Galaxy Jane Cruises On Rollerblades: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Skinned Knees

For those who think this is outside my blog’s purview, I want to point out that it is technically about travel.  I might not have traveled far, but, if you count shanks mare, it even involves two different modes of transportation. So there.

I need to get my butt in gear and make some desperately needed lifestyle changes in order to lose the 20 pounds I’ve gained since cruising last October. And then the further 15 pounds I was already overweight then. Because reasons people! Most of said reasons being vanity, as I have another cruise coming up in 12 months, with a group I’ve traveled with before (the Doctor Who themed Sci-Fi Sea Cruise, check it out!), and I don’t want to be the one who got fat since the last trip. The rest of the reasons being that I have a job that requires me to maintain a certain body fat percentage and don’t want to get chucked out on my ear (the telling part being that I’m much more motivated by the vanity than the job). Anyhoo.

I’ve reached a point in my life where running is just too damned hard on what’s left of my knees and ankles, and I’m starting to get bored with my walks, despite the fact that I’ve always loved walking as exercise. So I got the bright idea that I’d try to find my 20 year old Rollerblades and do some inline skating around the neighborhood instead, easier on the knees and I can get my distance in quicker than walking.

Now I grew up rollerskating (it was the 70s and 80s, of course I did), I did all kinds of foolhardy tricks, indoors and, even more so, out (though I never mastered Shooting the Duck). But that was on old-school four-wheeled skates. I never really got the hang of Rollerblades, and I don’t remember the last time I tried taking them out except that it had to have been over five years ago and possibly as many as ten. Naturally, as a child of the 70s, I also own no sort of safety equipment whatsoever, because that stuff’s for the weird kid (No, no, not me. The other weird kid, the one who eats paste). So, as you can see, this is shaping up to be a brilliant plan.

Problem 1: I am terrified of falling (see no safety equipment, above).

Problem 2: I never figured out how to brake on Rollerblades as I’m used to toe brakes (see problem 1).

Problem 3: My neighborhood is nothing but hills (see problem 2).

The upshot of all this is that I am wobbling my way around the neighborhood, twitching and jerking every time my balance threatens to give out, rolling into the grass verge to stop, and refusing to go more than two blocks from the house, because if I do, I’ll have to go downhill. And if I do that I might never be able to stop again and I might shoot out into the main road only to be struck by a passing van on mommy duty, traumatizing both the driver and all her preschool aged passengers and causing them to eschew all wheeled modes of transportation for life, which means they’ll never be able to get a decent job more than a mile from home and they’ll become a drag on the welfare state and the taxpayer and it will be All. My. Fault. So basically, good times.

After about 15 minutes of this, I’m finally starting to get my sea legs (skate legs?) under me. I’m taking longer strides, I no longer feel like I’m in imminent danger of fall-down-go-boom, I’ve even figured out a tacking technique that allows me to go down the slight slope of the cul-de-sac above my house with only the slightest hint of heart-in-my-throat fear of the speed. In other words, I’m having fun! This cannot last.

I’m gliding along now, starting to get a decent rhythm going, picking up the pace. I even feel brave enough to take the turn and head down a new street…when my right skate goes massively unstable and my ankle starts to bend painfully to port and starboard. (Did you know that ankles aren’t built to bend in that direction? It’s true!) By the grace of God and the power of pure stubbornness (I had a recruiter once refer to me as “pleasantly persistent”) I somehow managed to stay on my feet until I could make it into the grass, where I discovered that the top strap of the skate had snapped in half in a failed attempt to murder me on a back road. Apparently this was my punishment for leaving then in the bottom of the closet for decades at a time.

As I walked slowly home in my stocking feet, I knew there was only one thing left to do.

My new Rollerblades arrive tomorrow.

4 thoughts on “Galaxy Jane Cruises On Rollerblades: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Skinned Knees

  1. Oh, my- I haven’t seen a pair of those since Nancy was in middle school! She was young enough to have wrist and knee guards… Have you considered swimming or ice skating? They’re fun, too, and an ice rink is flat: somewhat safer place to practice your hockey stop. (the no-toes method) Sounds like fun, all in all, and if you visit Meredith or me, we live where it is flat.

    Liked by 1 person

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