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When we weren’t hanging out at his house, my best friend
and I would take our skateboards and ride down
to the beach, to the little skateboard shop that sold
high-end skateboards, hang out for hours watching skate videos
with the few pro skaters that’d wander into the store. Sometimes
the pros would give us tips on how to protect your face
when you’re about to crash into a car or a wall,
how to avoid breaking your neck doing a handplant.
Later, we’d all head over to the Post Office and try out
all of the tricks we had just seen on TV. I was
remarkably uncoordinated, and the only girl
so most of my tricks involved showing off how much damage
I could do to my body without actually breaking anything. I’d
ride my board down the mail cart ramp as fast as I could
and slam hard into the brick wall at the far end. Sometimes
I’d ride the board down the ramp going the opposite way
and slam into the guard rail separating the Post Office loading dock
from the street. The bar would catch me right under my rib cage,
knocking the wind out of me and giving me a
mean buzz. I’d slam myself against things over and over
until I could actually feel
the pain, and once things started to really hurt, I’d just stop.
No one ever asked me to get back on my board once I stopped.
Sometimes, guys would bring their girlfriends along
to watch them skate, and they’d act all stupid and do cute things
like stand on their boyfriends’ skateboards and act like they couldn’t keep balance
while they rolled down the sidewalk and giggled. The other guys
would whisper nasty trash about those girls
and how irritating they were, and I was happy
because I knew they weren’t whispering that kind of trash about me.
I knew they said stuff about me behind my back,
but they couldn’t accuse me of being a stupid skate groupie.