When I was seven, I frequently skated down Clinton Street in Toronto in my clip-on metal ball bearing Dominion Skate Co. roller skates. My parents purchased them at a local bargain store and they were a source of great joy for me. For once, my Buster Brown thick soled lace shoes were almost invisible. In fact, they were an advantage. I used my key to adjust the skates only once, then I didn't have to tighten them again for the duration of my skate. I felt free. I felt happy. I felt the wind in my face and long flowing hair as I zoomed down the street at a speed of 5 km/hr. I loved my roller skates so much that I skipped school one afternoon just so I could skate. And skate I did...around and around the block I went. Nobody seemed to notice or care that there was a seven year old on the loose. Not until my parents came home and discovered my truancy that is. The fabulous skates were seized and my flying days were temporarily over. Grounded ! I remember eventually wearing the skates so much that the bearings became visible inside the wheels.
At some point, in adulthood, I tested my children's inline skates. I'm guessing they have the name "inline" because the wheels are in a row rather than having four of them equally spaced on the bottom. Balancing was a bit more of a challenge. Speed was the goal. I didn't like them and decided I didn't need to participate in this activity again.
After retirement, at the ripe old age of...well, at a ripe old age, I reconsidered. This time, it was on a ship in the company of my daughter. I looked ridiculous outfitted in knee pads, elbow pads and helmet while carrying a purse. Nevertheless, with a lot of help from the Caribbean wind, we went round and round the track. We laughed and giggled as we circled the upper sports deck. I felt free. I felt happy. I felt the wind in my tied up hair. Sometimes I was pushed by the wind and other times I tried with great difficulty to push against it. Occasionally, I felt wabbly and unstable, and at other times, confident and controlled. I survived relatively unscathed except for minor dehydration and a really strange sunburn.
I recently googled "roller skates" and much to my surprise, found some amazing pictures. Not only that, there are stores where these stylish and modern skates are available.
Today, on a whim I went to a local sporting goods store. I asked a young woman whether they sell roller skates. She looked at me and asked "You mean the old fashioned kind with four wheels?"
I responded. "Not that old fashioned. They have really colourful new ones on the internet. Besides, they wear real roller skates in roller derbys."
"Oh, really? No, we don't have those."
I left the store.
Now here's my dilemma. I seem to want roller skates. Roller skates would be good exercise. Roller skates would be a great addition to my newly planned eccentric persona and summer attire. Besides, I want to feel free. I want to feel happy. I want to feel the wind blowng in my thinning hair as I zoom down our street at 2 km/hr.
On the other hand, perhaps I should get the ones I found listed on Kijiji today.