Design, build, and use. Lance Mountain has expertly carved out his share of parks, pools, and otherwise. Photo: Arto Saari

Timbre #44

Expertly Speaking

The other day, I reluctantly found myself telling a local city worker that I was an expert in skateboarding.

Then he looked over at his fellow city workers and rolled his eyes.

Great, right?

Listen … my problem with this type of shit has nothing to do with these self-distinguished gentlemen, or their rolling eyes, or their insistence that our city’s skateparks be above ground, prefabricated, purchased from playground equipment companies, and have nothing to do with helping to make skateboarding today better than it was yesterday.
 
Nope, that’s not my problem with that type of shit.

My problem is that I can’t handle it — not one tiny bit.

Instead of meeting these people, finding their silvery linings, and celebrating the tedious power struggles that comprise their working lives, I find myself wanting to do a couple things: Yell at the top of my lungs, “You are the biggest bunch of discourteous, maladjusted, power-hungry, micromanaging bastards I’ve ever met.” And then stick my finger down my throat and projectile vomit all over their shiny shoes. Or turn around and run away from them as fast as my legs will carry me.

But even with all my fantastic wants, I still can’t produce the balls to pull off either of those maneuvers.

So I guess I’m a little, groveling child of a man. A wittle baby. Waaaaaaaaa.

And as childishly repulsed as I am by the very thought of communicating on any level with these douche bags, I’ve still been talking to them, enlisting the help of others, presenting a levelheaded front, and trying to work within their uncomfortable, alien world.

It sucks so bad.

But all I want to do is skate something that isn’t so incredibly terrible that when I go to ride it, I want to kill myself.

Is that too dramatic?

Well, there’s no way it’s more dramatic than me claiming to be an expert in skateboarding. It made me want to kick my own ass. And then to proclaim that pompous claim to someone who couldn’t care less about skateboarding, or the multimillions who do it every day, or the estimated ten percent of our local population who identify themselves as skateboarders — that’s about as dramatic as I go.

I still have to do it, though. It’s like junkies who hate their heroin.

As luck would have it, it appears that a big reason I have to deal with these official people and their official ways is precisely because of my discourteousness, my maladjustments, and my power hunger. This compulsive behavior comes from my belief in something that has never asked me to pretend to be what I’m not, never made me jump through gigantic hoops wrapped in red tape, never gave me answers just because it’s what I wanted to hear. And because skateboarding has never asked me to do those things — and saved me from many others — I have to be that guy. Yeah. I’m the asshole who patiently explains that a quarterpipe that sends you into ten-foot-high chain link fence is a bad idea, that heaved-up concrete and quarter-inch-high cracks are not suitable for anything that 52mm wheels will be rolling on, and that one more better-than-nothing-option for our city’s skaters (delivering the message that a kid’s expert-in-skateboarding advice is and always will be trumped by a municipal employee who will never have to skate the park that he bought from a catalog) is not going to be met with thank yous and handshakes. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever.

So, yeah. That’s me. Your local expert in skateboarding. The guy who will never roll his eyes at your drinking fountains, your picnic shelters, or the bargain-basement swings with seatbelts that you proudly procure from contracted playground equipment companies. I love that stuff as much as the rest of the world loves the Country Music Television.

But even so, I ain’t going anywhere, buddy. And neither are the rest of the skaters. We can’t handle anything else.

This is skateboarding … we’ve had the richest of the rich, the most corporate CEOs, and the most powerful leaders of nations roll their eyes at us.

You think we’re going to take that type of shit from just anyone?