Monday, May 12, 2008

not exactly speed racer

i busted out the rollerblades last week.

i was on the upswing of the trend back in the 80's when i got my first pair of rollerblades. my town didn't exactly have a skate park or even well-paved roads, so i could really only skate around on an outdoor basketball court down the street. i knew a girl in college who rollerbladed everywhere, and she eventually convinced me to try my old-school wheels on the mean streets of north avenue -- to somewhat negative results. i have no idea where those skates are now, and even less a clue as to why i decided i would be more successful with new ones over ten years later. let's just say i am a sucker who can be talked into anything.

i've owned this pair for exactly 6 years, and i haven't actually put them on my feet for about 5. i bought them about the same time as my bike, both of which i purchased right after breaking my arm in a freak snowboarding accident. and by "freak" i mean i tried to snowboard and was quickly reminded that i have zero coordination or athletic prowess. so i immediately went out and bought more sporting equipment, duh.

anyway, last monday was a beautiful day and i decided to take advantage of it. once every four or five years, we have an amazing spring here in atlanta. usually it goes from freezing cold (okay, 40's/50's or 60's + raining) to hot hot hot (90's), like, in two days. this year, we have had a bunch of awesome days with temps in the 70's and so sunny that you would be nutzo to stay inside. i spent most of last sunday inside for various (not sucky) reasons and spent all of the next day trying to stop thinking about playing outside.

which led to thoughts of rollerblading.

i'm sure these thoughts were also brought on by my visit to the green(ish) belt on the recent trip, as that was the site where my skates first hit pavement. and, as i mentioned earlier, i tend to see my past with rose colored glasses, so i couldn't stop thinking about how fun and easy and non-life-threatening rollerblading was. hell, if i tried really hard, i could probably remember myself as a kick-ass snowboarder, too, but i have plenty of pictures with me in a cast backing up the contrary there.

and my dad. easter dinner, 2002, with the whole big extended family gathered around the table. i'm in a purple cast. here's how the conversation went:

  • dad: A [my older sister] was such a gifted athlete growing up, but she never really cared for sports that much. kelley, on the other hand, tried every sport she could. she tried and tried, but she really never had any athletic talent, whatsoever.

  • me: WAIT! i wasn't that bad!

  • dad: kelley, you're 30 years old. you'd think you would have accepted the truth by now.

  • me: i'm twenty-four!

  • dad: eh, close enough. you might as well start rounding.

i think he meant for that conversation to be funny. i was traumatized. still am.

anywho, i have had an athletic bug up my bum for the last couple of weeks. last week it was rollerblading. i dug my skates out of the bottom of the closet, wiped off some dust, and hopped in the car to drive to piedmont park, where i knew there were at least no cars to run over me when/if i veered out of control. i didn't remember how much my skates resembled ski boots. (incidentally, i had decided to try snowboarding on that fateful trip because i suck so badly at skiing.) bad memories crept in, but i had confidence. i strapped those suckers on so tightly there was no way i'd break an ankle. sweet -- one body part taken care of at least.

i headed down charles allen dr., quickly realizing i have NO IDEA what i'm doing. and people can tell. after hitting a couple of huuuuge crevasses in the sidewalk (okay maybe i'm exaggerating) and watching people trying not to giggle as i wobbled all over the place, i remembered why i bought the whole kit of elbow, knee, and wrist guards when i got these suckers. too bad i didn't put them on today. bad idea. baaaaaad idea.

the best looks i got were when i was waiting for the light at 10th to turn green. wobbly chick on narrow strip of rolly wheels, trying not to fall over and/or roll on into traffic, hanging onto a pole for dear life. oh yes, this was a low point.

but i am indestructible (and delusional), so i did not once think of turning back. nope, as soon as that red hand went away, i teetered across the street. only to find an even crackier [is that a word? it is now] sidewalk, covered by little twigs, on an incline, on the other side. greeeeeeaaaaat. at least there were fewer witnesses here.

i headed to the lower loop, the meadow (where screen on the green usually is), since it's smaller, rounder, and basically less scary. plus there were fewer downhills, and i had determined in the first 30 seconds that i was pret-ty rusty on the braking. as in, i couldn't even remember where they were at first. wobbly girl with bare limbs and no speed control. hey, no worries -- i have plenty of grass around to slow me down! yeah, my judgement isn't questionable at all.

but that's okay because i have my trusty ipod and i can tune out all the soccer players, bike riders, joggers, walkers, and bocce ball players who are surely talking about me. i'm not paranoid or anything at this point. too bad the blaring ipod means i can't hear those damned bike riders coming up behind me. yet another obstacle. one old man kept giving me the look of death when i got near his grandkid on his little bike, but dude needs to teach that kid how to get out of the way. i have very little control here, people! on a river, the least maneuverable boat has the right-of-way. that would be me today! the kid decided to park himself horizontally across a bridge on my last loop, but lucky for him i'm a fast learner and an excellent swerver (take that as you please). if grampa won't teach him a lesson, i will. i'm an excellent educator.

in all, i completed four loops (over a mile) before the sun got too low for me to see all the little sticks in my path. turns out sidewalk cracks and bike riders are pretty predictable; it's the flotsam and jetsam that will really eff you up. noooot a good feeling.

but guess what? i didn't fall! not once! did i look like an asshole trying to resurrect a 20-year-old fad? probably. did i take advantage of a beautiful day, get some good exercise, and feel better about myself in the end? definitely. we'll see if that trend continues or if those wheels collect dust for another four years.

i'm gunning for the former. in the last week, i've rollerbladed, gone for a super-long walk with R, spent a whole day painting a house for homeaid atlanta (if you don't think that's exercise, tell my muscles), played 18 holes of golf (yep, me), and spent some quality time in the yard with the fredmonster. not sure what the hell has gotten into me, but this being active stuff doesn't really suck!

the bike (neglected just as long as the skates) is in the shop and will be ready to ride next week. any bets on how many times it'll see the light of day this year? i guess it depends on how long this freakish spring lasts.... bring it on. :)

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