Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Get Your Kicks on Route 66

The Route 66 Roller Dome is situated right off the highway in a small town near Tulsa. It has become one of the options in a never-ending stream of activities for our clients when school is out of session.

As one of the more stressful and potentially painful activities that we do with the kids, I am never fully prepared to deal with the chaos that is the Route 66 Roller Dome. Turns out that kids these days are also never fully prepared to skate. It's like watching a Whack-A-Mole game of children on roller skates. One falls, then another, then WHAM! one really falls, then another. It's tense, but it's good for the kids to try new activities. Rightfully so, many kids are a little weary to try out this hazardous activity, but my job is to help them overcome their fears and gain more confidence in themselves.

This day, I was targeting a particularly apathetic kid. He has a tendency to refuse to participate in activities and then incessantly complain about being bored and having nothing fun to do. In other words, he has a tendency to drive me nuts.

When he got out on the rink, it was like watching a baby walk for the first time. It was unbalanced, halting and so exhilarating. He was doing it! He had his PVC pipe walker to keep him at a 90 degree angle, moving precariously one foot, then the other. My baby bird was finally leaving my nest.

Fast-forward 30 minutes or so. A dramatic little client comes bounding down the rink frantically yelling, "Miss Molly! HE NEEDS YOU! He ripped his pants!" 

I could vaguely see him through the smokey fog and disco lights of the roller rink. He was sitting awkwardly on a bench in the alcove-turned-arcade on the opposite end. I casually walked over, bobbing and weaving past uncoordinated monsters on roller skates. "Miss Molly, I need your help," he inconspicuously said to me as I approached. I assumed it was a bad tear since most of the kids' clothes are very, very worn. And then, there was the problem. There it all was. The boy had left his house that morning forgetting a very integral piece of clothing: his underwear.

To make matters worse, the tear wasn't a small rip. It was the entire seam of the pants. Zipper to back belt buckle.

I mean. How. How do I even. One of my coworkers found a beach towel in her trunk, and we wrapped our client up as if he was headed to a luau. He refused to take off his skates until we convinced him that the walk of shame back to the lobby would be much more graceful without wheels.

On the ride home he was very quiet but didn't appear too upset. We had a quick chat about remembering to bring all necessary items of clothing before the next activity, he agreed, and I watched as he hobbled into his house the towel constricting his regular stride.

Weeks later, we ended up needing to bring him with us to the roller skating rink since his older sister wanted to join us. As he peered over the wall, watching all the other kids skate, I assumed he was still embarrassed and couldn't bring himself to try skating again after such a traumatic event. I didn't blame him.

"How are you feeling? Do you want to try skating again?"
"No, not really."
"Is it because of what happened last time?"
"What do you mean? What happened?"
"Well . . . you know . . . "


I love it, because I know him well. And this was not traumatic or even the least bit interesting enough to remember two weeks later. Thank the good Lord for that. 

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