There are three kinds of long boarders on campus: ones who can ride, ones who shouldn’t, and ones who can’t ride yet.
Last week, I saw a woman skirt into a Qdoba parking lot, cut-off Nirvana shirt and John Lennon-style sunnies on. She kicked her board up to reveal a road-washed deck, picked up a to-go order and slipped out into traffic smooth as a creamy cup of queso, brown ‘Doba bag and Kentucky lanyard fluttering against the wind behind her like a Keeneland mare.
We all wish we could be this cool.
What I don’t understand, though, is the logic of mastering your longboard commute between classes; you know, around midday when paths between the Student Center and Willy T are packed tighter than a nun’s arse?
I dodged a guy on Monday lunchtime barreling through crowds of students. He ploughed into one guy who was walking beside me in a smart, Pledge-looking suit and yellow bowling shoes, whose eyes were so glued to his phone (trying to find himself on Barstool and Old Row no doubt) that he couldn’t have possibly seen the long boarder wheel-biting around the corner like a Red Mile chariot racer, kicktail aimed at his ankles. Bang!
The two of them tangled and crashed to the grass like bags of bones, the knees on the pedestrian’s suit now wet from the recently sprinkled sward. Passersby seemed to agree that the long boarder was a wally as they stopped, clucked their tongues at the heap of khakis and Periwinkle on the ground, Snapchatted the altercation, and continued walking. The Suit kicked the overturned board and stormed off, the darkened patch on his backside poking out from under his backpack.
There’s another dude who surfs between University Flats and Lewis Hall on his longboard at night. He scuffs his feet in unreliable half-steps, not yet having decided whether he’s going to ride goofy or switch. When he needs to slow down, he jumps off and chases after his board like a kid after a kite. I wince when I see him fall off as I walk back to my dorm with my Crunch Wrap Supreme. I observe from the tables by the volleyball court as the dude breaks in and out of the dark, appearing briefly in the pools of light, the gentle clack of wheels turning over the cracks in the pavement, and the occasional expletive grumbled over the hiss of cars passing down Hilltop Ave.
I respect his earnest attitude. He can only dream of merging into traffic along Avenue of Champions someday, lacing his fingers behind his head to air-out the pits of his pastel-colored Polo, kick-pushing his way between billows of Juul smoke leaking out of cars, and setting into the pink blare of the Kentucky sun like a lone Goose chasing its lost love.