I can't do olies or kickflips, but on a skateboard, I can go fast. I can go really damn fast, and I love to. I crave the speed; the ripping down the hills of San Francisco on my soft, fat wheels at a speed no shortboard could ever endure. I've heard it a million times from the hardcore skaters of the world. "Longboards are the Wrongboards!" To that I guess I agree when it comes to the olies and kickflips that I can't do because a longboard isn't designed for such pleasures. But for the speed, the long, elegant swerves and swivels across the entire width of the four-lane, beautifully paved road, and the beating of the speed's windy voice as it carries on the most intellectually stimulating conversations with its riders, the longboard is the perfect board. The fast board. The board engineered and designed so carefully for reaching the maximum speeds that a wooden board on wheels and a frantic girl on top can possibly reach. I don't crave olies and kickflips the way I crave speed, because if a taxicab wanted to race the shortboarder across the way of O'Farrell at its intersection with Leavenworth, he would have eyed him first. But he didn't.
He eyed me instead as I zoomed by him through the light the instant it had turned green. Pedestrian countdowns were helpful that way; being able to tell exactly when the light would turn red or green, and exactly how much time I had to get through the intersection before the laws of the road allowed the road-bound vehicles to go. It felt good to zoom past the waiting drivers, after all, I'm not a car, and I'm not a pedestrian, so I have no laws I must follow. I can speed wherever I want, ride whatever I want, and the transition from yellow light to red light doesn't scare me. I raced right by the cab and swerved around the four lanes while he waited another five seconds for his turn. He met me at the next intersection, both of us having timed ourselves perfectly at the Leavenworth light so that we'd get perfect greens the rest of the way down. I'm sure he wasn't as adamant about racing me as I was about racing him, but after a few seconds, I realized just how fast we were heading down the slope of my infamous O'Farrell.
By the bottom, I had probably hit close to thirty miles per hour. The stretch was flat, so I got down on my board, bending my knees and clutching the bottomside of it with my fingers, swaying back and forth shortly with the weight of my body. It kept my speed for a little bit, but not for the whole straightaway, and the cab eventually pulled ahead of me and I let him go. I was still going pretty damn fast, but I loved the feeling of my speed, so I got up to continue pushing, hoping I'd have enough speed by the crest of the hill to catch up with him by the very bottom of my favorite decline. The thing with skateboarding, however, is that I have horrible balance. I've always had horrible balance, and I will always be damned with it. No matter how good I am at riding or how ballsy I am at speeding, I will keep falling for as long as I'm a skateboarder because I will always have horrible balance, and I will always crash into the ground harder and come out with gnarlier buffs than ever because I will never perfect the art of staying on a structure that's nothing but a board on wheels on a dangerously intimidating surface. After three pushes, I got too into it, put my foot too far forward, and felt my board fly behind me at an unheard-of speed, as I went flying the direct opposite way. I careened into the ground, landing on my knee and hip at a speed unhealthy for a human body to hit asphalt. The knee of my pants split open, my hands burned almost instantly, and my hip could feel the scratched of the pebbles as I slid. I recollected myself in the road for a few seconds; nobody was coming. I noticed a decent-sized chunk missing from my knee, but thought nothing of it because it wasn't bleeding and I wasn't in so much pain that I couldn't still get myself home.
"Nummie" was the word that best came to mind.