i looked at this picture from the other day and thought about parking lots and how they have been so crucial to my life, and of course 'heavy metal parking lot' as a phrase pops up quickly, and thinking about documentaries and music and how i love fugazi and love maybe even more the film 'instrument' and then my brain arrives at
POST PUNK PARKING LOT
which i think is accurate in all the ways that skateboarding addresses the spaces, if you think about what 'post' means in the realm of describing art movements. so what are the words? do they just sound cool together or do they have a meaning or are they just noises in a space? post punk is abrasive and exploratory and reactionary and chaotic. parking lot is banal and utilitarian, ubiquitous, 2 dimensional monuments to orderliness. the combination of these concepts is exciting, and what skateboarding [maybe, specifically 'street skating' is founded on - bold uses for boring spaces]. maybe this is all a leap. maybe i just like the words too much. words are no good to a photographer. but sometimes i hate photography.
why did i like it so much? first off, its just rad that this setup even exists, sort of against all odds really. if you think about all the things that have to happen in design and construction - all the micro decisions and inevitable mistakes and solutions - its wild that this is the result. skate spots are seriously like unintentional gifts the world doesnt even know its giving us. does the guy pouring a 40 degree angle out of blacktop go "tee-hee im building a skate ramp"? no, he goes "ah shit this is kinda different, hey i wonder if the packers won..." i understand how the bank happens here. and i understand then the need to put up some kind of barrier to either separate the spaces or prevent people from accidentally traversing the embankment. these things may even serve aesthetic and functional purposes, but still, WHAT are the odds? not good i tell you. and i would know, because ive examined every parking lot ive ever passed. and so we treat each unanticipated anomaly of the material world which unintentionally suits our needs like a virgin unicorn, or something.
second, the bank to ledge has been my favorite skate obstacle since a prime one was bestowed upon the skaters of racine near the turn of the millennium, in a wooden skatepark a stones throw from the mighty smelly, mighty cold lake michigan. i said god damn, you had me at 'smith stall' and have been attacking anything mildly resembling a bank to ledge ever since with a feverish teenage zest. i like the concept of going up an embankment, up to the top, with a purpose to go even higher - theres something up there for you so go get it - no dinking mid-bank. get up to the top and you know, go fuckin MOUNT something - a little motorhead song for your feet... anyways, this particular specimen in truckee ca was a bitch and a beaut - tauntingly perfect dimensions with a subtle gully at the bottom, and a very harsh surface variable - major crust. each attempt costs you 6 full strength pushes. time to get sweaty. i got smithstall and tailstall. somewhere during that process i ate shit so hard to my hip and shoulder. toby riley was taking photos...
there are 3 particulars with the nosepick that i am stringent about:
-back knee must be tucked under arm - theres no excuse not to
-must not linger on ledge. should be going for the grab as soon as truck is locked in.
-board should be turned beyond 90 degrees, almost to a noseblunt
last weekend i was back up in the area, with my sights on the same spot, hoping to get a document of it for an upcoming video part. we skated a schoolyard and watched a gnarly winter storm system blow in over lake tahoe. we drove to truckee with the wipers going. in my head i knew i was going to be skating in the rain anyways. i was fired up to get there and make it happen because now it wouldnt be just repeating a past experience. we pulled up and heavy flakes were coming down. the lot was fully soaked but the surface seemed faster than i remembered it - is it possible to hydroplane on a skateboard?
i can run off the stoke from these situations for weeks, and diving into them immediately cleanses me of the previous weeks banal hoop-jumping, time-sucking, energy-draining, soul-smashing nonsense. when you cant do what you want 100% of the time, youre damn sure to make it count when you can - which at age 32 is typically all of one or two days a week. not that you need it but extra incentive is that your buddy is selflessly standing in the rain trying to keep a 20 year old vx1000 dry. the beauty of the situation is this is something no one requires of me to do, and its incredibly counter intuitive, downright masturbatory on the surface. on top of all the usual things that make skateboarding 'not the best idea' in most peoples minds, everything is soaked and cold, and im stripping layers with each attempt, and its clear this is the last time my deck or bearings will be under foot - small sacrifices i am glad to make.
the first 2 came and i wasnt satisfied with the execution. this is a craft, after all. a trick youve been doing for 16 years should be in top form regardless of the conditions or terrain. plus theres always something nice about getting 3, and finishing the trio with a textbook version. thats proof to me that its still no fluke, that the nosepick is in the fucking bag. number 3 felt right as ever, and we packed it up. another arbitrary beast slain, more self imposed torture to an aging body. one more deck, 8 more bearings destroyed in the pursuit of childs play. a natural food store just up the street supplied the victory meal. all the way down the hill on a wave of stoke, relief, satisfaction. the oddness of what skateboarding is only comes into sharper focus the longer i do it.
a parking lot is an ordered space where cars are stored temporarily. there are lines that direct motorists so they can park in the safest, most efficient manner. sometimes it costs money to put a car there. sometimes you car gets damaged or broken into, usually shit on by birds. youre not really supposed to photograph parked cars - people get really freaked out by that, for reasons even they still cannot explain to me when i ask them to. some parking lots have other things to help you park, like blocks or curbs - sometimes they get painted with really nice fast paint. the perimeter of a parking lot can occasionally be found lined with the following: metal bars, hanging chains, trees or shrubs, fencing, raised cement, banked cement, garbage, grass, dirt, gravel, walls. parking lots are widely considered to be used for parking ONLY and in some instances, people actually get paid to remind you this when you try to ride your skateboard on them, or through them, or even when you are just standing on the parking lot with your feet, looking at a pile of garbage out of curiosity. we dont really believe in any of that. i tell those people "your words mean nothing to me."