There are activities that are obviously, CLEARLY age appropriate and then there are ones that are not. For example, a 10-year-old should never drive a car. A 64-year-old shouldn’t give birth. A 93-year-old shouldn’t walk unaided. Those are obvious.
There’s about a 20 year period of life, however, where everything becomes gray. When I turned 30, the number sounded shocking to me. My husband helped me ride it out by planning the second coolest surprise birthday party ever. The coolest was my 40th, but that’s not part of this blog. At any rate, I wasn’t upset by a number and in my mind I was still 19. I still felt 19. I was still pretty fit. My ears had not begun to fail me. I was living the dream. Somewhere between then and now, I got old. Older, fluffier, stiffer, a WHOLE lot deafer, and went up a size or SO in clothing. Even so, in my mind, I still almost feel 19. I can at least remember feeling 19. And often, I base my activity choices on the fact that I can still remember feeling 19. My memories are young and fit.
Another factor in my decision making is my competitive edge. I was never a champion at anything, but I was just good enough to not embarrass myself and to act quite a bit more obnoxious than my skill set could uphold.
So, when my friend, Baron Wetty, rolled up next to me in the roller rink the other night and said, “Hey, when racing starts, I’ll race you,” I was forced by my very nature to say, “yes.” It was, to a 41 year old, the equivalent of a triple dog dare.
I feel like I need to step back for just a second and address the fact that I was even skating in the first place. It isn’t my joy in life. Skating is for 12 year olds, give or take 5 years. But every Monday night, my little Christian college has a contract with a local skating rink and it is closed to the public. Only Florida College people are there. But man, are they there. There are a lot of people skating at these things. I skate mostly because I have to. Mama’s Boy and Beloved wouldn’t tolerate the evening as well if I were not on wheels.
I do the whole thing. I hokey pokey, as awkward as it is. I cha cha slide…on skates. You cannot imagine how bad that looks. No, I mean it. Try to picture it. You can’t. If you ever watched Seinfeld and if you ever saw the episode where Elaine Benis dancing, then put roller skates on her and you’ll get close.
I can’t dance.
But I can skate. Reasonably well.
So I said yes to the racing challenge.
Once the “yes” was out of my mouth, I got nervous. Just the word “race” alone indicates a pants-wetting possibility. But that’s not where this story ends. Sorry if that disappoints you.
The next thing I knew, I was standing in a sea of young girls, with two whistle-blowing skate refs ready to call the races. How did I get here?
- My first concern was that I was grotesquely out of place in this grouping of females.
- My second concern was that we were instructed to sit. Sitting meant quite possibly never getting back up, falling upon the attempt to get back up, or exposing some skin that definitely ought not be exposed.
- My third concern became the race. Was Baron fast? Could I beat her? How does one get set on a “starting block” at a roller rink? Is “Roller Rink” a phrase people still use or is that totally 1976?
Some young girls raced. As I watched each race go by, I was more and more convinced that we were morons. Finally, it was our turn: the race for 35-42 year old ladies.
When we got up to the starting line, I actually had no idea what to do with my feet. They were slipping around like I was strapped to a couple of greased pigs. I looked at Baron. She was turned at an angle and ready to go. At this point, I was pretty convinced I was going to lose. And then the whistle blew.
What unfolded during this race, I will leave for you to watch. In case you don’t know either of us too well, I am the one with the big, white man calves. Baron will be the one flailing. Wait. Did I give it away? Also, the Informinator will be the high cackler you can hear as the video closes. I’m sorry the video is so far away. I have another copy coming that highlights the flailing a little better.
Upon watching this pitiful, pitiful exhibition, you might think to yourself that falling is definitely the awkward piece here. I would agree. However, it is also excessively awkward to race around a rink by yourself, shouting like you just won the Spanish-American War. And that is what I did. You could have heard a pin drop in there. Hey, look, everyone! A too-old person is skating alone, whooping and hollering like she’s in a cattle roping contest.
There was no real winner there.
Oh, who am I kidding? I won. Bigtime.
Got myself a free freezer pop out of that deal. And a firmer picture in my mind that I am not as young as I used to be.