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The Roller Skating Rink
Adolescents like to have a place they can call their own. In the fifties, teenagers hung out at the malt shop, sipping cherry cokes and rockin' with Elvis. Today, in small town USA, they're jam skating while listening to the favorite group of the month. I was amazed to find a microcosm of life blooming on a 70 x 160-foot cement slab known as a roller skating rink.
As I entered the building which housed the rink, the warm, nostalgic scent of popcorn hit that part of my brain where dusty, cobwebbed memories live, memories of my own adolescence. I made my way past a group of exuberant teenagers at the snack bar until I reached the skating rink. Skinny, hard benches, made for small butts, lined one wall. I took a seat and scanned the rink. My eyes paused to read a sign; white, block letters on a black background warned, "Skate at Your Own Risk."
Two young men swaggered past me: confident, heads held high, eyes focused on their destination. I leaned over, looking down the long row of benches, curious to find out where they were going. Their confidence lagged a bit as they approached a large group of their peers, including several young ladies. All of them exhibited signs of discomfort as the girls crossed their arms over their nubile bodies and the boys tried hard not to stare.
Abruptly, a silent signal sent the entire assembly to the benches. Pairs of dexterous hands laced up skates as quickly as possible, while other hands aided in conversation that only the listener was allowed to hear. I was struck by the intimacy of this scene. They all knew each other well. They had come together in the freedom of this one place to share and explore without the encumbrance of parents, teachers, or any other meddlesome adult. I sat bolt upright, feeling very much like someone who had accidentally stumbled into a room full of naked people.
Attempting to recover from my embarrassment, I was suddenly startled by a cacophony . . . music, perhaps? It must have been music, because I glanced down to find my foot tapping away to a beat long forgotten.
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"Descriptive Essay Example: The Roller Skating Rink." 123HelpMe.com. 17 Nov 2018
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I remembered the sign, "Skate at Your Own Risk." At the time, I had worried about broken arms and legs, but as I watched the dance unfold on that skating rink, I realized that these young people risk so much more. The pain of rejection, the fear of making fools of themselves, and the devastation they feel when they believe that they have, makes life for these adolescents a risky business. Perhaps that sign should have read, "LIVE at Your Own Risk."