wasting my life?

just wasting my life

I was on the tail end of a twelve hour shift at the hospital. It was my fourth day in a row. I was mentally and emotionally drained. My scrubs were splashed with blood and the bio-hazard warnings were buzzing faintly in my mind. I paid them little heed. At this point, I was much too exhausted and very close to punching the clock. I was going home. I didn’t want to change clothes. I was to be off for three days. I would rest and skate with Rhino, Preston and Andy.

I had been admitting a 59 year old, obese man with heart problems and renal issues… his heart and kidneys were failing. Not so good. He was pretty demanding and needy. I understood. He was scared. However, I still had a bit of work to accomplish, so I tried to keep him comfortable and deal with the mess of paperwork and doctors orders that routinely go along with an admission to the unit. He was a bank executive, and a pilot in the Air Force, he quickly told me.  He let me know my place in his scheme of things. He questioned my every action. He was a curmudgeon.

I looked at this overweight ill man and wondered how he became this way. After all, I knew how I turned out the way I did. I knew that I was a mess inside. I would go home from work, taking all the pain and suffering with me. I would put Keith Jarretts- ‘Invocations’ on the CD player– open a bottle of Stoli–and drown in a river of my own making. Who could I talk to of my household gods? Rage, alcohol, loneliness and despair. I shook my head sadly. I had a messed up childhood- in some ways -and a huge inferiority complex from it. I guess that I had finally stopped blaming my parents and just tortured myself with my fears. It wasn’t their fault anyway. They did the best they could. Damn! A person could go nuts with such thoughts.

I was out in the hallway, striding toward the supply room when I heard a call, ” I need some help in here!” The voice had that urgency and panic familiar to me. I knew that something was wrong. I rushed back into the patients room and saw my  admission patient turning the wrong color. He was dusky and slipping fast. We all went into our mode. One person checked vitals, one called for more help and the machinery of life-saving quickly fell in order. I performed CPR on the man after he coded. The ‘Code Blue’ team responded with the crash cart and we -collectively- brought the man back from the darkness.

It probably wouldn’t be for long though. He was a physical wreck from years of indulgent living, sumptuous meals and neglecting his health. I pictured his home on a Friday night. The smell of good cigars, rich food, business banter and wine-inspired laughter. The families gold-laced, framed photographs in the hallways, spoke of assured destiny and old money. We brought him back to life again…

After a few weeks, he was stabilized and ready to be discharged. He would need careful monitoring and home health visits. He sent for me and I stopped in his room to see him. He was with his family at this point. He looked different…not so haughty or entitled. He spoke humbly, thanking me for my efforts and for performing CPR on him. His family said much the same to me. My fingers fluttered and I fidgeted nervously. I didn’t like this part of the job. For me, it was easier to coldy zip them into a bag.

I wished him and his family well. I hope that he makes it. I hope he sees his grandchildren grow older. I hope that he’s not such a prick any longer. I drove home in the early morning light. My shift ended at 7:00 am. I was wrung out. On entering my room, I looked longingly at a bottle of Crown Royal on the nightstand. It glittered wetly. My demise. I turned away, showered and went to bed. Pulling the sheets up over my head to block out the morning light, I had one final thought before sleep took me. If I helped to give that man more life,  how can I consider my own life a waste?  Thank you MRZ for the image. Skate-Ozzie

posted 1-2010

Posted in Uncategorized

the long way

Cresting a small hill, we saw it simultaneously. A boarded up 1940’s era motel. The stones rattled against the side of the car as Ray Zimmerman pulled over.  We craned our necks to look…  “Did you see the fence around the place?!” – I asked excitedly. Ray nodded his head, trying to peer through bushes that obscured our view. He looped around and pulled up an access road nearby. Ray switched off the engine & we climbed out. We clearly saw what had caught our eye. The motel squatted there like a malignant thing… it was a blight on the landscape. The roof sagged in places, paint was peeling and the palm trees that stirred in the wind were in dire need of trimming. “Looks like its been closed up for years.” – he mumbled. I ran my eyes over the place. The plywood covering some of the windows was warped & stained. Broken glass glittered. Weeds grew through the paving stones and trash and palm debris was thick under our feet. A rusting chain link fence wrapped itself around a long concrete slab that was raised up about six feet above our point of view. From our vantage point, we could only see the cinder block foundation & the fence enclosure. It was the pool area.

I remember muttering-  “Big old kidney. Big old kidney.” – like a strange mantra, as we made our way up the short hill and level with the pool. On closer inspection, we couldn’t even see the shape of the pool as it was covered –row-on-row– with what appeared to be giant steel girders. They were laying across the entire surface of the pool covering it.  I was over the fence in less time than it takes to tell it. I pulled up on one of the beams. I couldn’t even budge it. They must have weighed a thousand pounds each. There was a small area where I could see a round corner  and some bullnose coping but that was all. “Damn. Someone wanted to definitely keep people out of the pool!” – Ray exclaimed. I told him that I had never seen anything so drastic…  it was bizarre. We utilized his pole cam and Ray took some excellent images and then we continued on the long road to our destination. We were meeting up with Alex Perelson, Josh Stafford and Sam Beckett at a new pool that Riverside Shawn & I had drained the week before.

sweet little amoeba

My pool pal -Lowden- had heard of it from his friend Cody. It was a sweet little amoeba. The transitions were crazy good, the coping was ladyfinger and the neighborhood was pretty relaxed. Riverside Shawn & I had drained it and put a real good pounding onto her…  we were going back this week to see what else might be done. Ray and I decided to take the long way. On the journey, we had found a few pools and now we had spotted the old motel. It is skate missions like these that make me happy. Discovery. Taking the bad & making a good thing out of it. Creation. We meandered through a stark desert valley and cruised our way into a small town. Rusting cars lay abandoned on dried lawns. Old wrinkled men sat idly on porches watching as we drove by. “It’s like time forgot this place …” Ray smiled in response as he drove us toward our destination. Stopping for water, we then went to the pool. Alex and the crew were a few minutes away. Ray took photographs and I cleaned out the leaves and litter.

doppia immersione

Once they arrived, we all quickly became very busy. They were really stoked on the look of the pool. One could easily see the possibilities from a casual glance. The trannies were mellow and the bowl was wide. The only slight imperfection was that the grout in between the slabs of ladyfinger coping had all come out. There were small quarter inch gaps between each coping block… it made for an interesting day.

Brandon Perelson

Brandon Perelson quickly threw himself into high gear and flowed through the pool like he’d been there before. He hadn’t but it didn’t matter. His lines were fast & smooth and we all found ourselves wishing we were him. Brandon would end this pool session with a BS boneless on the hip, FS airs over the diving board and complete deathbox destruction. No joke! Alex Perelson decided that he wanted to do a BS ollie over the diving board. He’s Alex… so he did it. It was amazing and we were all happy like school kids on vacation.

Sam Beckett

me

Josh Stafford rips everywhere he goes. He pulled FS tailslides and FS airs… among other things. Sam Beckett was feeling way more comfortable in this pool session than on his last outing with us. It showed. Sam pulled the deathbox before any of us and his crailslides over the box were amazing. We were all thirsty and we’d been there for quite awhile. It was time to go and we all bid goodbye to the awesome amoeba.

Brandon- FS Invert

Josh- Judo

Alex- buckled in ...

We rolled out and then hit a local favorite for a few more grinds and airs. Josh hurled himself out of the pool with Judo airs, Brandon pulled FS inverts and Alex threw down a seatbelt grab ‘Remy Stratton’ air just to keep it all legit. The sun dropped, it grew cold and everyone was tired but elated with the session. The crew had traveled far and found more than we ever hoped to find. We went the long way…  Thanks to the crew. Thanks to Lowden & Cody for the pool and MRZ for the images. Skate- Ozzie

Posted in Uncategorized

Eddie Elguera – Guest Post

Eddie Elguera - Nude Bowl

Eddie Elguera
“I will never forget the first day I saw the legendary Nude Bowl. Here is my
recollection of our discovery and the first skate session at the historic skate spot
that was originally call “The Colony” named after a Nudist Colony Resort from back
in the 1950’s.”

Invert

“The day I, and my friend Kevin Skibba, who was also a Colton Skate Ranch local,
found out about this pool that was in the desert we had no idea that what we were
about to see would become a piece of skateboard history. A friend of Kevin’s was out
riding motorcycles and happened to see an empty swimming pool. Since he didn’t
skate, he wasn’t sure if the pool was good or not, so he told Kevin that he should
check it out.”

Mute

“After Kevin’s first visit he knew he was going to need more help to clean out the
pool. It had years of trash in it, so he gave me a call and asked me to give him a hand.
When we drove up to the top of that sketchy dirt road we saw an amazing sight! Yes,
the bowl was full of bullet holes, car parts, a palm tree stump, a motorcycle frame
along with the usual parasites, feces and much more, but it was a dream! A skate
oasis in the middle of the desert.”

FS Grind- POWER

“It took us a whole day of cleaning and some of the next day, but when it was all said
and done, the Nude Bowl was about to take it’s place in history. It was a beautiful site! The kidney shaped pool still has the light hole & the death box. I grabbed my board, strapped on my knee pads & began to carve around the bowl.” – Eddie Elguera

early Nude Bowl poster

lapover

Thank you to Eddie Elguera for taking the time & providing images. Thank you also for his wonderful memories of the Nude Bowl. Thanks to Grant Brittain for the opening image. Skate- Ozzie
Posted in Uncategorized

Just another cage

Eddie Reategui - won't be caged in. Tijuana - April 1986

I was people watching today -outside of a church-and caught myself mumbling, drawing a few curious looks from those passing by. People were buttoned up in tinsel & lace. All of it was fine leather & brand name stuff from stores selling the same tired things. As the saying goes—-’The greater the outward show…the greater the inward poverty.’ My usual skepticism … my judgmental mind was at work. Cynical. I am truly cynical. My experience in life has proven to me that most folks are fairly self-centered but -inwardly-pretty nice. My experience has shown me that people blindly follow gods & gurus… seldom asking why they think the way they do.

They sit in church & repeat words like parrots. When questioned they say, “I was raised a Catholic.” or whatever belief they might follow. I feel that it’s a good thing for there to be religious people in the world. My experience tells me that the world could use a few more good spiritual folks around. My experience also showed me the darker aspects of religiosity & its outcomes. I worked as an RN in a major hospital here in southern California for a few years. My study & field of medicine was Oncology. I dealt mainly with cancer & AIDS patients. It was grueling & depressing but meaningful work. It sounds cliche… but I ‘made a difference’ daily.

We had this one young man as a patient. He was a piano prodigy at an early age. He went to Juilliard in NYC & performed all over the U.S. He opened a jazz festival with the wonderfully exquisite, Japanese pianist- Keiko Matsui, in Orange County, which I attended. When he fell ill, his hospital visits quickly became a frequent occurrence. His body & immunity shut down & he rapidly deteriorated. His parents-whom the man desperately longed to see-refused to attend to him at his bedside. They were devout Catholics & couldn’t believe their sons diagnosis of AIDS. Though they -previously- had attended every piano performance & gushed at the ovations their son received, they had nothing but damnation for him now. I wondered if the fathers past was so laudable….hmmm.

When I telephoned the parents to relay the sons plea to see them, the father stated that, “I can’t bring myself to look at him.” He actually had a hospital chaplain pray for his son..”the sodomite.” This is an awful story…but one that truly occurred. I looked on in horror, yet with a strange fascination as well. I am always appalled at the human condition. I have seen hundreds & hundreds of people die…some in my very arms. I must say that I hold no shame in admitting to my tears.

I have watched & waited in those white, sterile rooms, listening to their tortured breathing . I heard the oxygen machines humming, sending greatly needed air to the cancer-ridden lungs sucking feebly at the tubing. I waited & observed. In the hallway, people moved like they lost all hope. I saw the family of one patient across the hall. They were sitting on plastic chairs outside of the room; staring at their shoes. They were as silent as painted people. I turned my attention back to my patients. I medicated those poor doomed souls. My vigil. Time crawled as they prayed. In those dark dawns, I never saw anything that led me to believe that a God or any higher power held sway. It was an exercise in futility. He never came. When I watched children die of Leukemia, it made me think that God was no longer on the job. I closed the unseeing eyes with my fingertips & said a small prayer regardless. I then called the Coroners office. The life with its religious belief seemed like just another cage to me.

You now ask me, “What does this have to do with skateboarding?” Well, it seems to me that its a simple study in the human condition. We can obtain our peace of mind in many ways. We can play piano, worship in churches, raise our children, paint, draw, skate pools or experience the raw essence of life by caring for those close to death. However, anytime we close ourselves to another person & their humanity, we ultimately cage ourselves. Thanks to Jim Goodrich for the image. Go skate…and be kind. – Ozzie

posted– originally–in January 2010

Posted in Uncategorized

I hope I see you on the other side.

Follow no one. Stand for something & don’t be a clone. We currently have a surplus of those. Just amble around town and use your eyes.  Surplus. People walk through life like they are on TV.  Paper-thin personalities. Living a lie. I know. I’ve been there. Everyone is so untrue. If you lie, it will eventually become your truth! Deficit. Anxiety. Defeat. You dug the ditch yourself. You dug it with words as a shovel. Maybe your mouth should be boarded up. People never really say what they mean. Here I sit. On the roof. Dawn. Quiet. Picking myself apart again. As long as I don’t go back to what I was… pointing my all-knowing finger of blame at anyone but myself. The dark hole of self-loathing is a bad place.

I watch the sun come up today alone. The Ridiculous house is empty. Morning light runs down the hillsides. Drinking coffee on the roof, I look over the neighbors fence & think of draining their pool while they are at church. My new neighbor isn’t so nice. I invited his family to the house for the D-Face party & he said something about his kids needing sleep, church and– “too much noise” before closing the door in my face.  People…  Oh-well, he has his view of us fixed in his mind. If I drained his pool & rode it…  it would just make HIM right. I turned & looked the other way. The sun was coming up quickly. Warmth. Life.  A few weeks ago, I found a silver pigeon dead in the street out front. It had a red band on its leg & appeared to be well cared for. It was beautiful actually. Was it a homing pigeon? I removed it from the street & covered it with rocks that night. Up until today, there has been another pigeon that appears every morning & sits on a rock in the front yard. It must be the mate of the dead pigeon. It sits & waits…  cocking its head & cooing. The long wait. Timeless. The great empty void when someone leaves. Always waiting. I wish humans loved like that. It reminds me that we have had quite a few people leaving us these last two years. I think of  Bob Biniak, Baby Paul Cullen, Eric Swenson, Andy Kessler, Chris Cahill & others.  “I hope I see you on the other side.”  We are –collectively–losing greatness. Just thinking…  I’m sitting on the roof & thinking. Thank you to Geoff Graham for the ‘Dead Phone’ image. Skate- Ozzie

Posted in Uncategorized

inspired

Duane Peters, me and Jayboy

Inspired. They inspired me in my youth and continue to do so now. I think that they are two of the most soulful hardcore skaters on the planet. They really don’t care. Never have. I mean, in the larger scope of things I think they care…  but to give a damn about what others think or with regard to bodily injury to themselves? I don’t think that either of them give it a passing thought. I remember my friend Jim Howell helped me paint lines on the bottom of my board when DP’s model came out and we went outside and learned sweepers on my rickety half pipe. We both slammed that day. My friend loaned me his Z-flex board one time back in 1977. I told him over the phone that I had the chicken pox and he shouldn’t come by the house to pick it up. I rode it on my ramp everyday…  for a whole week!  Inspired. Thanks to MRZ for the image. Skate- Ozzie

DP

Jay Adams

Posted in Uncategorized

I am an idiot

going in hot

Fun. I’ve said it before & happily repeat it here- Fun is where you find it. Sometimes you just need to laugh. Too many guys out there take themselves WAY too seriously. It’s funny. We all see the ‘cool guy’ crap that exists…. Delgado said it best : “There is no Man.” Well, just so everyone knows… I’m an idiot. I’m quite proud of it too! Thanks to MRZ for the image. Skate, learn to laugh at yourselves and leave the idiocy to me. I’m a specialist… – Ozzie

Posted in Uncategorized