Monday, February 5, 2007

The Zero Bar Club, or "Why Can't This Be Love"

Photo thanks to cybele-la and Flickr.

Tonight I took three teenagers rollerskating. We went in the Kittywink, listening to my Drive Tape 6, which features songs by Van Halen, Molly Hatchet, Def Leppard, Boston, Heart, Simon & Garfunkel, the Beatles, etc.

We went to Wheels, an old rink in Durham, where we started out in a light crowd of twenty or so, mostly adults teaching small kids to skate and one group of Latino teens who were shy, giggly, and hardly dared to stand wobbling on their skates. The music was familar, loud, mostly African American (as were most of the other skaters), and even included a few songs we hadn't heard in the years since the last time we skated. They did not play "Mambo #5," that hit with Santana, or the one we call "I Want a Hot Girl." This is music we don't play, but it's great to skate.

With an hour to closing we were the only four left, and the DJ changed the music to funky and cheesey hits from the seventies and eighties, like, "Play that Funky Music," "Bad to the Bone," "Love Shack," and "Kung Fu Fighting." We skated backwards, forwards, finally all over with no direction, and had a great time. I loved watching the three of them dance the Macarena, the girls in the middle of the rink and my son doing it while still skating around them. The DJ turned down the lights and turned on the sparkle balls. She later mentioned to my daughter that she had seen us out there and thought, "If I were here like that, with just my family, what would I want to hear?" Knowing nothing of that conversation, I had smiled some encouragement at her after the first couple of crazy choices and at the end of the evening I tipped her.

We were all tired and sore, but were in such high spirits and so warmed up that we didn't feel the thirty degree breeze as we returned to our coats, which we had left in the Kittywink. My two kids and I are already founding members of the Zero Bar Club - and we told our guest (a friend from up the street in our neighborhood) that we were going to initiate her. "I'm scared," she said, and I replied in a deep theatrical voice, "And you should be." We drove over dark Old North Durham roads (Hoover, Cheek, Junction, Geer, Red Mill) to an Exxon station up on North I-85, getting Drive Tape 6 into the right position. Then we went in and bought four Zero Bars. Our guest had no idea what they were. We returned to the Winkycat and ate the bars to Van Halen (cranked up) playing, "Why Can't This Be Love." We all rocked in our seats to move the whole car to the opening guitar beat. It's the Zero Bar Club's theme song, because it's what came around on a tape (it's on three of my Drive Tapes) the first time we did this. Our guest did not finish her Zero Bar - they are a bit much, actually (white chocolate, nougat, caramel, and nuts - the marzipan of candybars) but we now consider her a member. We'll let her get something else next time.

She commented on the way home, as we sang to "The Boxer" and "Penny Lane," that "This has been the best time I've had in a while. Roller skating, music, and candy!" My daughter later commented that she used to only like three or four songs on this Drive Tape, "But now I like almost all of them!" "Then I've succeeded in ruining you," I replied.

Once home, after seeing our guest in her front door, and after stretching my sore body, I read the bedtime chapter to our youngest (age 8): "The Dragon of Pendor" from "A Wizard of Earthsea." It's my favorite chapter of that book, which I got as a teen after a NYC friend of our family got me books two and three of the trilogy. She confessed at the time that she had no idea what they were, but thought they looked interesting. Those two books started a rush of fantasy reading that lasted decades, and now I'm reading it aloud for the third time, to my third child.

That Zero Bar was not the richest thing in my evening - not by a long shot - and I know this CAN be love.


terrilynn said...

That Zero Bar was not the richest thing in my evening

What a lovely ending to a terrific post.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this with me. I have a special place in my heart for Van Halen. Now I've got another reason to love them. This was a great post.

I've had the most fun turning my kids on to the music and television shows that stoke me. Thankfully, they share my enthusiasm and they are quick and generous in sharing what they love with me too.