Skateboarding is fun. I know this because we have one in our apartment which we use to cruise across the polished floorboards to get from room to room. Though I should acknowledge at this point that I use the term ‘cruise’ liberally. In fact, I should probably not use it at all given that, of the five members in the household, only one of us can actually stay on the skateboard long enough for it to count as riding it. And that person, my friends, is me. Yes. And I say that with the healthiest lashings of humility, for my ability on the board is limited. Very limited. Extremely limited. Yet my housemates – intelligent people though they are – remain blissfully unaware. Instead they have been convinced, ever since I first set foot in the cavernous apartment and nonchalantly maintained a steady path across the living room on my first ride upon this great, untamed beast, that I am in fact the Australian equivalent of Tony Hawke. And who I am to disappoint. So it is with shoulders back and head held high that I saunter through our communal space, content in the knowledge that the whisperings and uneasy murmerings I hear behind my back are merely hushed acknowledgments of my skateboarding prowess.
Yessiree. I’m livin’ the life. Problem is that now I’m under pressure each day to better the stunt of the evening before to keep this illusion floating. And all this from someone who has not ridden one in at least fifteen years. Ah, perception really is reality, until reality comes crashing down in a bloodied heap on the floor. Just yesterday, for instance, I spent a good six hours perfecting the art of riding the damn thing backwards. That’s right, cruising it in reverse. Then, when everyone was home for the night, I parked the board carefully near the front door, made some excuse to disappear briefly outside and, upon my return, effortlessly leapt upon it, hands in pocket and whistling merrily as if the sight of a grown man breezing through a roomful of confused, bemused and, most likely, fearful people was the most natural thing in the world. Sigh. It’s a lonely perch on the top of the skateboard ladder. But heck someone’s gotta be there. Now, for my next trick [illustrations by Chiho Aoshima]