Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How Skateboarding Almost got Ruined by Perverts

I want to get a skateboard. Actually, I want to get a longboard. There are several places within a mile of my house, that I like to frequent. Walking there is fine, I do it often, but I also get bored pretty fast. Biking there is easy, though short, and sometimes not worth the effort (...where did I put my lock, where is my helmet, the front tire might have a leak, etc). Driving seems like a waste of time, especially as it getting cooler, and my car wouldn't even have enough time to get warm. I can run to all of these (elusive-unnamed) places, but arriving sweaty and out of breath is not always my first choice.

My solution to all of this is to get a longboard, obviously. Of course, a longboard will only be able to be ridden for half of the year or less. It doesn't work so well in snow and ice, nor does riding in the rain leave one with a flattering look and windblown locks.

Upon doing a google search of longboards, I found hundreds of different options, varying in style/price/materials. So what do I choose? I have no idea. Part of me also wonders if buying a longboard is worth it. Maybe I should get a regular skateboard, so I have a little more flexibility in its use (in case I decide to practice and compete in X-Games). Yeah right. Anyhow, my point is, I have no idea what I want.

I was at my moms the other day, and there were a bunch of kids in the neighborhood on their boards. During the summer, I swear that is all they do. I miss those days, granted I wasn't on a skateboard when I was a kid. I was usually off scrapping with the boys, or pissing off the tennis snobs by playing roller hockey on the courts. Anyhow, it occurred to me, that the best way to find out what kind of skateboard I want is not to read countless reviews online, but to just go out and find people who will let me try out theirs.

So here is the problem. As kids, we were told not to talk to strangers... cuz for every X amount of awesome and well intentioned people, there is gonna be some perverted d-bag who is going to kill you, kidnap you, cop a feel on you, or all of the above. Every now and then, while reading the paper, I see a brief that says "Dude in car lurking around bus stops, asked girl for directions, girl ran away screaming". And that's legit. She should have, cuz that is what she was taught.

So my issue is that I don't want to be "that dude", which clearly I cannot be for the obvious reason (I am not a dude). But you get what I mean. As well intentioned as I am, and as honest and as gentle of a person as I am... it really doesn't matter when it comes to talking to kids. I mean yeah, I still talk to kids, and wave to them when I run by them during my training, and smile at them when I see them, or make funny faces at them while waiting in line at the store or out to eat.... but you never can know for sure when the kid will read into it the wrong way, or the parent will get pissed off at you, or any other number of things that might go wrong.

There are kids in my neighborhood that I don't know. I haven't introduced myself to them, yet. I will, and I think the best time to do that is when the parents are around. I have this image in my head, of me talking to some neighborhood kid, and a "concerned parent" seeing me out of their window across the street and becoming fearful.

It's fucked up that we live in a world that kids and parents (and humans in general) are taught to fear "strangers". People who are "different" than us, older or younger, darker or lighter, from nearby or across the pond... we've been blasted with messages of "stranger/danger", which yes, is true, sometimes... but what about the other times? What about the fun, genuine people, like me, who just want to try out your skateboard so I can decide 1. if I want a shortboard or a longboard. 2- if I can do a kick-flip.

I probably will hit up one of the neighborhood kids about their skateboard. Forget the culture of fear and perverts. I want to be real in my exchanges and interactions with people in my community, so I will.

As I reread this blog, I see how it sounds like I am afraid to just be me and afraid to talk to the kids in the neighborhood. That's not the case. I'm just disappointed that it's even an issue, that there are people in this world who are so messed up in the head, that they would take advantage of young minds and bodies. They ruin it for everyone.

I'm having a hard time articulating myself in this post, which is weird, cuz I love kids and I love to write. I'm not sure what the problem is, but I'm taking it as a sign to end this entry. I'll let you know when I get a skateboard. Until then...


jen said...

I really love this entry. It's funny, thoughtful, and engaging. I read it (the whole long thing) and I can't concentrate on anything lately:)

Anonymous said...

ASHA! I have 2 a longboard OR a regular skateboard for You!! 2 long boards to choose from actually... You may need to buy new bearings tho, I haven't used any of them in a long while... HIT ME UP and we'll see if You want one of em!


asha shoffner said...

Andy! This is great news. I still am gonna meet the kids in my neighborhood (and by my moms) but perhaps this time it will be as I roll by them on your longboard. Ha!

I should write a blog more often.... Problems get solved so fast that way. I'm blessed to have awesome people in my life. I'll holla tomorrow about using a board. Thanks again!