What you give, is what you get. I drive the grid. My mind a cauldron. I search. Asphalt ribbons. The endless road. I fantasize. I’m hoping that the next Dog Bowl, Gonzales pool, Buddha pool or Date Bowl is right around the next bend. The morning consisted of endless traffic, filth, poverty, heat, and frustration on virtually every face I saw. People looked ready for a return to the Dark Ages. I could see it in my mind’s eye. If someone say’s some disrespectful crap, they get a knife across the throat. No words bandied about. No warnings. Knife point. Immediate. Draining on the ground. Bloody froth. Questions… “What? How? I would look down at them in their urine-drenched pants and murmur… “If you knew then, what you know now. You probably would’ve done otherwise…” It seems to me that the problem these days is that there is no accountability. People can run their mouth without fear of reprisal. Our society has become cowardly. A revolution of the meek. I turn my thoughts off. Kill switch. I don’t want to think like that any longer.
I downshifted the truck. I had been all over the San Fernando Valley since six thirty in the morning. The dirty sun hung overhead now. Trash and old tires littered the underpasses. In an alley, there was a square pool. It looked like it had round carveable corners and I wanted a closer look. As I slowly crawled along, I spotted green water through a broken fence on my right side. I stopped. Trash bins overflowed. Reeking. A dog barked at my intrusion. I peered between the wooden fence slats. Firecracker coping. Kidney pool. Disuse. I swung around the block. Knock knock. The owner basically said that he wasn’t interested but I gave him my phone number anyway. “Just in case you need it drained sometime.” He smiled and closed the door. I went on my way. Life moves. Ebb and flow. The pool quickly blended with a thousand others I’ve seen… A week later the phone rang. It was the homeowner. It took a minute to pinpoint what pool he was referring to. He asked if I could drain his. “You can skate but I’m going to clean and repair it. After that, it will be full as my daughter wants to swim.” I told him that I would be there the following Sunday morning.
Arto, Shawn, MRZ and Lance joined me for a few turns. It was pretty stellar. The wall dropped pretty sharply after the loveseat on the right side and the shallow end was steeper than we wished, but the pool was fun to ride. The loveseats were clicked off in short order, Arto banged out a side wall slasher and I threw myself across the love seat and deathbox combination. Failure. The firecracker coping really dug into my trucks and my testicular girth was insufficient for said maneuver. When you’ve been riding forty plus years, you learn to be happy that you’re still rolling. I didn’t take it too hard. Life.
I tried setting up another session but the homeowner was pretty elusive. I understood. Having a group of strangers in your backyard skateboarding in the pool – as normal as it is for us – is probably a bit disconcerting for regular folks. I didn’t push the issue. Some of the San Fernando Valley pool skaters heard about it and informed me that the pool I just drained was one they called “White Horse”. They had ridden it about ten years previously. This sort of thing happens sometimes. You find something new that actually isn’t. I would try to set them up with a session… Proper respect.
This past Sunday, the owner phoned me. I figured that the pool had been filled. He told me that I could come and patch it for him. As I drained it the previous weekend, I saw some cancer spots and told him I could fix them. He now asked for these repairs. I drove up the next morning and spoke with him. It was early and it was hot. San Fernando Valley. I took the supplies into the backyard and quietly repaired the cancer holes. He told me that we could ride it one last time that day. I was stoked. I phoned the Valley skaters that had originally rode the “White Horse” but they had to work and couldn’t get away. Pat Rat, Mitchell and Jake were in from Hawaii and they stopped over for a few turns. In the end, fun was found. It rained from the sky. What you give, is what you get. I believe it. If you put out harsh words, lies and treachery, you’re bound to receive some bad Juju. Dark Ages. But, what if you put out some good…
Thank you to the homeowner. Thank you to the San Fernando Valley crew. Thank you to MRZ and Arto for the photographs. What you give, is what you get. Skate- Ozzie