Let’s get this out there on the table right away: I’m going to be 40 in August. As in years old.
When I was in my twenties, I didn’t think I’d live to see 40, and didn’t much give a fuck, to be honest. But I managed to survive my twenties, and my thirties, and so here it comes. I’ve been making lists of things I’d like to do before this happens. A few of them are coming to fruition. I’ll have three degrees. I’ll have a grown up sort of job. I’ve got a small press that’s making interesting things happen. But one thing that was looking like it might be left undone was learning to skateboard.
Now, this might not seem like a momentous thing. I mean, honestly, skateboarding? Really? But it had begun to loom large for me as a thing I’d missed out on from my countercultural youth. I’ve had every color hair in the rainbow, pierced every bit I wanted to put metal through, and done a mess of other radical stuff but had never managed to learn to skateboard. I was a clumsy kid (am a clumsy adult) and have never managed to be the sort of fearless that skateboarding required. I dated a couple of skaters when I was younger and was always in awe of their disregard for their own bodies (and yet how at home in their bodies they managed to be).
So, lately I’d been whinging a little about this as an unmet goal, and my intrepid friend Becky decided she’d be my partner in crime on this, as with so many other, adventures. So after a lovely brunch, we ran off to The Denver Shop to check things out. Initially this was just a pricing mission, but we found Tony and the assorted boys loitering about the shop to be so genial, helpful, and enthusiastic about our project that we decided to jump in and do it.
Here’s my board:
It’s got a twee little bird with an umbrella on it. How perfect.
I managed to bang myself up a little, which is a good thing. Nothing like a bloody knee to make you feel alive. I’m not, for all my ability to take large scale risks with my life and future, a fearless person. I’m glad I fell right away and then got back on the board. It was a test of sorts. I think I passed.
I was getting pretty comfortable balancing on it by the end of the afternoon. Becky, of course, took to it instantly and was zipping along (comparatively speaking). For which I hate her a little. But only a little. (BTW: here’s Becky’s side of the story at her blog.)
One thing I did learn, is that one should not wear progressive bifocals while skateboarding. The impulse to look through the reading part of the lens is dangerous – your vision gets all swimmy and the risk of falling over (already more than adequately high) increases exponentially. Thank goodness I had single vision Rx sunglasses in my car!
So, I’ve embarked, however tentatively, on crossing this goal off my list. Maybe by August I’ll be able to mozie along in a relatively straight line down the sidewalk. Turning corners, that may have to wait a bit. Wish me luck!