Yes. Yes, I do skateboard. What?
If there is one area of my life that consistently evokes double-takes from strangers and friends alike, it is definitely my affinity for skateboarding. I suppose it is a logical response, given that I completely lack an edgy personality, youthfulness, manhood, and basic coordination, all of which seem to be highly correlated with standing on a moving wooden oblong with wheels on it. But alas, my love of things with wheels supersedes my fear of death and/or being a public spectacle, and so every so often you will find me merrily cruising along the Hudson river on my Earthwing longboard, trailed by the stares of strangers and the confused howling of dogs. (Dogs, for some reason, seem to be universally freaked out by humans on skateboards. Something about it blows their furry little minds, and they, without fail, snap into an angry + noisy chase as soon as they see me. I have not yet been caught, but I have almost died of surprise several times.)
Due to the aforementioned lack of friendship between my brain and limbs, I can’t do any of the cool things you think of when you picture skateboarding—there are definitely no wheelies, ollies, or kickflips going on here—but I can maneuver the thing over some distance and around curves on relatively flat surfaces without incurring significant hospital bills. I initially learned in college from my awesome boarding-friend Janelle, but I didn’t get good (I use that term loosely) until I moved to NYC and my bike got stolen. I needed something to get me out of the tiny, dark, mushroom-infested box I was living in at the time, and my adventures, filled with a lot of falling and then furiously chasing my board so it wouldn’t roll off the ledge and into the river, provided me with a hobby that I still enjoy quite a bit.
This originally appeared as a post for The Wheelhouse Review