1. The Inquisitive Guy.
There’s one on EVERY street corner. I’m starting to develop a repulsion with eye contact. Eye contact means conversation, with these ones. For whatever reason, they do not read my impatient wheel-rolling in place and staring daggers at the crosswalk countdown as a “DO NOT TALK” sign. They do not see the giant set of proper headphones that encase my ears and entrap my wind-tangled hair. They do not sense my aura of rushed impatience and lack of time. They want to talk. About rollerblading and the weather and the traffic and current events and honestly, I am all for being social and engaging but there is a time and place and it is not while I am wearing wheels on my feet.
2. My roommates, and basically anyone I actually know.
I can’t stop particularly well, especially while I’m moving quickly, so when I encounter people I DO actually want to talk to, I usually whiz by before a) I can catch who they are, or b) words can be exchanged in any way. Plus, my music is loud enough to drown out people, but not cars, so I rarely talk on the way. (Have you ever rollerbladed to like, really, really good rollerblading music? It’s powerful shit.)
3. The wide-eyed foreigner that says nothing.
4. Pick-Up Line Guy
Oh man, it’s not even entertaining anymore. I am on wheels. I am wearing headphones. I usually am going somewhere, and I am often late. I am very sorry that you caught me at this inconvenient time, but opening with “Hey baby, roll on over here,” or “Check out the wheels on those heels” isn’t really improving your chances. Stop being creepy
5. The expansive wall of friends that feel compelled to walk in a line and take up the majority of the sidewalk.
6. The troupe of small children.
They’re almost too cute to be annoying, but if I catch the midday field trip rush, it’s not the easiest of paths to travel. It’s also incredibly distracting, if you live in a mind like mine, where “BABIES!” pretty much erases any other functional thought.
7. The really, really cute old lady that commends you on your initiative.
Exceedingly different from The Inquisitive Guy, The Really Cute Old Lady is just too cute to complain about. Although, she does eat up a few seconds of forced conversation through my headphones that I really didn’t want to have to wait for.
8. The wasted guy/girl/group.
Okay, there are certain streets I don’t take on Friday and Saturday nights. And when these people find their way onto the main roads, there’s not much I can do. The packs grow as the night goes on, people get really impressed, really easily (apparently a pair of roller blades makes you the centre of the drunk-people universe), and they pretty much stop moving.
9. The guy that moves out of the way, the wrong way.
I am not just being picky. If you’re going to move out of the way of a rollerblader, PLEASE, look where you’re walking, and don’t leave the cobblestoned, cracked side of the pavement for the girl on wheels. I can manage weaving through people alright, but when people unpredictably jump in and/or out of the way, it doesn’t end well. For an accurate depiction of the sidewalks of Queen Street West, please see the GIF below.
Rollerblading downtown is really stressful. It’s like Mortal Kombat mixed with Mario Kart, but the bombs are cars and the chance boxes are traffic lights and the coins are potholes and the rainbow road is actually all gravel even though it looks alright at first, and the mushrooms are hobos and the other cars are everywhere and it doesn’t really help that I don’t know how to stop.