I wrote this in response to the latest of the Slowest Losers' blogs, Unearthing The Lost Treasure Of Cardio: www.dailyspark.com/blog.
In it, he talks about Rollerblading (more properly referred to as in-line skating, of which Rollerblade is the most popular brand) and it's rise and later decline in popularity.
To be honest, I've never thought about whether or not Rollerblading was popular or trendy; it was just something that I did, something that I enjoyed. But after I posted my response to his blog, I thought I might share it with my friends here, as some food for thought about what we do but more importantly why we do it and what it means to us.
At the end of his blog, he asks a number of questions. Here they are, with my responses to them:
"Have you ever felt pigeonholed, dismissed or deemed "un-cool" over your appearance or another superficial reason?"
Many, many, many times. I didn't have the right clothes, the right make up, the right hair, I was too old, too young, too fat, too tall, even (though rarely) too thin. I didn't read the right books, listen to the right music, watch the right television shows. I didn't talk about the right things.
"How did/do you deal with it? Do you agree that the whole concept of "cool" can be shallow?"
I think that there are a great many definitions of cool. I think my definition may or may not match the mainstreams and that's okay with me.
I once got in an argument with a friend of mine because she thought she was more "independent" because she was more openly rebellious socially, especially in terms of how she dressed etc. I have never been a particularly dramatic person; I dress the way I like and am comfortable and to be honest that hasn't changed a whole lot in the last 20 years. Sometimes it has been more stylish, sometimes less so, but I'm okay with that because it's still me. I see as little need to buck against trends as I do to go with them. And for the most part I'm pretty comfortable with that and as I surround myself with friends who are as if not more geeky and eccentric as I am, I get my share of acceptance for being me.
I don't think cool is inherently shallow but I think that some people apply it in a way that is shallow.
"Have you ever tried in-line skating? How did you like it?"
I have rollerbladed for over 20 years and I have always loved it. I stopped doing it about 9 years ago when I hurt my hip and when I started up again (two years ago, I think?) I could barely do it because my muscles had atrophied so much... a humbling and frustrating experience for someone who remembered rollerblading for an hour or more without thinking anything of it. I'm back to the point where I can now rollerblade maybe 30 minutes, though I'm still no where as good as I had been before I stopped. Someday, I'd like to have that old skill and stamina back.
I don't do it as often as I'd like, however, in part because I don't really have a lot of good places to do it. Biking is more flexible--I'm less likely to wipe out if I hit gravel or broken pavement. Walking is more flexible still, though not as intense a workout.
But I still enjoy it. When I put my rollerblades on, at least for the first 10-15 minutes, I feel like I'm flying. It's a wonderful feeling.