I got a lot of looks and chuckles when I said I was going to celebrate the last birthday of my 20s at a roller rink. There were all sorts of responses: Skating rinks still exist? (Apparently, they do.) Geez, I haven’t skated since I was 8. (Neither have I, sir. Neither have I). Are you sure you’re not turning 12? (No, actually, I’m really not sure).
But, there was also this awesome look of nostalgia and excitement that came over peoples’ faces when I handed them the invitations (yes, I ditched the e-vite and went old school: paper invitations (the front is the above collage)). People — all in their 20s or older, with the exception of the youngest to be invited, my three-month-old niece — were so overjoyed that they had permission to escape to their youth and lace up a pair of very used, brown skates. Oh, those orange wheels are what memories are made of.
So I found a skating rink sort of nearby, King’s Skate Country. I’d never been there. I didn’t know where I was sending people. I hoped it wasn’t completely awful.
It ended up being gloriously shabby, and in the middle of Nowhere, California. We didn’t know how to get inside, until we pried the handleless door open. Right away, it had that great skating rink smell of worn skates, greasy pizza and stale popcorn. And it sounded like a birthday party, busy with ringing pinball machines, the hum of rollerskates on a smooth, blue rink and the latest and greatest blaring from the speakers.
The rink was dim and a two disco balls spastically spewed dots of light around the rink. I looked at Maggie, who was smiling wide, and we both, immediately, said, “This is going to be awesome!”
There were a few who decided they could leave that part of their childhood for the memories. After all, it’s not easy on our old-timer bones. I have bruised knees and elbows. Maggie is complaining of hip pain three days later. And some turned their skates in early because it was too much for their shins. But I found that after a half an hour, my body remembered the motions of my childhood, my daily routine of skating in circles around our car in my white Barbie roller skates with the hot pink wheels. The two-hour session ended as I was getting a little cocky, thinking I could race or take curves fast (which, yes, resulted in me falling face-forward. Twice). It ended too fast. It ended with me saying, “I’m so coming back!”
Here are a few photos from the iPhone and a few from my regular camera. I was all about getting my laps in, and didn’t bother with my real camera on the rink, even if my iPhone couldn’t keep up with whizzing people lit by disco ball. I think you’ll get the gist.
I’ll be back soon with the after-party, which involved feeding hungry skaters, neon cupcakes and lots and lots of candles.
* All images from the above party invitation above are from various sources I found online.