I haven’t skated in over a week.
It was last Saturday, and I’m feeling weird about the “time off,” almost guilty. Isn’t that stupid, stupid?
A few days before that Saturday, I hit my knee, innocently enough, with a comical fall, rubbed it through my scuffed trousers (steady on, mate), and kept going. It got dark and I fell on it again, caught between not caring and fucking around.
Not my actual knees.
Woke up with an ache that only presented itself when provoked, and when the opportunity introduced itself again, of course I skated. Friends made me do it. And at the end of the assembly, feebling forward and looking up to see what might be coming at me via some snake session madness, I stuttered and fell to the bruised area again, this time adding a pocket rivet hipper to the gumbo. “I carry no coal, no gold nuggets, so why the rivets?” I telepath to the skate denim designer. She doesn’t answer—too busy getting married to someone who says he doesn’t skate anymore.
Panning for pain.
The build-up was steady enough, though, and I blindly followed it through to the next 24-hour interval with enthusiastic denial. Walking, sitting, and breathing don’t hurt. Why would shred sledding? And in a moment of avoidance, I compensate for the sore knee, the sore hip, and take a shoulder shot that apparently also knocked my elbow through my ribs. My retaliation? A training table recovery workout of pale ale and shit talking. The exercise regimen of true winners.
Two achy days down the line, with veins full of anti-inflammatory and muscles adequately comforted through chemically better living, I jump into an innocent backyard session. Of course the disturbing trend continues with a third bonk to the joint in five days. Not one who settles for the status quo, I carefully apply some junior high addition to the mess and insult my injured persona by ripping out the crotch of my pants.
By day six, I was just going through the motions. “Skate? Sure. Where?”
An hour later it was like, “Ouch? Sure. Where?”
So, it’s been a week.
A completely civilian week. I’ve had conversations with people about the weather. I’ve sat in a desk chair for a total of 53 hours. Grocery listing. Bill avoiding. Call answering.
Yes, of course I’m pleased to meet you.
What? The scab on my knee?
Oh, yeah, my elbow, too.
Yes, I’m still riding that thing.
I don’t know what to tell you about why I don’t wear pads.
Yeah, there are a lot of spots around here.
What? Oh, a spot. Like a place to skate.
And so it goes. Even in exile, skateboarding gets what it’s due. Vibes me. Brings me out. Makes me explain myself. Justify my thug.
So I’m looking at my board right now, and I hate it. I think it’s the wheels. My shoes suck, too. The doorway checks me on my way through and my head of femur throbs.
But here I go. Weeeee! Out the door, dropping appointments, skipping beats, shirking obligation. It’s a habit that’s taken a long time to get bad at, and I’d rather fight than switch.
The whole stigmatism of skateboarding’s stigmata. Photo: Jake Mein
When the blows come, though, I pray they miss the knee, hip, ribs, shoulder, and palms. Those are spoken for by my passive-aggressive friend who I haven’t seen in a week.
He just called and needs a moment of my time.