It won’t save your life.

San-Bernardino-Mountains

We are draining. Life is… There is a shadow on the pale sun. The distant mountains crouch on the horizon like a malevolent thing. Snow and ice. Morning.  If I keep on my current trajectory, I am not likely to turn to stone again. I look around as we drive. All life moves at hyper-velocity. Concrete, chrome and glass. Fragmented and returnable. The radio cracks and cackles. Voices excitedly tell me of all the fun I could be having in a new automobile. “The relentless pursuit of perfection.”  Another voice: “New digital navigation and on board cameras. Wouldn’t you be better off in one of these?”   Silence meets the question. Such thinking defies polite response. My friends and I are like-minded. We are living life viscerally. The rest of the world seems wired and catalogued… numbered. Visually. That’s how they find their fun… More’s the pity. Technology enslaves. I suppose we all fall sometimes. I myself am a victim of the Pentium Prison System.

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Welcome to the real world.  Side street. Decaying neighborhood. Boarded up life…Ripperside Shawn and I speak quietly in the morning light. “I’ll stay put and wait. The neighbor over there is watching…” Shawn let the sentence hang as I peered across the street. Shadow in a window. Furtive looks. Fear. I took photographs of the house like a prospective buyer. “Play the game boy…” Appearances are everything. Fit in. Taking a quick look around, I pulled myself over a wall and am in the backyard in seconds. Amoeba pool. Dark water. Shallow end cancer holes. I was back over the wall and putting the truck in gear in seconds… “Junk.” Shawn shook his head as he scanned the nearby homes. We stopped at a favorite and drained the water. Some friends would be joining us later. “Did you ever notice how nothing compares to pool skating?” I asked. Shawn answered that finding and draining a new pool to skate in could very well be the best thing in life. I looked over at him as I rolled up the pool hose and picked up the buckets. He was eyeing up the transitions and peering up at the deathbox. He seemed in a trance. I understood. Explaining the unexplainable.

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We left and drove past a pool or two that we knew of. We monitor properties. If a house has a good pool that we’ve ridden before, we take a watchful approach. The long game. We can wait…  Shawn and I get into a pool we both love. It is filled with black water and refuse. It smells. We are draining. Waiting and watching, I think of life. All troubles have melted away. No drug ever worked as well as skateboarding does. I may not be able to do lipslides and crazy tricks in a pool, but I can do what I do and its enough. We are meant to live life, not simply exist. I sit on the stairs and stare. The pump rumbles and the black water gurgles…

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unnamed-16The phone vibrates and pulls me from my reverie. “We are here…” Arto tells me. Shawn and I gather our things and load the truck. We drive a few streets over and see Lance Mountain sitting in his truck smiling. The rest of the crew are there as well and the skateboarding commenced. Viscerally.

Robbie O'Connell

Robbie O’Connell

Arto Saari

Arto Saari

 

Pat Rat, Me, Robbie, Ripperside Shawn and Lance Mountain

Pat Rat, Me, Robbie, Ripperside Shawn and Lance Mountain

Lance Mountain

Lance Mountain

Lines were drawn and things were done. Fun was ubiquitous. I drove away in the twilight and recalled something that someone had said to me years ago. I was in my late twenties and a police officer was in the process of kicking me out of a schoolyard where I had been riding an asphalt bank. He said, “You might want to grow up and put that thing in the garage.” I proceeded to tell him that skateboarding had saved me. To him, it was a dubious statement. “Skateboarding didn’t save you from me.” He pointed to the exit gate and sent me on my way. I realized that he was wrong, but even if skateboarding didn’t save me, it sure made life worth living. Thank you to Arto Saari for the images. Skate- Ozzie

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