Growing up, we used to go roller skating every Saturday morning, easily until I was 17 or 18. I don’t know when I stopped going roller skating, but I did. Attempts to get friends to reclaim a lost activity didn’t end well. In other words, most people flaked rather than join me for a session at World on Wheels.
What I’m saying, is that it had been eons since I’ve hit the boards. I took my family on the Friday after Thanksgiving. To this day, I’m still trying to figure out how that happened. All I know is that I was having a nice conversation with my 6 year old daughter and next thing I heard coming from my mouth was, “So, we should go skating tomorrow.” Wait? Why did I say that? What the hell were we talking about?
Unfortunately, my daughter can fixate on a ‘maybe’ or a ‘should’ like nobody’s business. Yes. That meant we were definitely going. Fine. I could use the exercise. Right?
Well, we went and while I was still rusty; not trusting myself to skate backwards like I used to, it was a ton of fun. I got home, still sweaty and exhilarated and posted to Facebook something like, “OMGOMGOMG I just went roller skating and it was, like, totally a lot of fun. WOW!”
Most of the people who responded to my post went to school with me. We all grew up in La Puente, Walnut or West Covina. We all remember our days spent at Skate Junction. It was imperative we relive that as soon as possible. So a meetup with quickly cobbled together.
December 4th. 8pm. Moonlight Rollerway. Glendale, CA.
Why Moonlight Rollerway? Oh, only because most of the skating rinks we grew up with were closed down forever. *sniff* Oh, and only because the few skating rinks that are still around are either run down or of the “Did that guy just sell drugs while skating?” sort and, you know…we got kids. Besides…if I had my choice of roller skating rinks, I would have chosen one with a lot less rules.
Let’s just say the people who work at Moonlight Rollerway have a long way to go in the customer service department. The lady who gives you the tickets is nice and personable and gives you a false sense of normalcy. Then she presses the button and that prison buzz sounds off just as you hear a click of the door and you think, “Oh, my God. That’s just to let me in.” You wonder what madness you just got yourself into.
What we walked in on last night was something out of a Lynch movie. There was the Peter Scolari look-alike referee who was having a little too much fun on his whistle. He stalked slower skaters, waiting for them to touch the wall or fall down, just so he can blow his whistle at them. When the kids fell and the parent stopped to help, he swooped down “Move along! There’s no stopping on the wall.” Yet, he spent approximately 37 minutes stopped along the wall just chit-chatting with the rink’s owner.
This little old lady in her Christmas sweater looked like a sweet, grandma type who’d probably give you homemade cookies if the Dept. of Health would let her. Instead, she choose to make my friend’s little girl cry. See, the girl wasn’t comfortable in her skates. So she took them off and put on her shoes. The lady said that everyone must wear skates…unless they didn’t pay to skate. If you paid to skate you can not take off your skates. If you’re a kid, then you must wear skates because it’s safer.
Yeah. It didn’t make sense to us either.
There there was The Strange Drama of the Fallen Soda; or Let’s Put This Huge Yellow Warning Cone on Carpet and Give Dirty Looks to Customers As I Clean Up a Small Bit of Soda in which the older lady above was the writer, producer, director and star of said drama.
Another really odd thing, was that they kicked us off the boards twice for Advanced Backwards Skating ONLY. This was only weird becase 1) it was just for 7 people out of the 100 in attendance and 2) they have a peculiar rule that to participate you had to have your own skates.
But despite all of this or maybe a little because of it, we all still had lot of fun. I saw people I hadn’t seen in over 20 years and met new people. We’ve all spawned some adorable and insanly polite children. My kids, who were scared of going on the rink when we arrived, had gained some confidence by the time we left. I only fell down once and it wasn’t even my fault.
Oh yes. We’ll be back. Crazy refs and drama-queen owners be damned!
5110 San Fernando Road
Glendale, CA 91204
Phone: (818) 241-3630