I really shouldn't have bought them; I can't afford to spend that much money at one time, but after deciding that lifting at the gym was no longer what I wanted in the world of physical maintenance, I had to do something. And of course the first night after work I go to try them out and it's been raining all day.

I bought elbow pads, knee pads, and wrist guards but didn't wear them this time. I practiced a bit in my office today during a lull in activity, and they are constructed much like ice skates, with which I have usually been very agile.

I set out for Audubon Park, where I walked after work pretty frequently. With daylight savings coming up, the long patches of daylight left to me after work are already diminishing. Since the track is concrete and continuous, I didn't focus so much on stopping but keeping the movement regular. Unlike ice skates, you rely on almost exclusively a side to side motion, and I learned quickly that you aren't advised to lift your skates high when pushing forward, or at least not on the first try. I was able to incorporate some ankle movements when meandering around all the twigs and nuts that the day's storm had shaken from the ancient trees. The boots roller blades use are far more rigid, like hiking boots, and even before the halfway mark, I could feel my calves and ankles straining from the vibration if the cobble-like texture in the cement. It was almost like dancing, or at least, how white people dance.

I thought I would go twice around, but once I saw my car again, I figured it would be best to not over do it. I felt victorious because I hadn't fallen down or even come close to it once this time. I cruised around in the smoother asphalt of the parking lot before using my car as an obstacle to stop myself so I could unlace them and head home.

Walking around in my sneakers afterward was a bit wobbly, the way your feet always are when they get re-adjusted to regular bindings. Whenever I try a new physical exertion, I anticipate if it will have some new effect on my muscles the following day. I like feeling like I did something substantial, and pain is a good sign of that, among other things. I think I will really like this change.

I used to make fun of people who rode roller blades, that it was some yuppie thing that was beyond me and even embarrassing. But I guess I've reached a point where staring at myself in a mirror for 30 minutes before dawn every morning, watching my sickly reflection lift and lower weights, has now become not only unappealing but unenjoyable. And a bike would have cost at least twice as much. And so, like other things, I grow out of prior hang ups in an effort to break up the monotony of life outside the box.

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