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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

Well, It's Official...

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet




"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

Well, It's Official...

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skate
...the skating rink has been sold.

It has been sold to the Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks to turn into a sports arena. And not the kind that will allow skating.

Poopy.

I had a lesson tonight, a special class focusing on stretching and holds. Next week, I have off for a week. The week after, I will skate on that gorgeous wooden floor for the last time.

How can I be sad over a stupid skating rink? I am, though. Cheesy as it sounds to say, freestyle rollerskating--and Ms. Jackie, my teacher--saved me in a lot of ways when I was younger and hopelessly geeky and hopelessly insecure. I am still hopelessly geeky, but I've grown a spine in the last fourteen years, and a lot of that had to do with Ms. Jackie slowly proving to me that I was not a worthless freak, after other teachers and peers had spent the prior five years convincing me that I was.

I was talking to Shannon tonight; she is one of my teammates, the best skater I know, and relatively close to me in age. As the two old married ladies, we tend to hang out and talk. We both remember a time before rollerblades when kids still skated and going to Skateland Putty Hill was such a treat. She admitted to having her first kiss right over in the corner. I remember being a Girl Scout for a year (just to go to horse camp, which ended up really sucking), and we would always have our parties at Skateland Putty Hill. I had secretly looked up to this eccentric girl in one of the other fifth grade classes, and she was in my troop, and we skated together during couples, holding a scrunchie between us instead of hands because she was afraid of looking gay. Silly? Yes. (And sadly homophobic too, though we were only ten at the time and certainly didn't know better.) And when I started freestyle skating, it was some distant dream to skate on the open wooden floor all by myself at Skateland Putty Hill. Well, I did that in June. If this was a novel, I'd say that was a fitting conclusion to my fourteen-year freestyle career.

I don't know what will become of us. I think that Ms. Jackie is trying to find us a new home, but skating rinks are closing and being torn down and replaced by sports arenas all the time now. There are very few places left to rollerskate. There are even fewer that offer freestyle programs. I could return to White Marsh...but no. That program soured me so much, and even though I know that the teacher is different and more motivated, it will never compare to Ms. Jackie's program. (And the floor is terrible. I've become spoiled.)

I'd intended to take off this autumn from skating because of dive training, but I'd hoped to go back eventually. Poopy.

I rather wish this was a movie. I could get all of the Freestyle Fanatics together, and though we are mostly mediocre skaters, we would have enough heart to put on a show so spectacular that people line up around the block to see it and raise enough money to buy back the skating rink from the county, and everything would end happily. Heck, while I'm living in Fantasyland, I might as well write myself doing a triple jump into the script.

Poopy.
  • How can I be sad over a stupid skating rink?

    I think it's totally understandable!! And that sucks. :( I was really sad - and infuriated - when the barn & the land it was on was sold to developers. Now there are houses instead of horses. :( So, it's completely acceptable to be sad over a rink. *hugs*
    • It's funny that you said that because when rumor first came to us that the rink had been sold, I told Bobby that they probably sold it to developers to build 100 single-family homes on the one acre of land, a community named something like "Pine View Manor," as though those places have any freaking trees. But it seems that around here anyway, a tiny plot of land is no sooner available and some unscrupulous developer is snatching it up to make ugly homes with about a foot of yard on each side, so close to each other than you can hear your neighbor fart, then charging upwards of a half-million dollars for them.

      Argh. Sorry for the mini-rant. I see those stupid communities and literally see red, knowing that a few years ago, they were a forest or a farm and the forest and the farm did a whole lot more good than a bunch of pseudo-rich a**h***s with no regard for anyone but themselves.

      Another mini-rant. Okay, I'm done. *hugs back*
      • Sorry for the mini-rant.

        No, I feel *exactly* the same!! If looks could kill, the Southerby Homes (wtf kind of a name is that anyway?) representative would be a pile of ashes. And of course they build giant 5 bedroom houses that will be occupied by a family of three...Ugh. And then they have the nerve to treat everyone who isn't there with the down payment in ones like they're inferior.
  • That sucks! :(

    How can I be sad over a stupid skating rink?

    Skating rinks, in my experiences, are places that are there for you, and your brain gets so used to that it's like you'll suffer from the phantom limb syndrome when it's gone. It's been 12 years since I moved to Connecticut and didn't take too long after that before my favorite roller skating rink that I frequented as a kid in Illinois was closed, and I'm still depressed over it. Ice rinks are the thing here, and as much as I like ice skating, it's not the same. :\

    (I've been a dork who's like, "What's the big deal with this new-fangled roller blading? Roller skating is just fine!" since 1993 or so myself. ;))

    Er, I hope my saying all that didn't depress you more or anything...
    • Hey, wasn't your skating teacher the one with the red afro, or something like that? :^D

      Don't worry; you have not depressed me further. :) My teacher actually emailed us a month ago to say that she'd heard a rumor that the rink had been sold, but it was one of those things where I thought, "Hey, if I don't mention it, it won't be true!" It took me a couple of weeks even to say something about it to Bobby. But I've been mentally preparing myself for the inevitable, but while I was skating last night, it occurred to me the many, many circuits I had made around that floor and that I had one more time to enjoy it. Suddenly, it seemed very real.

      And it could be worse. Like I told Tarion in one of the comments above yours, they could be building one of those stupid pseudo-rich housing communities where everyone's house is in someone else's backyard and people act like because they own an ugly house on a postage-stamp-sized piece of land than that entitles them to behave in whatever egregious manner they choose. But it's going to be a sports arena, which means that the building will still be there and others will get to enjoy it, as I have.

      (I've been a dork who's like, "What's the big deal with this new-fangled roller blading? Roller skating is just fine!" since 1993 or so myself. ;))

      Me too! :^D I've worn rollerblades once in my life when I was twelve years old and tried my best friend's out on my driveway. Ice skating is okay but far too cold for me, and after living on rollerskates for so long, the edges just feel wrong.
      • Hey, wasn't your skating teacher the one with the red afro, or something like that? :^D

        Haha, yeah--I can't remember her without picturing Ronald MacDonald (taking himself way too seriously) on skates anymore. :D

        I've worn rollerblades once in my life when I was twelve years old and tried my best friend's out on my driveway.

        I have a pair of shiny black roller blades from when I was 11--wore 'em once and never again, because they just don't feel right. When I'm skating on land, I need the wheels properly placed, thank you!
  • Aw, boo boo... of COURSE it's poopy, and you have every reason to feel sad. When I was a kid I spent a lot of time roller skating at Oakes Park rink in Portland, OR----also one of those big, beautiful wood floors...and this one even had a Wurlitzer pipe organ with a console suspended over the middle of the floor. It was too kewl. When it closed and was demolished to make room for river front condos, we were all sooooo depressed.

    Aw. **huggles and huggles you**

    • *huggles back*

      Skateland is so totally '70s that it's amusing and quite a bit cheesy, now that we've reached the enlightened stage of emo rock and capri pants. ;) I am consoled that at least it will be a sports arena and others will enjoy it as I did, not a housing community. That was my biggest fear because that happens all too often around here.

      I might just be of the last generation of recreational rollerskaters. Boo. That *is* sad.
  • Poopy indeed! *offers massive hugs*

    The last paragraph of your post made me laugh, just like movies which follow that kind of script make me laugh too. Dunno, maybe I've become more cynical in time, but I simply don't fall for the happy ending, American dream scenarios anymore. I just go "Fuck it, that's no not gonna happen in real life" whether it's in the States or anywhere else in the world. Sure, I'll cry my heart out while watching some heroics by knights/kings/whatever taking place in the Middle Ages, but I'm convinced that there is not an ounce of such valor, self-sacrifice and dedication left in the real, present world.

    It would be great if Ms Jackie and those of you who want to continue skating, would find another location. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

    *hugs Dawn some more*
    • Sure, I'll cry my heart out while watching some heroics by knights/kings/whatever taking place in the Middle Ages, but I'm convinced that there is not an ounce of such valor, self-sacrifice and dedication left in the real, present world.

      I know what you mean... but the thing is, if you give up on values such as valour, honesty or compassion completely, the world's even worse off then before.

      The Middle Ages were not a chivalrous time, nor were they "Dark Ages". Just as today is not all that bad. People will be people - and there are still some out there that are pretty heroic, I think. Mother Theresa was one, for example. Or look at the people of the 20th century who were sanctified.

      Maybe you'll like this site: http://www.modern-heroes.com/heroes/heroes-words-and-pictures.html

      I think that's encouraging. Even if those "American dream" stories really happen only in movies most of the time!
      • I know what you mean... but the thing is, if you give up on values such as valour, honesty or compassion completely, the world's even worse off then before.

        You are absolutely right. I like to think that I am one of those people that still have a little bit of those qualities left, though, generally, I am a monument of selfishness. But it's hard to look for heroics in a country like mine, where people are as sneaky as they are clever.

        Thanks for the link. I'll check it out once I get home.

        The Middle Ages were not a chivalrous time, nor were they "Dark Ages".

        Yea... The Middle Ages are chivalrous only in movies, but that still manages to impress me. I guess that's why I still cry, no matter how many times I see scenes from LotR like that one in which Theoden urges his people into battle and in the arms of death on the Pelennor fields. And I keep thinking... if I were there and then, I would follow him into the battle and to my death in the blink of an eye, whereas now, if anyone would ask me to anything for my country/president/whatever (or for any other country/president/whatever) I'd cross my arms and ask: "What's in it for me?" Hope this is making some sense...

        I think that's encouraging. Even if those "American dream" stories really happen only in movies most of the time

        Ah, it's even harder for me to buy those stories, being from the Eastern European country that I am... and just because I can't help being ridiculously cynical at times.
    • The last paragraph of your post made me laugh, just like movies which follow that kind of script make me laugh too. Dunno, maybe I've become more cynical in time, but I simply don't fall for the happy ending, American dream scenarios anymore.

      Well, you know me: I can very rarely make an all-out angsty post without trying to see the bright side or comedy in it. I am a hopeless, pie-eyed optimist. 8^)

      All the same, I totally agree with you on that "American dream" bunk. I am an American, and trust me, the American dream is hard to come by these days. It used to be that anyone with a few bucks in his pocket, an idea, and a willingness to work could start a business to support his family. My grandparents owned a corner store in Baltimore for years, having done just that, and when they died, their hard work and investments had left them as millionaires. These days, though, with WalMart on every corner and banks unwilling to take a chance on a new business unless you sell them your soul first and a jungle of red-tape to wade through even if you make it past all that, it is no wonder that no one starts their own businesses anymore. And those that do franchise.

      On top of that, with cuts to funding for higher education, it's rapidly getting to the point where you have to be rich to get a decent education around here. The year I graduated, tuition at my public, State-funded university jumped 13% for the next year. But at the same time, all of the "blue collar" jobs are being moved into Mexico or overseas, so where are all of these uneducated people going to go?

      Bobby and I are funding our way through a second bachelor's degree only by taking out liberal student loans with the full intention that we will probably being paying them off for much of our lives.

      Okay, how did a post about the skating rink turn into a piss-and-moan session about the lack of opportunities, big business, and outsourcing? ;)

      It would be great if Ms Jackie and those of you who want to continue skating, would find another location. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

      Me too. :) I always have White Marsh, where I got my start in skating fourteen years ago, but their facility is awful, and I outgrew their program years ago. So I think I'd take up dance as an alternative to skating before I'd go back there.

      *big hugs back*
  • Awww, Dawn. I'm so sorry. :-( Skateland is as much a part of our childhood as anything else I can recall. I'm sorry to see it go. :-(

    *Whispers* What the heck is a sports arena btw?
    • I wondered what you would say. :) It's an icon, isn't it? The Denny's with the Skateland behind it.

      I think that the sports arena is going to be for things like indoor soccer and lacrosse and the like. So while I'm bitter that I'm losing my program so that snobby suburban kids can indulge their parents' dreams, at least someone will have fun with it. Better than if it was made into a housing community. ;)
  • I used to go to Putty Hill all the time when I was in foster care, I loved that place and miss it-lol.

    I'm sorry to hear about all this:p hopefully Ms. jakie can find you guys a new home.
    • I'm hoping too! And I'm beginning to think that there isn't a kid who grew up in the Baltimore area that did not go to Putty Hill Skateland. It's still packed there on weekends, so I don't know why they decided to sell it. But I'm holding out hope for another opportunity. :)
  • Over here our part of the city has special roller skate/blade routes to eum skate, actually, they use special underground for that. So yeah, it is still very popular over here, in the summer you can get special classes for it and in the winter the ice rink is used for something else. I have inline skates, but hubby forbid me to go skating because he doesn't want me to get hurt. But just wait until Kevin discovers it *grin*

    So hon, move over here!
    • That does sound awesome indeed! :^D Rollerskating has declined in popularity so much in the last decade here. When I was a kid even, in the '80s, you were so cool if you had a rollerskating party at Skateland. And there were skating rinks everywhere...well, compared to what we have now. There's still a rink in my husband's old neighborhood and our local Columbia Association allows rollerskating sometimes on the basketball court, but it's not what it used to be.
  • poopy indeed. :-( *hugs*

    I know we have rinks still in use here, but since I have no one to skate with, at least not anyone available, they might as well be closed for me too.

    Of course, you *could* move down here... Then we can skate together, and you can teach me how to do all that fancy dance stuff so I won't fall on my backside... ;-)
    • *hugs back*

      Then we can skate together, and you can teach me how to do all that fancy dance stuff so I won't fall on my backside... ;-)

      Lol! The only problem is, I think that the fancier you get, the more time you spend on your backside! :^D
  • I'm sorry you're losing your skating rink. It seems unfair; skating rinks are few and far between, while sports areas are everywhere, why does the world need another one?
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