middle school. Joy and shame very close together.
I also marvelled at the crazy skating abilities of all the RBPs near me. Brown, Shakes, French and I were the only one who weren’t spinning, dancing and Salchow-ing while in rollertastic motion. Why, I thought, could these homophobic-looking thuggy teens ronde de jambe so easily, but not me? So I gave it a little try. Turns out, having an unshrinkable ass isn’t just good for attracting unwanted attention on Hollywood Blvd. late at night after an improv show. It’s also great for grounding yourself during a successful Besti Squat.
Is skating like basketball for black people? Something they can just do? It was so cool seeing those dudes flying about doing balletic moves on wheels that had I seen them back in the day, I would have totally engaged in
a very meaningful relationship with sex a few times with any one of them.
Unfortunately, I had to leave early for the aforementioned improv show. It was one of the best shows I’ve done in a while. I totally think it was because I was so full of skating joy that it would have been impossible for anything that I did in the next 24 hours to be colored with anything but wonderful.
Have you been skating as an adult? How was it? Are you good at it? Terrible at it? Do you have pictures proving either way? Any other childhood fun things you like to do now? Or are you still a kid and so you’re enjoying these things for the first time? If you are a kid, do your parents know you’re reading this blog? Let us know in the comments!
Want to go to cool events like this? Then make sure to grow your Blanchetourage. Click here to learn how.