Saturday, May 11, 2013

Opening Night

Virgin American airlines had a sale that helped me get to O'Hare from LAX for only $200.  I remet the brick city in 44° weather and missed the snow that drizzled in a few hours before my arrival.  Aidan swooped me from the airport with a welcoming smoke as we headed into the city.  Friday night, I battled the bone chilling cold by layering with a couple of shirts + a long sleeve + a heavy jacket + a beanie, and brought out gloves/mittens I have not used since the last time I was in Chicago.  We walked to the bars a block away and had the special of the night.  A shot with a beer... thrice.

I had the honor to meet new bladers as, we shared photo albums on our phones of spots that needed to be grinded. I even met another blading chef, Chef Joe Abdul, as we talked about culinary arts.  Another blader, Rory Melehan, whom was one of those bladers I had heard about through mutual friends, saw him in the friends section of the Xsjado movie, and was now honored to have a soul session with him as we sipped on our brews.  We shared our growing pains of being a blader in their late 20s - early 30s.

Aidan and Rory are the locals of the area giving me a proper introduction to the bladers from Chi-city.  At the bar we ran into Medium wheel legend, Neil Semar.  I couldn't recognize him without rollerblades.  It has been over 10 years since I have seen him in an ad.  I tried to keep it cool and our conversation was brief.  I never thought that I would cross paths with him in my entire life.  I later found out he was a chef in the local area and was featured in a blog for being a sponsored skateboarder.  Weird to think of people that were in the industry and turn away from the entire sport as if they had nothing to do with it.  It reminds me of the game hide-n-go-seek where a kid sat in the middle of the room with hands over his eyes, with the belief that if he can't see us no one can see him.

Saturday came with better weather.  A strong wind chill with the sun creeping its way though the clouds radiating warmth.  I was ready to go blading and felt like I was up too early for the average blader.  I met a blader in disguise, Jared, who was playing soccer with Aidan.  Looking to blade I followed Jared, thinking we were going to go to a bladepark.  We met up Joe Esquivel and to my suprise, Lonnie Gallegos was on his way to meet Joe - just the man I wanted to see.  I knew I was in the right place, right time. 

We bladed a myriad amount of spots.  People came and people left.  Gabe Talamantes got a clip at one of the spots handling a truetop porn on a bench.  Lonnie and I, being tourists, took photos of architecture, landmarks, and anything else we found interesting to grind along the way.

row boat statue and a cool tri building.

We came to a final spot, the BP bridge at Millennium park.  A snake skin like bridge, made of metal sheets, with a picturesque backdrops of the skyrises which would of had any skater/photographer drooling at the majestic beauty of this all.  My legs felt like noodles after all of the spots we were grinding prior.

We were tipped that security was going to call the cops.  The other boys in the crowd met with security guard A and security guard B at the gate.  I came in late and began to jump the gate thinking that we were getting kicked out.  I missed the message to go back in the other direction. As I jumped the fence, security guard B grabbed me by the center of my chest squeezing my shirt, twisting it like a screw driver, locking away any chances for me to get away.  Scared for my life with my back hanging off of the bridge watching cars passing behind me, I screamed at them for their stupidity of threatening my life.  I tried to reason with them.  I asked miserably trying to remain polite, "Please, let me go!"  I could not believe that they were detaining me for blading.  These guys were taking their jobs a lot more serious than the security guards do in California.  This was my own fault for forgetting that I was a visitor.

The boys left safely through a rear exit.  I was the diversion, the sacrifice, for the group's safety.  I would have done the same thing.  I sat in the shit-hole I created awaiting the consequences of possibly going to jail for trespassing and hoping that I would not have to be locked up for the remainder of the three days I had there.

Realizing I was still on vacation, I figured if I could not beat them, might as well join them.  I tried to start small talk with security guard A.  He was not looking to be my friend.  He kept his answers short "I don't need to tell you any of that information".  I began to realize how awesome my life was, being able to travel and enjoy the beauty of an amazing city Chicago to just blade and do whatever I had wanted.  While he was here working some rent-a-cop job, detaining an adult rollerblader that jumped over a fence instead of those people that had made terrorist attacks in Boston (my condolences to anyone that lost a loved one in that attack).

The police officer was late.  The security tried to use his flashlight to signal the cop that passed by. I offered to walk to the bottom to make the entire process easier.  Security guard B gave A a look as if we should listen to the detainee.  Security guard A hissed a B and replied, "Come on, don't listen to him."   

The cop came.  White hair, a veteran in the game with two bright eyed cadets.  Hands behind my back, I felt the handcuffs squeeze my wrists and heard the ratchet click and lock, like the buckle of a rollerblade.  I was gently patted.  He found a cellphone, CTA pass, and a bag full of candle wax.  A man with a suit and tie followed the officer up, his name tag had a logo so I knew he was going to be the one to ultimately determine my fate.  They took my name and did a background check to make sure I had no warrants.  Took the handcuffs off and told me I was completely banned from the park.  I agreed, trying to imagine the next time I would be able to blade the city.  I didn't really care.  I just wanted to be free! 

Top Left: security guard A signaling the cop that passed by twice. 

Lonnie was only a block away waiting to help me out at the first phone call. We treated ourselves to Epic burger.  Everything was grassfed and I ate mine with a fried egg on top.  The burger really was juicy and overall epic.  The food tasted a whole lot more better than I imagined it to be.  I think besides the secret sauce, was the sauce of freedom and how I just cheated the system to not be in an Chicago jail cell.