November 14, 2000. I locked the gates outside of the Mission Valley Skate Park. The air was cold and traffic blew by on the 8 freeway just above me. The skate park was located near Quaalcom stadium in a dirt and asphalt lot. It was just as well. Skateboarders like to be left alone. I took a quick peek at the sky. The sun was leaving us as I climbed into my station wagon and headed into Ocean Beach (O.B.) . Sunset Cliffs boulevard was teeming with traffic. Hippies, beach bums, long boarders, surfers and pot heads milled about on the sidewalks. Recently, I had seen some healthy looking 20 year olds bumming for change off of Newport Avenue. I laughed to myself as I remembered a saying that Rhino told me- “Take the ‘J’ out of ‘Job’ and what do you get? – O.B.” It sure seemed true! Kaiserhof is located on Sunset Cliffs boulevard & I was trying to get there. It is a German restaurant and beer garden. It is only blocks from home and I enjoy going there after work and getting hammered.
I park and venture inside. I feel like ‘Norm’ on the TV show Cheers. You know you drink too much when you walk into a bar on a Tuesday night in November & can name the first 10 people you see. Anyway, I order some Spaten, a bowl of goulash and take a seat. I pull out my journal & start writing for the day. Ximena- one of the pretty servers- studiously ignores the ‘come-ons’ of several men drinking nearby. These guys are stuffing themselves with free happy hour wings and –of all things–Coors. Bulging bellies and little between the ears. I don’t blame her. I dig into my backpack, remove a few Percocet and turn back to my journal. To my thinking, Spaten & Percocet are truly Gods way of telling me that life will be okay….
I look through a few photographs from a past pool mission. It was out in Riverside at the Convict pool. The day was December 26th, 1998. Texas Dan, GT, Rhino, Roche, Andy Mac, Preston and myself were all there. It was amazing. I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket & called Texas Dan. He didn’t have to work the next day and we spoke about going on a grid search of Palm Springs. I phoned my sidekick at the Mission Valley Skate Park- Anthony Malta. He agreed to work for me the next day. I phoned Texas Dan again and the plans were set. I finished my brew, ate and headed home in a lush narcotic haze.
The next morning, I stopped by and retrieved Texas Dan. He rode for the company 151 at the time and I recall so many guys riding 151 boards, wheels and wearing their shirts back then. We drove all day, searched the grid and listened to – In Flames. We found and skated pools. It was epic. During our adventure, we found Elvis Presley’s Palm Springs house. There was nobody around. I looked in a window after casually checking the pool. There was old shag carpet and it looked like a time capsule from a bygone era. I took a leak on the side of his house. I’m pretty sure people won’t like that too much but it struck me as funny. While I was pissing, I hummed “Cold Kentucky Rain….” It had been a long day of searching and skating so after a quick meal, we headed home.
Texas Dan and I had made it back to San Diego that evening. Over the ensuing years, I lost track of him. It is that way for all of us…. life moves on. People come into and out of our lives quickly. The urgency of feeding children, paying rent and pleasing our lady friends takes precedence. One day, we realize that we haven’t spoken with or seen someone for months on end… life on life’s terms. Fast forward a decade. Texas Dan hit me up out of the clear blue. He heard I was living at Ridiculous and he drove out. We skated a few good pools and it was great to see him again.
Recently, I met up with Texas Dan again. This time he brought Mike and GT. I hadn’t seen GT since that Convict session all those years before! We laughed, picked on each other and got some grinds. Skateboarding is like that. Years can get behind us, yet we still have this common bond that transcends all family, occupations and social status. With non-skating acquaintances, it can be strange to see each other again. People move on. Folks yearn and strive for societal respectability. There is no awkwardness after not seeing these guys for a long time. We get together and the fun and session flows. We are skateboarders… and we always will be. Thanks to Brandon Wong for the use of his camera. Skate- Ozzie