clackCLACKclackCLACKclackCLACK. The thing makes a sound like nothing else - heads turn (tourists, likely) at "what is that?" speed. It makes a sound like a bunch of other things - a horse, a train, an assembly line. Contradictory, yes. So are ominous clouds piling up over the ocean, the threat of rain in sunny southern California. So is wearing shorts and a t-shirt in the middle of winter. So is the sight of a 40 year old father of two carving turns on a skateboard, flowing down a sidewalk on a Saturday morning.
I haven't done this in a while. Don't even have the right shoes for it - I'd tossed my old paint-spattered DC's a few weeks ago. The fashionable slip-on Converse All-Stars hurt. My arches feel like they're going to collapse leaving me with flippers instead of feet. My right calf hurts. Apparently there are calf muscles that only come into play when the leg pushes a skateboard. The weird pains of age. I roll past a cop. Is this legal? I didn't see any NO SKATEBOARDING ALLOWED signs. Mirrored sunglasses track me. Is this 1979? I don't get pulled over. Perhaps Skateboarding Is Not A Crime after all. Perhaps we have evolved as a society. Perhaps Leucadia's Finest is merely amused by the sight.
I move quickly enough to feel a thrill, but this is a laconic ride. The board's a longboard, three feet, build for the glide, not the halfpipe. Push, rollllllllllllllllllllll. I have to dismount occasionally - puddles and curbs. I do have a destination - we'd left a car at a party the night before, and rather than load everybody up in the other car, I said "I'll just skate down there, it's not far". Alternate transportation, eco-heart-soul friendly.
I roll south, passing walkers with their dogs, runners heading into the wind. I move past coffee shops and acupuncturists. It's quiet - the lines of cars and the hordes of chattering cyclists have yet to take to the street. I left my watch at home. I might've forgotten it. Time passes on its own terms. I feel confined on the sidewalk and if not for the potholes and the buses I'd slide over into the street and really bomb it, create parabolas like a snowboarder on a pristine mountain. The pain's been overridden. I'm sweating and grinning and talking to myself like I do. Given enough time and road (and decent shoes) I wonder how far I could go. As I get to the car the rain clouds roll in and open up.
That was fun. I need to do it more often.