Thursday, March 20, 2008

helping reality compete

i used to own a skateboard with 14 wheels. each is similar to what you'd see on an inline skate, and seven are mounted at each end of the board on curved rail-like trucks. the reason i bought it was that it was supposed to mimic the experience of snowboarding, but on dry pavement. another big factor was that it was short enough to carry on an airplane. while it did go to japan with me, the skateboard was so awful to ride that the transportability quickly became irrelevant. while nearly useless as a method of transportation, the skateboard was an amazing conversation starter. probably eighty percent of people who rode in an elevator with me while i had the board asked about it. my longboard drew far less attention. one time a group of people in florida talked to me because of the longboard, but that was because i had yellow hair and they were amused at the fact that they'd seen me on it earlier in the day and here i was staying in their hotel. the fourteen-wheeled skateboard's best moment might have been the time a pack of teenaged skateboarders saw me carrying it (it's much better than having to ride the thing) and stopped me because they wanted to try it out. one of them did some nice kick flips and the like, then took a picture with me and the board.

at this point, however, the skateboard's most powerful legacy is its message - 'helping reality compete.' that was one of several slogans i scrawled on the bottom of it, and the most significant one right now (maybe later we'll talk about 'buy japanese,' but i can't see 'surfers for sun' being much more than a joke i write on my things to make them a little more 'mine'). when i was writing and thinking about 'reality' back then, i believed in the idea that it's important to engage your actual life. i still believe that, or i wouldn't be thinking about this, but i find myself struggling to accept the actuality of my life. lately i have made some real positive moves that have given me exciting options for my future. however, i've spent a lot of time drowning myself in escapist pasttimes, mostly watching television and also reading. the literature situation isn't so bad, perhaps. part of the whole point is to read a lot so that i'll know more about writing. this goal encourages me to stick to material that's got some style or substance to it - clever or insightful, not just entertaining. i think, though, that given my overall dissatisfaction with my actual life, reading runs the danger of being simply a more engaging form of evasion. for some reason though, i'm just scared right now. i'm scared about moving and how i'll adapt; i'm scared when i think that i might be saying no to school again, but i really just need to stand up a little more to the scariness and try not to hide under a blanket of distractions.

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