Excerpt from “Someday We’ll Laugh About This”:
It is Sunday afternoon. I am sitting on a very narrow bench along the wall in a very large room lit by colored flashing lights. To say that the very walls vibrate from the pulsing rock music would be an understatement. I think my fillings are melting. Small children clomp past me. Smart alec teens glide past, dipping and swirling, cruising. Meanwhile, I am trying to put on a pair of high top shoes with wheels on the bottom. I am wishing my mommy were here to lace them up. I am going roller-skating.
It is not the first time I have ever been roller-skating, but it’s close. I have not been roller-skating for about 25 years and the only once or twice at a little outdoors rink at the state park while everybody else was in the pool. I am questioning the wisdom of this excursion.
An announcer somewhere makes a long statement, not a single word of which is intelligible to me, but all os a sudden everyone on the floor is skating backwards. I am still on the bench. There isn’t anything to hang onto, so I can’t even get on my feet. This seemed like such a good idea at home last week.
A blast of cold air washes over my head. It is probably intended to cool my sweating brow. I am not sweating from exertion. I am still sitting on the bench.
“Mumble, mumble,” the guy says, and everyone switches, skating backward in the opposite direction. Ray has gotten the girls’ skates laced and is on his feet. There are many skaters whizzing around the rink. They are not my age. Nobody is old enough to vote. Most aren’t old enough to drive. I feel inadequate. I wonder why we are not watching “Crocodile Dundee.” I am 40 years old and I am still sitting on the bench.