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One Sunday evening, around 6:30 p.m., my hubby and I decided that we wanted a good cup of coffee. Knowing that most good coffee places are closed at that hour, he did a quick search and found Society Memphis Skatepark and Coffee in Binghampton off Broad. We walked in fully expecting a jazzy coffee club scene. Did we read the well-lit signs? No. Did we ask why there were skateboards on the wall? No. Did we notice the guests in helmets and pads? No.
I’m using the pronoun “we” very loosely. My husband probably noticed all of those things and could have possibly pointed them out to me as we entered, but I was hyper-focused on coffee. And not just any coffee. But the good kind. The Cxffeeblack kind!
Cxffeeblack is just the right elixir to becoming a Cool Kid. After ordering coffee, I took a peek through what appears to be a back door. There were ramps! Ramps to the left. Ramps to the right! There were handrails and slopes and flying people! Well, they weren’t actually flying, but they were close. I immediately knew that I was in the presence of the Cool Kids. They were doing tricks, turns and … and … cool stuff. I’m sure all of the moves have names, but I honestly couldn’t tell you.
As I watched with my mouth wide open, my husband leaned over and said, “We should come back here.” And somewhere between pure awe and a coffee high, I agreed. I agreed to go skateboarding as a date night.
Fast forward to Friday night and I found myself nursing another cup of coffee to calm my nerves. (I know, I know. The coffee might have done the opposite, but it was still a great comfort.) The attendant confidently passed me my rental skateboard and left my hubby and me to our own devices. As I looked at the skaters enjoying themselves, I thought, “Maybe I should have signed up for skateboarding lessons.” Well, it was too late for shoulda-coulda-wouldas. I was there and I ain’t no chicken.
Within 15 minutes, I realized that I might not be a scaredy chicken, but I was definitely not a spring chicken. And 20 seconds after that realization, I came to terms that I was a scaredy chicken, too. Skateboarding is not an activity for the weak or the timid. My husband and I couldn’t figure out how these Cool Kids got both feet on the boards at the same time. Memphis miracles were happening before my very eyes! After 20 minutes of failing to even stand and move on the board, my eyes desperately said, “Somebody — anybody — help me!”
And just like that, Cool Kid S. M. Vazquez came to our embarrassing rescue. He showed us the proper way to stand on a skateboard, how to balance, and even a little physics. (Stuff about motion, center of gravity, and degrees of something or another. My math doesn’t “math” like everyone else’s.) Nevertheless, I was able to stand on the skateboard and balance. Not in motion, but not falling either. That was until he said that we could try to coast down a very small ramp.
This ramp was no higher than 2 feet off the ground with a generous slope. I stood at the top of the mini-Mount Everest (yes, I’m exaggerating) and got balanced. I found my center of gravity and pushed off very, very slowly. And very slowly, the ground came rushing to meet me like a long lost friend. Falling when you’re 7 is quite different than when you’re 37. All of my bones vibrated. When the vibrations ended, I felt like pieces of me were floating away. In some distance galaxy, Thanos had snapped his fingers and I was slowly dissolving away.
Cool Kid Vazquez and my hubby picked me and all my imaginary pieces off the ground. I blinked a few times back to reality and realized that I was still alive. No bones were broken, but my dignity had permanently stained the floor. The Cool Kid Vazquez mentioned a few tips, but I didn’t hear them. The bones in my ears hadn’t fully recovered.
Okay. I might be a little dramatic, but I fell. Off a skateboard. At age 37. Enough said.
I took a sip of Cxffeeblack, aka Liquid Courage, while my hubby tried the same thing. He fell, too.
Then I was back at the top of the ramp. Before I pushed off, I asked my hubby to hold my waist from the back and Cool Kid Vazquez to hold my wrists from the front. I was determined not to fall. So determined, in fact, that I did the only thing I could do in that situation.
I fell. Again. This time, I didn’t meet the floor quite so fast. I was guided down gently. It was then that Cool Kid Vazquez gave me this nugget of knowledge, “If you think you’re going to fall, get closer to the ground.”
After one hour, I was finally able to skateboard, and, yes, I’m using that term loosely. I could coast about 6 to 8 feet before losing momentum. And I’m satisfied with that. After falling, my goal was to never experience that again.
This date night showed me just how versatile Memphis is. Date night with Memphis doesn’t have to be food and movies. It can be drinking good coffee and almost breaking your rear in the process. Memphis is about making memories and having great stories to tell.
This is one for the books.
Now that I’m writing this, I wonder if my hubby knew all along that this place was a skateboarding place and used coffee to lure me in.
Hmm … Gotta love it, mane!
Society Memphis: 901-746-8587, IG: @societymemphis
Patricia Lockhart is a native Memphian who loves to read, write, cook, and eat. @realworkwife @memphisismyboyfriend