Still Pretty Excited
I’m not bragging — at least I’m trying not to — but there’s something I wanted to tell you. I’m pretty excited.
I went and skated a mini ramp last night and learned a new trick.
I know. I tried to play it off. No biggy. Lots of people learn new tricks. Plus, it was on some stunted version of ramp, not on the tippy top of a modern-day vertical arc, not eight blocks long across the gnarled lip of some backyard pool, and certainly not down some intimidating twelve-stair rail or hubba.
So, really, not a huge deal.
It took me forever, too. Just last night alone, I must have gotten into twenty-five or thirty of them before I rolled down the transition victorious. But, at this particular spot alone, I’ve been trying those damn things for about three years and it’s never felt right, not to mention all the other spots I’ve tried to get into the awkward/beautiful position, gotten close, but never, ever received the proverbial cigar.
Anyway, like I said, I’m not bragging, but it was hard not to crack a smile when I finally made it. And it wasn’t the actual make that had me so stoked to the max, dude! It was almost everything leading up to that split second. Of course, there were all the years of giving up, and temper tantrums, and focused boards — even the days of just thinking about skateboarding, days spent nursing hurt knees, days of walking around, days of doing other things. But there was something different yesterday, or last night, rather. It wasn’t confidence, either, ’cause I felt pretty shitty when I first started rolling around. My shoes felt thick, my griptape felt slippery, my wheels felt slow. This is usually my cue that a hefty slam is in my immediate future.
But that feeling came and went, and something else popped into my head. Nothing concrete, mind you, more of a passing thought, a whim. “Why don’t you kinda try to do it this way?” it whispered. And I didn’t answer or think or pay attention; instead, I just barely listened.
It was that first stab that seriously felt different, and truthfully almost better than anything before or after it. I rode, un-weighted with a little scoop, pressed forward, and at the same time held my rear foot just so, fully expecting to stick, hang up, and tumble onto my back, but that didn’t happen. Instead, my rail touched, I locked in, and I actually grinded for a while. Or would you prefer, “ground?” Either way, I could feel my truck frictioning across the coping, I could feel my wheels rolling, I could see where my feet were on my board, I could even see the people I was skating with, their shoes, their boards.
It was strange, but good — so strange and so good that I jumped off. I ran away.
“Whoa,” I said, wondering what had just happened.
“Woah,” my friend said it, too.
“Yeah, that was weird,” I told him.
I felt a little insane for a second. I got paranoid. Why did that just happen? It felt like a perfect moment, the kind that stoney, self-realized people talk about, but I had no idea how it came to be. It seemed like I had nothing to do with it, and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to do it again.
So, as not to jinx anything, whatever the hell it was, I tried to play it off. “I’m not excited. I’m not surprised. I’m so indifferent, it hurts.” But as soon as humanly possible, I tried to replicate exactly what had happened — I dropped in exactly where I had before, I tried to take the exact same line, I imagined my heart beating the exact same amount of beats it had previously, and most importantly, I didn’t think.
Oddly, the whim came back. “Kinda this way,” it said, letting me in on the secret vision a little more. I kind of slashed, locked in again, and was able to feel the angle of my body, the bend of my back foot, the swing of my arms, and most importantly, I grinded in the Smith position even longer than last time.
I almost started laughing.
I jumped off that one, the next twenty or so, too. But something had changed. I knew I was there. It was only a matter of minutes before I made one, then two, then five.
The feeling or vision or whatever the hell it was, carried over to other things, too. After an hour or so, I saw a friend trying no-complies over behind the mini, a trick I’d always fumbled with, and for some reason I knew I could do them now. Then I went over and did them. Simple, right?
Yes, exactly. Simple.
Even today, after five or six hours of shut eye, after coffee, and showering, and teeth brushing, and scrambling around the start of yet another day, I can still feel it.
This is nothing new, no great revelation, but there really is something I gotta tell you: riding a skateboard feels good. I can’t attach a number to it, I can’t even begin to do it justice with verbose descriptors, but I can tell you. And oddly enough, just telling you somehow makes it comprehensible (though still illogical), legitimizes my awkward glee, and lets me feel like I’ve defined it without actually nailing anything down. Telling you about it makes it seem less like an un-rememberable dream and more like something shared, something in common, something mutual, but at the same time, secret and unknowable.
Anyway, I just had to tell you that.
Still pretty excited.