I was scrambling all day today. I had to go to court & pay late fees on a cell phone/driving ticket. My car registration is due at months end so….a visit to the DMV followed & the day just seemed to get dirtier from the ‘go’. Parking the ‘shitbox’, I walked the 6 blocks over to the courthouse. I passed brightly -clad office girls enroute, all gossiping among themselves or mumbling into the ever-present cell phones, that -seemingly -sprout from peoples heads these days. I cut across a greasy street and through a small alleyway. The alley was dark and gloomy. Dumpsters sat askew against brick & mortar buildings; festering with trash & god -knows what else. Refuse littered the ground in heaps and nauseous puddles had to be avoided at every step of the way.
Turning a corner, I almost ran into him. He was probably 50 years old, but looked much older. He looked like 70 miles of badly traveled road. He reeked of piss & shit. I side-stepped him and slowed down. He was mumbling to himself or so it seemed. The ragged man was wearing threadbare, blue sweatpants , a red t-shirt that had a huge green palm tree on front with the happy moniker–‘Beverly Hills 90210’. This guy was a long way from being Beverly Hills material. I almost smiled in spite of myself. His shoes resembled clogs of some sort until I noticed that they were sneakers worn through at the tops. He had a grizzled face & vacant eyes. Always keeping myself out of reach, I asked him if he was alright. He peered at me briefly and told me , quote; “Fuck yourself, Batman!” I laughed ….watching him shamble down the alley.
I then continued on my way to the courthouse. I must have passed a dozen such people on the way. Scarred, scabbed and downtrodden. I saw piss-stained, dirt corners behind shrubs where they slept in huddled piles. I saw discarded cheap vodka bottles strewn about and tattered clothing in filthy heaps. Graffiti spelled out ‘E Narko Koiks’ on the walls adjacent…it meant only sadness to me. The broken are in the gutters, alleys and -I noticed-the courthouses of our cities. I looked on as people were shackled by the police and led away to whatever fate had in store for them. I gazed on children, snot- nosed and disheveled, clinging to their mothers as the mom desperately tried to find a haven from a tyrannical, wife-beating spouse.
I witnessed horror and broken humanity. Once I had finished with my business, I left and drove to ‘Ridiculous’. I felt like I needed a shower. It seemed as though I had rolled around in shards of glass. Driving in silence, I pondered my day; watching the world & its human depravity. I am thankful that I have skateboarding. It has truly saved me from -not only-myself…but it saved me from being one of the broken— forever. Thank you to Dan Bourqui & MRZ for the images…I am truly grateful. Skate Long-Ozzie