I was just around the corner and up the street from my house on a gentle but not insignificant slope. I generated some velocity and threw my skateboard into a four wheel slide that drifted for about five feet. At the tail end of the slide just I couldn’t quite keep my feet on the board, and ended up flipping my twisting skateboard into the air as I landed less than gracefully on my rear. A guy about my age with his son in the car was pulling up to the stop sign right in front of where I was trying to pull off my little move and saw the whole sequence. “Sweet!” he exclaimed as he drove by.

This $25 Craigslist skateboard has a mind of its own. It has taken me about 10 hours of skating over the last month to get back to this point. My slides are not as long as they used to be but I am incorporating two and four wheel slides into my trips downhill that I have not used before. It’s funny. In that last month my skating has progressed rapidly. I started slow and very tentatively to avoid injury. Now I’m approaching and even exceeding my limitations from where I left off a quarter century ago, mostly doing surfing type stuff. I’m not doing aerials because I remember getting hurt coming down. Even though the air is where skaters are today, I’m on the ground, sliding along like it’s 1983.

Maybe you couldn’t see where this has been going, but it’s become clear to me. A few weeks ago I took my daughters and two friends to the beach. They did their beach thing looking for shells, splashing in the shoreline and playing around: and I kind of did mine. I watched the surfers. I thought to myself, I should be back in the water. It wasn’t just for me either, but for my daughters.

In the fall we will likely be taking a family vacation to Hawaii. By the time we get there I want to be surfing again. At the very least when we get there I want to be able to teach my girls, 5 and 7 years old how to surf. I learned to surf in Hawaii, the summer of my sophomore year in high school. Why not give them a head start?

So I’m getting in shape. Ideally this spring I will ride my bike most morning before work, skateboard after, and work on my conditioning at home with my daughters. During recent rainy days I rediscovered calisthenics. I do three progressive sets of jumping jacks (60-90-120), sit-ups/crunchies/leg lifts (60-90-120), wall sits (30 sec, 45, 60 –I’m ready to increase these) and push-ups (60-90-120: from my knees, with my hands in front of my head so it’s real easy but it works my paddling muscles). Not surprisingly I’m getting stronger and more fit. I weigh less than when I was first married back in 1994 and I could probably squeeze into size 32 jeans again, but 34’s are comfortably loose. It’s all good.

This weekend I was at a home with my contractor where he was doing some work to prepare for the close of escrow. I spent a half hour or so going up and down the street in front of the house on my skateboard while my contractor fixed a flooring issue. I could think of no better way to spend the time. My contractor and I talked about staying young. He pointed out that doing things you did as a kid puts you in that place.

That’s where I am now. I honestly believe I found the fountain of youth on the CL for $25 in the form of a skateboard. I wasn’t necessarily looking to become young again, it just sort of happened. I don’t know how long I will be able to keep this up or if what I am doing will ever lead me back into the water. I could end up with a major injury or worse. Then again, what I have now is worth it. I’ve gone back in time. It’s been like getting together with a girlfriend from my youth, only better because we both are still young.

One day soon, when my slides are in the 5-10 foot range (I’m still working up to that) I’m going to take my daughters out to one of the hills I skate and show them what I do. This fall I’m going to take them to the beach and show them the same moves on the waves. And when they start to get older, to feel older, I’m going to hope they remember the street and the beach and their not so old man. You really are only as old as you feel, and right now I’m 44 going on 19.

Image by: Miles Gehm, Flickr

2 thoughts on “[INTO THE DAWN] The Slide

  1. And what does Mrs. Falk think about all of this skating around town (or the comparison the comparison to old girlfriends!)?

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