2010-04-02

Totalitarianism at the Roller Skating Rink

I went roller skating this past weekend to celebrate Dan's birthday. It was a really fun time, in spite of all of the rules. As we skated around, Dan asked, "When did skating become so totalitarian?" There was this dude in a ref shirt sitting in a glass booth overlooking the rink. He had a microphone and used it incessantly to yell at his minions. No cellphones! No holding hands! No grabbing on to the wall! Get up after you fall! I circled the rink in fear of being chastised by the grand overlord.

At one point, Big Brother shouted a new rule: "No skating with sweaters tied around your waist!" Boy, they're regulating everything, I thought. Not even a full minute later, the Voice from Above, expressing irritation over having to repeat himself, again instructed about no sweaters around the waist. I scanned the crowd to see who had the illicit sweater - who dared defy the Supreme Entity? - to no avail. Within a minute after that, the music stopped abruptly and the voice instructed everyone to stop skating immediately. "This is what happens when you don't listen," he said. "If you have the sweatshirt around your waist, you need to get off the rink right now."

It's at that point, I discovered that the offender was my friend Clare. Everyone was staring, upset over having to momentarily stop. Apparently, wearing a sweatshirt around her waist was equivalent to spilling marbles all over the rink in some sort of cartoon villain fashion. IT'S FOR SAFETY! Even though The Dictator was being a massive prick, he had brilliantly deflected the rage that should have been directed toward him toward Clare, his disobedient subject. I'm still not sure why she didn't immediately obey the voice the first time she heard the instruction (I would have been too scared not to), but good for her, damn it!

When Big Brother wasn't punishing us, he was advertising some low-rate modeling school that had a booth set up in the corner. There were a few games throughout the night where we could "win" a partial scholarship to the school. What a deal! You still have to pay them the majority of the tuition to mislead you! The "models" manning the table were cute, but also way too short and ill-proportioned to have a legitimate career. I'm guessing that by working, they were paying off their own tuition. They kept approaching vulnerable adolescent girls with "You're so pretty. [They weren't.] Have you ever thought about modeling?" This racket will continue as long as people fall prey to their own vanity.

Speaking of vanity, I was pretty pleased with my own appearance. While everyone else there had to borrow standard orange skates, I had brought my own. Five years ago, I bought a pair of sneakers with wheels attached to them at a thrift store, definitely one of my best finds of all time. Even better was that one of the wheels lit up with rainbow colors when it spun. Granted, it was only one wheel out of eight, but that was still 12.5% cooler than anybody else. Though I rarely have reason to wear the skates anymore, I was excited to have an opportunity, and got a kick out of the people who kept glancing at my flashy skates. That's right, I was the flyest guy on the rink. I'm surprised no one approached me about modeling.