I am not graceful. I am not adroit, lithe, or a delicate little flower. I was the child running through the screendoor after smacking her chin on a chair leg while eating paste. I have names for my scars the way that meteorologists have names for hurricanes. Among professions that I now know I should not pursue I can pencil “professional skateboarder” at the bottom of the list.
Why are you writing about this now, you ask. Well, I’ve been freelancing, which means that I get to structure my own procrastination…I mean workday. Inbetween going to the bathroom and getting another cup of coffee I have distracted myself by tooling around on a borrowed skateboard.
Over the past six months I’ve gone from a professional woman who wore blazers and dress shoes to work Monday through Friday to a girl-child who wears message tees, listens to Portishead (again), and seriously contemplates getting a facial piercing daily. My quarter-life crisis feels comfortable, similar to the first swig of a wine cooler or the warm splash of water as I rinse the Manic Panic dye out of my hair. Skateboarding was another tiny baby step back to the glory days, when I would go to the Wetlands in the Lower East Side to see hardcore bands and when saying, “Screw you!” to my mother was audacious.
Now finding a way to ask her to pay for my phone bill without crying is daring.
So I’ve started skateboarding between projects in the Walgreens parking lot. It’s fun. I don’t know what I’m doing. The other day I fell down so hard that my right thigh now looks as though it’s sprouting a mauve and green guava-kiwi hybrid. My elbow actually has a bruise that retained the pattern of the shirt I was wearing. I would go out and skate now but it’s nearly 11PM and I’m afraid that if I get arrested I’d have to pay for my own bail. That ain’t going to happen on a freelancer’s salary.
Skateboarding is a 2.5 billion dollar industry. Think back to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater that you used to play with your high school girlfriend when all you wanted to do was get to second base. Think of Quicksilver and Element, brand names that are practically suburban household staples if there’s a boy between the ages of twelve and seventeen around. Think about all of the sneakers, the clothes, the stickers that your parents told you made you look trashy and homeless. That stuff, that’s lucrative. That’s business. Professional skateboarders are sponsored. Sponsorship means money. Companies like Plan B can pay up to $120K for a ‘boarder. All you need to have seems to be a board and something to sell, which in short can be as simple as a personality and an image, right? Well, I’m a girl. I have tattoos and piercings. I sleep with both genders and listen to bad, aggressive pop music. I swear, once I learn how to skateboard without falling down or looking like I’m about to pee my pants I’m the next Bob Burnquist. Only without all the talent and the famous vert ramp in my yard and the money from Oakley.
So I gave the parking lot a hug. Does that mean that my pro-boarding dreams are dead?
“The most common reason for skateboarding injuries result from hitting an irregularity on the riding surface. Skateboards have much smaller and less compressible wheels than, for example, bicycles and are more easily affected by interruptions in the riding surface, such as sticks, stones and cracks. A study in the Journal of Orthopedic Trauma cited that almost 50% of skateboarding trauma resulted from hitting such surfaces, which is concurred by most other reports in the medical literature.”
Um. Irregularities. Does that include yellow paint?
I suppose I’ll just stick to my day job. Oh yeah, that’s right, I don’t really have one.
(Thankfully this is not the condition of the board I borrowed. At least not yet anyway.)