Sometimes, things happen that make a person step back and take a mental inventory. In his song “Changes”, David Bowie sings “Oh look out you Rock n’ rollers, pretty soon now you’re gonna get older, time may change me but I can’t trace time.” Maybe that’s part of it. Maybe now that I can see my age posted on some interstate speed limit signs, I finally realize time is moving faster and I need to give some attention to a few things before months replace the numbers on my wall clock.
Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t about “sour grapes” or regrets or fears. Nor is it an exercise in self-actualization; a vain climb to the peak of Maslow’s hierarchy of self-fulfillment so-to-speak. This midlife goal has more to do with paying attention to something that has always been with me; that has always been a part of me. Something I can’t seem to resist every time an opportunity presents itself. I’ve talked about diving back in, but never have.
Maybe this non crisis is also just the realization that I’m getting to that part of life where people start leaving the rest of us for “a better place” as they like to say. I lost a couple guys this last year who were co-practitioners in my adolescent obsession. One of them, Jay Adams – a year younger than me and one of the original members of the Z-Boys professional skateboarding team – was a mess as a result of drug abuse but still arguably the best skateboarder ever to walk the earth. He, Stacy Peralta and Tony Alva taught me things about skateboarding while I watched them work their craft at various locations around Santa Monica, Venice and Marina Del Rey California where I grew up. I feel bad some of my skateboarding friends are gone and I find myself missing the board under my feet.
So in an effort to reconnect with the spirit of “soul skating”, to confuse and amuse those who are still here and to blow out some cobwebs from between my ears, I got on the internet and put together a parts order to build a sweet, custom skateboard. It’s something I’ve wanted for over 30 years but just never got around to. If your kids skate downtown, ask them about the “skateboarding mailman” and you’ll probably find I’ve asked to check out their boards at some point.
When I tell people I’m building a custom skateboard, I receive some strange looks. At first they assume I’m building it for one of my children. “No. It’s for me” I tell them. “Are you nuts?” they ask. “You’ll kill yourself on that thing!” they assert. Probably not. I have a helmet and pads (things we didn’t consider when we were 14) and I’ll wear any road-rash like a badge of honor. Some claim my desire to have a skateboard is a sign of a midlife crisis. I’m not sure I’m at midlife and I certainly don’t feel as though I’m in any sort of crisis. I look at skateboarding as a social networking tool; a way to connect with people. It’s also great physical exercise. I’m just wondering if I’ll still qualify for my senior discount if I walk into a fast food joint while carrying my skateboard?
© 2015 Curt Savage Media