Sunday, July 11, 2010

Skateboard Shoes?

RX: "No, really, the shoes were a total surprise. Leather-upper trainers, lotta Vans and Nikes, superkewl colors..."

Tam: "Yeah, skateboarders love 'em. Converse whaddaya-call'ems, too--"

RX: "Chuck Taylors? Didn't see any there."

Tam: "Must not be Converse dealers. Hunh. Chuck Norrises, that's the ticket. Chuck Hestons!"

RX: "'You can have these shoes when you take 'em from my cold, dead feet!'"

Upon reflection, I'm certain the Chuck Norrises can whup any other shoe made, single-footed.

Oh, and under "two wheels and noise?" One of the two guys workin' the counter in the skateboard shop had his commuter vehicle parked out front, a nicely-ratted Honda motorcycle in flat, flat black. I took that as a good sign.

Insight: watching the vids playin', I suddenly got the last bit of the puzzle. Yeah, y'see these small-but-deadly stunts and think "adrenaline," and that is a big chunk of it; but the other part, especially when there's a whole series of nifty/dangerous tricks in a row, all of which have to be right the first time, is a mental state called "flow." It's highly addictive and that's not hyperbole; generally, you need to be doing a complex task that calls for good coordination, exact timing and quick thinking. Dancers get into it, so did Top 40 disc jockeys in the back old days.* I suspect some kinds of improv comedy can trigger it and so can mountain climbing (though at a slower pace). Skydiving, motorcycling twisty roads... All of 'em can drop you into a wonderful totally-here Zen state. And that's part of the reward that gets your neighborhood lookit-that-lunatic skateboarder back up off the concrete and onto the stair rail until he gets it right; that's what tilts the risk/reward scales far enough to make the effort and the price worthwhile.
* In hindsight, that kind of radio wasn't near as interesting to listen to as it was to do. Shuddup and let me hear the music! Over the long run, those guys were the best Walkman and then iPod salesmen, evar.


Ed Rasimus said...

I've always said that Hemingway "got it." He understood that a human only really lives when they face the death challenge. If you don't look mortality in the eye and choose the safe alternative, you will always miss some part of the total experience. He wrote about wars and bulls and hunting and deep-sea fishing. All facing death.

We've become immersed in a "kinder gentler" monotony. That means that there is an unmet hunger for living a bit closer to the edge. That in turn gives us bungee jumping, street luge, eXtreme sports (whatever that means) and cage fighting.

With war being viewed as barbaric and too costly, hunting viewed as incorrect, even meat-eating as primitive, what's a person to do?

Maybe watch hours of soccer for the thrill of boredom and the agony of falling down on green grass?

Gewehr98 said...

Fear not, Roberta, they're not just for skate punks anymore. I've been wearing Vans since about 2001, thanks to my skateboarding stepson. I even wear a pair to work on Fridays, and I've never been on a skateboard more than a few minutes, total. They're comfortable, that's for sure. I bought a pair of new Nikes that look for all the world like Vans, for just plain goofing around town...

Roberta X said...

Ed: Playing soccer always struck me as a sport conducive to getting into the mental state, since they don't stop for nuthin'. Not so much for risking your life but it does require living right there in the moment; for the players, it's like the fastest moving parts of a baseball game without ever slowing down. --Spectator side, I don't think any of 'em can do it. I'm glad some folks enjoy watching but geez, it's a total yawner for me.

G98: I've worn Vans; I like 'em. Some of the best-fitting shoes I've owned.

Anonymous said...

I think you hit the nail on the head. Saying I'm an adrenaline junkie is easy shorthand for it, but what it really comes down to is nothing focuses the mind like stepping out of an airplane at 13,000 ft and thinking to yourself, "what do I have to do now so that I can get to the ground and still be able to stand up?" That and the ability to do barrel rolls without an airplane.

Anonymous said...

Bull's-eye. I can do it a little bit by getting the right line through a corner in my car, but the real twisty bits are where the fun starts for real.


LabRat said...

Some video games can do the same thing; not so much with the risk of death, but with the coordination and fast decisions.

I can just see the next worried obesity epidemic article, "evil video games make flow accessible to the unathletic, what does this mean for the children?"