Yesterday I skated through Shoreditch and revisited the spots I’d come across on that first rainy day I arrived in this city–where I wandered around aimlessly, without coffee. A journey brutally anti-climactic without caffeine or wheels. But anyway I went back because I’ve started skating again–I’m really doing it. I can feel myself honestly progressing again. I haven’t felt progress since maybe the day my old roommate Will Schaffer and I battled-out big spins off some stone wall outside of Boston’s Boylston T-station some years ago. And it feels important, or at least noteworthy, to say that I’ve been getting back on my board alone. I didn’t think I had it in me, but it feels good now; it feels good just to be skating for myself. I’ve been able to tell people what it’s like skating for myself:
Behind some apartment project in Shoreditch, I bummed a lighter off some kid who stood there watching me skate while he ‘waited for a buddy’. He was probably waiting on drugs, but I didn’t inquire nor did I care. At first I didn’t want the second-hand company: he was practically cheering after everything I landed and throbbing with heartfelt disappointment after everything I happened to miss. The session was very average, and the passer-by stayed impressed.
Then he started asking me questions about skateboarding, which naturally got on my nerves, because even I don’t care about how long I’ve been skating, or what my favorite trick is. But then he started asking really good questions; things like: What skateboarding meant to me, why after quitting for some years had I decided to start back up, did it mean anything to me that it reminded him of surfing, and if I had to put it into words, Why Was It That He Admired Skateboarders So Much For What They Were Doing? I answered these questions as best I could because I honestly thought he deserved thought-out answers. But in regards to his last one I told him all people should have something going for them that they’ve worked towards–people willingly or unwillingly pick up on such a trait. It’s respectable. That resonated in him. I told him skills like skateboarding bring people together who otherwise have nothing in common, that ego takes a back seat to ability. I thought I might just get a head nod, but instead he proceeded to tell me that he Liked To Smoke Pot But Now Felt Like Getting Good At Something He Might Have To Work Towards, Like Skateboarding, Also. I chuckled and told him not to hesitate trying his hand at it and let him stand on my board for a minute.
I don’t know–these are the types of corny, imaginary conversations I have with people in my head all the time; so it felt good to actually have one of them. It felt good to talk out loud like that–to remind myself why I’d picked the damn thing back up anyway.