Thursday, June 14, 2012

In The Present

No skateboarders at the blade-park, which is normally filled with too many of them. Most of the blader's were at the first sunday in Montebello, I knew no one was going to save me from my lonely session.  The blade-park was all mine.

Thirty minutes into it, my whole session got turned upside down.  Smiley stopped by the same park that we started blading at fourteen years ago. He bladed years before I even considered getting a pair of Rollerblade Troopers, and was one of the original dudes who introduced me to wax. He would come over and do a T-stop slide, his two middle wheels thrown out to have a bigger space to grind things, in a time when rollerblades were only eight wheels.  The two of us same age, same grade, although Smiley was one of the "cool" kids who had an older brother, that was in a gang, and was able to keep up with a tough crowd.


He was taking a jog, running toward the bladepark.  I saw him from a distance and hit the rail on purpose hoping to start my A.S.A. run to avoid any social contact.

He yelled from the entrance, "MIKE!".

He wanted to talk, I glided from the other side of the park with my 2 Feet grin up to him. Shaved head, a little thicker from the slinky shape i remembered him having since grade school. Roasted brown filipino, no blades, instead he wore some Etnies that were stuffed. Its been years since we had a conversation. I was hoping it was the person I knew from years ago.

We talked for a bit. He was shocked that I was blading by myself. He made the assumption that I was waiting on Ranier.

I had to let him know that, "I love Rollerblading." I was willing to do this with or without anyone.

I wanted to hang out again, get him a pair of rollerblades, get him off of whatever he was doing now. It was just hard to trust him. We have a history. Its hard to put.

Our last interaction sometime around six years ago, he was at the blade-park with his bike. No one has heard from him in a while, and we heard that his older brother was hearing voices. He got into a corner and started brushing himself off.  Far from the smooth  "brushing your shoulder off" as Jay Z would do it. It was more of brushing off spiders that were swarming him. Spider's that only he could see and everyone else around was unaware of. Trying to blade, I disregarded his behavior.

Construction behind the blade-park created a huge ravine, taped off. Inside you can see huge pipes of something that were being repaired. The ditch had to be around 7+ feet deep, any deeper and hot magma would have spewed from the center of the earth. Something inside of him uncontrollable made him throw his bike in. The same thing that tells us "not to do it" was damaged and told him "it was okay if he did".  Drugs? I don't know, he never admitted what made him act this way.

How he was going to get his bike out? Another question I couldn't answer.  Before, I was able to see what he was going to do about his bike, I left the blade-park in a hurry, pig-tails coming. Blue and Red lights came flashing in like disco, I was on the other side of the park faster than the Roadrunner dodging a boulder planed mathematically from the Coyote. I wasn't going to be the lucky one to catch the ticket to the Judge Judy show.

I haven't had a conversation with Smiley since then.

We reminysced a bit, he was coherent, he acted normal. He seemed the same. He asked about spots I have bladed, dreams we had back in '97, wishing we would go to those ledges with the grate underneath them in New York and the Bubble Rails in Irvine.  He talked about how he misses blindside topsouls on a huge kink rail we used to blade in Carson.

Then we started revisiting the times when we went to the gas station and would grab as much as we could and flee, being faster than the clerk on shoes, with eight wheels strapped onto us, as we bladed fast as we could across a bridge back to the park for safety.  I of course loved Ice-cream so I would grab boxes of the 50/50 bars. 50 percent orange, 50 percent cream on the inside.

He said he saw my edits on youtube and asked how being on Valo was and what it was like to hang out with Jon Julio, our idol as kids.  Most Filipinos stick together, ask any Filipino about Pacquiao and see how their face lights up.  Jon Julio the Pacquiao of blading.  I told him about how I'm on Xsjado now and he was still shocked that I get blades for free.  The conversation became flat, he went on his way.

Trying to blade after that was tough. My mind was in the past, the memories flashed, he sure made life interesting at the time. I started thinking of the future, what was my next step, will I be able to hang out with my old time friend again like the old days? My soul grinds weren't locking on. That savannah I was getting was just a screwed up torque. Fuck, then it hit me.

I realized what it was. What was it that I loved about blading? What was it that had me doing it, years later even after all of my friends that I started off with have left, drug induced or to pursue more valuable dreams.  The past was painful to revisit, I missed it, I couldn't relive it.  It was the past.  The future, was filled with thoughts of work, the anticipation of being yelled at by my chef, and having to deal with some of the idiots I am forced to work with, to earn some lunch money.
I was missing my tricks because I wasn't in the present.  Blading to me was my only time to be here and in the moment. Just me and whatever the obstacle I was blading. Together, the rail I was grinding, the gap I would be jumping were going to make magic or someone (me) was going to get hurt if I wasn't going to be there mentally present in the time.

Blader + obstacle + present time = landing a trick. 

Being here, now, in the present time meant happiness. 

As much as I fear the unpredictable Smiley, I  still have to thank him. Thanking him for introducing me to the blading world and just like him, a place for me to escape, although without the spiders.  I hope him the best and hope that one day I can see him do a blind-side topsoul down the Carson Kink safely again.