Atta Ikede

March 19, 2008

The skateboard

Filed under: Uncategorized — attaikede @ 1:38 pm

I bought a skateboard and injured myself on it yesterday. Exciting, but painful.

I’ve got one of those hot/cold patches on my leg now, feeling major deja vu to last year when I hurt my knee. The menthol fumes from that thing are making me feel strange. I wish I could call Sylvia and complain, so that she’d offer to make me tea, and then remind me (with possibly more than a little smugness) that I am now the complainer. hehehe. Classic! Unfortunately it’s after midnight over there, so I’m more likely to be on the receiving end of complaints if I call her now. Hmm .. I’ll just save them up for tomorrow instead!!

I’ve been scared to go snowboarding since I hurt myself last year. I thought about it a few times this winter, but I kept feeling nervous about it. Maybe the fact that I’d been living like a corpse/hermit since September had something to do with it .. I dunno. Anyway, all that weird stuff is over with now and I’ve been back to my normal self – a normal self who is highly susceptible to fads and obsessions!

Skateboarding is fairly common here in San Fran. Definitely part of the urban environment here. The only skateboarders I ever saw in Toronto were teenaged boys. In San Francisco, I’ve seen a variety of women, men, children, homeless type people, non-homeless type people, nerdy people, grubby people, etc. happily going about  on skateboards, riding with varying degrees of skill.

The person who inspired me to go and buy a skateboard was a slightly overweight, not young not old woman who was barely in control of her board! I wait for the subway every morning at a corner where two subway lines cross before they go into the underground to go downtown.  I don’t know if I mentioned that already. If there’s no train visible, the other riders and I just hang around the corner to see which of the two trains gets there first and then go to the appropriate stop once we see one coming.

[Side Note — aren’t the words stop and spot really interesting? I thought about this because i mistyped stop in the paragraph above as spot when I first typed that sentence. I went back and corrected it, because I meant to say stop as in train stop, but realized that it makes sense as stop or spot! A stop can be a spot, and a spot can be a stop!]

Anyway, so I was waiting for a train at the corner last week, and saw that girl I mentioned earlier go by on her skateboard. Her arms were waving all over the place, and she just looked like she was going to wipe out at any minute! I watched, with mounting amazement, as she managed to get all the way down the street, manoevring around the crates of oranges for sale in front of the little grocery stores, a few pedestrians, and more than a couple of curbs! She made it all the way to Market Street (a very busy street. Like Yonge Street) and jumped off her board there because it was a red light! Wow! It was a clean ride. Borderline, but clean. I was sooo tantalized!

After that I kept noticing skateboarders, and boarders, and started googling for stores and tips.  Luckily there are a few stores near where I live so I went to check one out. That one was closed so I used my trusty iphone to google for another store. I found one, and DLX was open. DLX store only sells custom skateboards where you pick the parts and they (or you) put it together, but since I obviously have no clue what the parts are called or what parts are required, I hadn’t any intention to buy when I went in there. The only reason I even went to that particular store is that my iphone googling indicated that it’s a fairly well known skateboarding store, and since it’s in my neighbourhood, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about!

Well the store lived up! It was surprisingly an extremely small store, so I had to make eye contact with the store clerks right as I went in. I chatted with one of the clerks, a kid named Terry, and he showed me different things and answered lots of my questions. A really young kid and a possibly homeless guy also showed up in the store while I was talking to the clerk. Now none of the 3 of us customers superficially appeared like  big skateboarder money spenders, but the store clerks treated us with exactly the same courtesy and gentle helpfulness. No attitude whatsoever! I was extremely impressed by the service. I bet those stodgy old stores like the Bay would get more customers if they treated customers even half as well as DLX treats theirs!

Anyway, Terry ended up making me a deal where he put together the board for me using a deck (deck = the part you stand on) he had received as a promo item. The deck has a really colourful graphic of the NYC skyline on the back, and it was just .. irresistable. He’d obviously gotten the deck for free, and he priced it really low for me and since I’d already googled prices I just spontaneously accepted!

I immediately took the new board to a small side street near where I live to practice! It’s the perfect street — got some cars parked on the side but no traffic, and has an extremely, extremely gentle slope. It’s practically horizontal, really. These two painter guys were tidying up stuff in their van a little ways up the street, and they offered to build me a ramp! haha! I was like umm .. can’t you see me struggling here!! Luckily skateboarding really is a lot like snowboarding, and soon enough I was going down the street decently well! Still having trouble with the heel edge though! Unfortunately I got stuck at a manhole during my last run, lost my balance, and hurt myself. I think I might have pulled a muscle!

Hopefully it’ll get better soon. The area around my new apartment is quite a bit more hilly than where I am now, so maybe i’ll be taking my board on the bus and coming back here to practice!

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2 Comments »

  1. =) that is inspirational …. and reminded me of my childhood =)… glad to know you are back to yourself. =)

    Comment by Jessica — March 20, 2008 @ 12:00 pm

  2. I have to say that I am so proud of you! I tried skateboarding once and almost broke an ankle… although that is probably not surprising in the slightest!! You are an inspiration to me Swapna!

    Comment by Lisa — March 23, 2008 @ 9:41 pm


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