Timbre #54: Disconnect

“You have been disconnected.”

My computer benignly relays this message to me. It’s from my modem, to whom I am not speaking.

“This is very true,” I think. And even though I consider offering the modem a compliment, explaining that I’m impressed by its amazing observation, I think better of the urge to flatter and just keep it to myself. I know that later the thing will clock out at the most inopportune moment—leaving me hanging and even more disconnected than it brilliantly celebrated minutes ago.

Alex Olson forgoes ambivalence and instead jumps the fence. Photo: Ben Colen

Instead I offer a mumbled, “I know,” and continue striking keys.

Then my phone rings and scares the shit out of me.

Now would be the perfect time to write about how—after being frightened out of my wits—I awoke from my trance, grabbed my board, and pushed off into the sunset to learn 360 flips. Also, a perfect place to sappily state that we’re all connected through the spirit of skateboarding and there’s no need to feel down … young man, pick yourself off the ground, and all that.

Sebo Walker switch ’canes over at Chauncey Gardner’s. Photo: Ben Colen

Luckily, nothing’s that perfect.

Being a human, you know this truth to be self-evident. But as a skateboarder, you’re reminded of it more than the rest of the fools out there. You’ve chosen a life that revolves around flaws and defects. There’s never enough time or the right time or the right places to skate. The skateboarding reservations quaintly labeled “skateparks” are nothing more than the by-product of flawed manifest destiny. Hell, just the act of skateboarding is an exercise in imperfection—a heel hanging off here, a toe dragging there, the scuff of knuckles on a squated-out landing. So where does luck come into it?

Disconnection is your luck.

Without the space, the gaps, the gaping holes that our worked world tirelessly lays down before us, we wouldn’t push as hard. If the shop owners allowed you to skate their steps on the weekdays, you wouldn’t want it so much on the weekends. If the weather outside wasn’t frightful, summer wouldn’t be so fricking delightful. Without the part-time, full-time, all-the-damn-time drudgery of your chosen occupation, the obvious and laborious disconnection from skating would become just obvious. And we’ve got enough obvious.

Brice Niebuhr liens into his work-away-from-work at Marginal Way. Photo: Anthony Acosta

That said, it’s time for this said: the resistance that every other thing in the universe contributes to keep you off your skateboard—to disconnect YOU from YOURS—is what really makes you the few and the proud. Pulled plugs, the immovable object, hump day, and life expectancy are really all just fortunate opposition to roll with, light with, and smoke with—reminding you to go back and get what needs to be got.

Lance Mountain knows that however bad things seem, they can always get more badder-er. Photo: Brian Gaberman

Next time you feel all is right with the world, realize that the fleeting moment was made possible because things have sucked, things could have been better, or things couldn’t have been worse. Whatever the case, eventually things will be back to normal and you’ll be clawing and scratching and gouging again, just like you always do.

I’d rather be back D. Brent Atchley’s wish is also his command. Photo: Brian Gaberman

Then when someone or something slaps you with the observation that you are not doing what you’d rather be doing, your other car isn’t a Rolls Royce, or some other form of license-plate-frame brilliance, you can shrug it off knowing that your disconnection isn’t fuel for your fire, but rather for your inferno.

Here’s to the disconnected.

Stay hot.