Alone with everybody.

Escondido reservoir-1977

Withdrawn. Isolative. When I was young, I remained torn between wanting to ‘fit in’ & damning the ‘accepted’ to the seven hills in Hell. Insecurity was a constant shadow & everything & everyone was scary. Few things were certain. However, one thing that always remained constant, in my chaotic teenage nightmare, was my skateboard.

I am not sure if anyone felt the way I did, but growing up was a terrible experience. The things that interested me, were absolutely horrific & unnatural to my peers & the locals around me. Pennsylvania was a place filled with old people & even older ways.  I loved reading books, punk music & skateboarding. In the world around me, you either hunted & killed animals, worshiped in churches regularly or bashed someones brains in, while playing football. I need not explain the serious discrepancies that I saw evident in all that!

You behaved & listened to authority. I was at odds with everything around me. My blood burned & throbbed in my temples. Football , church & hunting!? I wanted to scream my anguish at the gods & make them recognize me again. Church was for giving your soul ‘peace’. I recall liking church. I loved the quiet stillness, but hated the punishment. The only time I felt content & at peace with the world, was when I was rolling on my skateboard.

I rode alone…mostly. I pretended Tony Alva, Jimmy Plummer, Ray Bones Rodriquez & others were there. I played ‘most one-wheelers’ with Jerry Valdez, riding my half-pipe with its cinder block coping. In my mind, I was at ‘Buddha pool’ in the San Fernando valley. I would leave my house in the morning, and push down the  cracked & buckled, asphalt roads. I would push & push between green, eerily -whispering cornfields, stretching out to either side of me.

About four miles away, was a local 7-11 type market. It had an asphalt bank beside its parking lot with a flat top. I would skate over there & do ‘rollouts’ like Rick Blackhart. I would pull ‘berts’ & slides. I was in heaven because – in my mind- I was no longer in Pennsylvania. There was a ditch-like reservoir down the street that Jim Howell & I called the, ‘Beer bottle basin’. We would sweep & ride it until dusk, then I began the long muscle-straining push homeward.

I would get home after dark; exhausted & happy. I had spent the day skating past couples, kids & families. I came into contact with groups of people at the market & elsewhere. Yet, no matter what I did, I felt alone with everybody. That feeling occurs to this day. Some nights, loneliness can cover me like a stifling blanket. On those nights, I put ‘Seven Summer Stories’, ‘Skateboard Madness’, or “Search for Animal Chin’ on the DVD & bring myself back around. Skateboarding can always ‘talk me down’ from my ledge. I only hope that it always will. Thanks to Jim Goodrich for the image. Skate-Ozzie


9 thoughts on “Alone with everybody.

  1. touching, i think that’s why we always loved skateboarding. it never let you down,was always there, and made you feel good about yourself.skatings the best medicine out there .it cures everything
    you rule oz
    keep it up

  2. I’m glad I was generally a weird kid and that skateboarding took such a hold on me. I have life long friends from it. We bonded in our search for places to skate or making our own. I’m even glad the jogging guy kept flipping our little quarter pipe off the sidewalk and finally broke it because I learned to build a better new one.

    Thanks Ozzie for putting those thoughts into my head.

  3. Been there too, Ozzie. Coatesville/Thorndale, PA (’86-’91) for me. Until we built our backwoods, plywood paradise we had a parking lot with a rough, 2’X3′ slanted stone where we did wallrides for hours. Only true “seers” can find use and fun in otherwise inert objects. The hunt for this stuff was as stoking as the sessions that followed–the leanness of terrain made the discovery that much sweeter. We might have been alone with everybody, but I always felt a solidarity with others separated from me by time and location.

  4. You and I formed an eternal bond because of that place. We were outcasts from he start, but when you and I became friends I knew I had a person I could share my torment for life. Here it is some 30 years later and we’re still doing the same thing… Ripping! Thank God for skateboarding, I always do!

  5. we grew up in the same town, just in different parts of the country, i had a concrete tennis court across the street from my house, i learned frontside grinds on the edge of that court, my back truck was worn to the axle on one side and barely ground on the other, i still like to grind the side of a side walk…. reminds me of then

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