Saturday, March 12, 2005

I Quit!

The heavens unloaded a heap of snow on us today. When I stepped outside all the colours and sounds had been absorbed by a thick carpet of solidified white static. It's amazing how quiet the world can become under a fresh blanket of snow. I walked around for hours until my boots were soaked through to my socks.

I headed down to the cafe by the water (see "Snowed-In"). There was a different girl working, but the place was just as dead as the last time I was there. I ordered a regular hot chocolate with whipped cream, and she gave me a deluxe, claiming that the machine had broken down. Deluxe means they use real cocoa. I wonder if the machine really was broken, or maybe she just liked me. She didn't stick around to talk, but dissappeared somewhere behind the counter. Maybe she had a some kind of little bunker down there, because she only seemed reappear when customers came in. When I left she said, "Have a good night" and I should have told her the truth, that the likelyhood of my night being good was pretty slim. Instead I said, "You too." and left.

This is not the place to complain about my life. Whatever barren waste I have made of it is my own damn fault. The shape it has taken seems to me to be related to my great delight in negation. There is such a thrill in quitting something. I had a job as a stockboy that I simply walked away from one night. It was a liberating experience. I've never been a fan of the two weeks notice thing. I quit school numerous times, but in the end I got my university degree, so the ratio between quitting and returning is exactly equal in this area. As far as girlfriends go, I have been the one to break it off about as many times as not, so the dumper/dumpee ratio is about even on that front as well. Lately, I've been quitting things in a premptory manner, before I have even really begun. So, while I went to the orientation session to be a volunteer English language coach at the library, I later told them that I wouldn't be able to commit to anything at this point. I've been going to a church, off and on, for about a year, but have passed up becoming an actual member whenever the opportunity comes up. I'm actually looking forward to the day when I can quit going alltogether, that is to say, when I can find something better to do on Sunday mornings. As far as work goes, I don't even look anymore. I've quit looking.

We make a virtue out of committment in society. You get commended just for sticking with something, regardless of what it is or whether you really want to do it. It shows that you have persistance, reliability, backbone. It shows that you can subordinate your own ego to some sort of cause. Marriages can become like that, a matter of principal over true feeling. Having kids is a comittment that doesn't go away in any short time, and there is a whole culture of duty, commitment and self-surrender that is associated with it. If you reach a certain age without having a job, family, kids or religion, you start to become something of an enigma, which is a polite way of saying "freak of nature". And yet there are lots of us out there. For the last few years, while quitting almost everything else in my life, I have continued to skateboard from time to time. At least once per week, weather permitting, and often more than that. There was a period over the summer where I deliberately left my board in another city, so that I wouldn't be able to skate, but I just ended up borrowing other people's decks at the local skatepark. I simply have nothing else left to do with myslelf, no other reason for being. Skateboarding has been my primary joy and satisfaction, the only time I really feel alive.

But, friends, I'm old. My joints are getting sore. I've tried special anti-arthritis diets and regular yoga stretches, and I still feel the pain. Also, frankly, as much as I love the sport, I'm tired of putting myself up on that pedastle, even if it's only in my own mind. You skate around, four inches off the ground, feeling like some sort of god, and it's a kind of drug. The trees, the sky, the sunlight, always look more focused and beautiful after I have been skating. The cars and pollution and garbage don't bother me as much, nor does the absolute void that the rest of my life has become. Hold on to a virtue for too long and it turns into a vice. You can see where this is going. I've taken my walk in the snow and I have decided to quit skateboarding. It brings me pain to type those words, and I don't even really believe them. Nobody is even going to read this stupid blog, but I'm going public with this avowel anyways. It's over. I'm done. This has been a lousy Saturday night and the only slight thrill I can squeeze from it is this final renunciation of my last worldly satisfaction. At this rate the only thing I'll have left to quit is quitting itself.

2 comments:

kill-joy said...

Quitter! Check out www.officialnewyork.com fill out all the registration crapola and then sign in and download the 'viscious cycle' vidio, takes an hour or more to complete, but it the best free vid. on the net now. Also Real Skateboards has a free vidio at shops now it's called "Roll Forever", but it's not for Quitters!? Give you something else to do on Sat. nights. Although, I must admit I've thouroughly been enjoying your ramblings. My solitary existance being a stranger in a strange land seems that much better. Plenty of sun to fall on miniature skateboardpark obstacles and work yourself doing stupid manouvers and then bithc about it all day and limp and complain all the way home with a sprained middle toe a lump on the knee and a phat bruise on the right palm and a bruised ball of the right foot from stomping too much whilst pushing because you have kick-ass abec-1 bearings because they were on sale and well yeh, you get the idea.

kill-joy said...

On the other hand, I am thrity-two and a better skater than I've ever been. Last year I learned a pile of new tricks and every time I go out it seems I develop something new. I invented the Spinoza last year, and haven't had a chance to popularize it. I don't bomb stairs or handrails anymore (not that I ever did handrails). I skate flatland, curbs and small ledges, the occasional transition. The last time I went skating at the B-ball court down the street, I landed my first casper-to-casper flip, a trick I've been attempting for a couple of years. Increased muscle tone from swimming is improving my board control. If my joints will hold up I will keep progressing.