After just 48-hours as the proud new owner of a longboard, I managed a miraculous wipe out on a small hill. I dragged my sad broken butt home and queued up a video chat with my college roommates to assess the damage. They were not impressed.
“DON’T GO TO SLEEP,” my friend Kat instructed — her new-mom energy was showing.
Luckily, I’ve been perfecting the art of French braiding for months, a hearty hairstyle that spared my skull from splitting open on the gently sloping pavement. I could nevertheless see that my face was turning the color of a rhinoceros as I whimpered into the phone, “I’m too old for this.” I vowed to wear a helmet on future rides.
“SARAH, WALK US THROUGH YOUR MOTIVATION FOR PURCHASING A LONGBOARD DURING A PANDEMIC,” scolded Kat, then in a whisper, “Try to help us understand …” I could tell she was not pleased.
My fixation started with “Betty,” a show on HBO about young women navigating the male-dominated skateboarding scene in New York City. I told my confidants as much.
“The important thing to emulate about ‘Betty’ is not the skateboarding, it’s dressing like a Betty,” my chic friend Cait chimed in, “Lesson learned, Sarah.”
But, it wasn’t that simple. There was also the matter of the song “Betty” on Taylor Swift’s new “folklore” album in which her alter-ego ‘James’ (because Taylor was named for James Taylor, duh) sings: “Betty, one time I was riding on my skateboard/When I passed your house/It’s like I couldn’t breathe.” I considered it a sign from the skate gods.
To make matters worse, I’ve been sensitive about all the talk that Worcester Magazine’s alt-weekly authenticity is waning. Apparently, to be a true alt-weekly, your writers are meant to be grungy bellyaching men with a fondness for conspiracy theories. How insufferable. (Love you, Bill.)
I found myself asking, “Am I ‘alt’ enough?” And nothing, my friends, is more ‘alt’ than a girl on a longboard.
Lastly, I’ve always wanted an edgy older brother to take after. Ever since I got married, my brother-in-law has fallen into step. There’s an epic photo of him as a surly teen that ran in the newspaper years ago. In the shot, he is skateboarding in a shirt that says, “DIE YUPPIE SCUM.” It hangs on his refrigerator.
When the board arrived on my doorstep, I messed around for hours riding up and down my dead-end street. In my last life, I did a lot of water skiing and I found longboarding similar—cutting and carving—with one distinct difference. When you eat dirt, nothing breaks your fall. I grew bolder and bolder until it was too late. I hit the ground hard.
Twenty-four hours later, my husband persuaded me to get an X-ray and the doctor pointed out a fracture in my elbow. He gave me a sling, which it has been pointed out, I’ve been wearing backward for the last week. Please see the photo attached.
Riding a longboard didn’t render me a respectable writer or any less of a yuppy scum. Worse, Taylor Swift didn’t even ask me to join her skate squad. I don’t feel any more “alt” than a week ago, but I hurt like hell (my ego, mostly.)