Couples skate, the hokey-pokey, Simon Says and the amazing feeling of cruising around the skating rink backwards – that was roller skating in the 80s. When the weather was bad or you needed a cool escape from the summertime heat, the roller rink was the perfect retreat. It offered good music, a fun activity, junk food a-plenty and the promise of cute boys.
Dark and wondrous inside, even in the middle of the afternoon, the roller rink was like escaping to another world. These were the days when kids weren’t monitored as closely by parents, and so mine just dropped me off there with a friend or two where we were left to our own devices. It was all very innocent, but it felt oh-so-grownup at the time.
I always coveted the skate bunnies that had their own skates. You knew they hadn’t rented because theirs were white and often sported brightly colored pom-poms on the toes. Meanwhile, I was left doing the best I could with the rental-tan skates . . . sigh. My bunnyhood would have to wait for other endeavors.
My roller-rink-as-social-hangout years overlapped both with my parachute pants phase as well as the popularity of Eddie Grant’s “Electric Avenue” and Billy Squire’s “The Stroke.” These were good times with great music and suspect fashions.
My son was recently invited to a roller skating party. I went with him and gave it a go – in a word, ouch. In case you’re wondering, roller skating is NOT like riding a bike. You do actually forget how to do it, and the falls that didn’t faze me at 10, hurt like hell now. No more backward skating for me, and my days of hokey-pokeying while on skates are good and done.