Kip and I went to The Roxy last night, where on Wednesdays they have roller skating, for a birthday party. Aside from the ridiculousness of the lines (for entry, for ID check, for admission, for coat check and, finally, for skate rental) we had a good time. I had forgotten how difficult skating on the old-school style square-wheel skates, with the brown boots and orange laces, could be. I only fell down once--although it was a spectaularly theatrical fall--and, embarassingly I wasn't even skating. I was just stepping from one spot to another.
I'm always curious about how your brain tends to slow down in times like that--or, rather, it speeds up. You remember every flashing instant of the experience. In my case, the first thing was the knowledge that I was not going to be able to save myself. Then, as my feet flipped into the air and I began tumbling to the ground, I thought: "This is going to look worse than it is." And so I managed to turn my head toward my friends, who were all looking stunned and scared, their own minds working in slow-motion, unable to help (or perhaps unwilling, since everyone just sat there on their asses.)
The place was full of New York weirdos. The guy in pants that looked like they were made from old beach towels, who skated backwards, barely moving, all night. The older couple, also skating backwards, embraced together like Tango dancers. The eighties clones, wearing sunglasses and custom skates. The security guards in white t-shirts, the young girls who looked too young to be drinking their beers. And the man in line out front, who told us that the last time he'd been to the Roxy was Gay Pride 1991.