Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Critics and Artists

Yesterday was a crap-pile, scum-bag, or something like it. I’m trying to curse less, you see, there is a baby.

I lost my Go-Pro camera at the skatepark. How original. But I think the part that sucked most was that I was really trying to have a great day and I felt like the day was against me, or that God was, which I lamented later to my bewildered mother who was nearly late for a lunch date with a woman from her volunteer job who never felt like she deserved to celebrate her birthday, until my mom changed her mind. I told my nearly late, self-less mother “I hate God! He’s mean to me” and as I said it, I felt no relief, only immaturity, betrayal and total lack of self-control.

Like surfing, skateboarding gives me such an escape from it all. Except because I know so much less about it, the feelings of accomplishment come quicker. My rate of learning new things while surfing has slowed down after 20 odd years. I think about the new skate tricks I want to learn at night before I go to bed. I fall asleep running over the body positioning it takes to do a half-cab rock. How you must stay just over your board and then as you come back down the transition from the rock, you must lightly lift your front foot off to clear the coping and keep your balance while going backwards. This is how I have been falling asleep since I had a baby and my sister got cancer. This is how the anxiety slips away and in its place, productivity and imagination float. A good skate dream makes me wake up just right.

Yesterday I had nearly enough time after putting the baby down to go to the skatepark by my parent’s Orange County house before we visited my cousin. That skatepark is my favorite and I was extra psyched all the groms would be back in school. Specifically, I did a little dance for Maddie and my mom and said “All those little bi-otches will be behind desks!” You see, cutting out cussing goes in stages. And those skate camp punks had made fun of me before so I was thrilled I would only have adults and homeschoolers to deal with. Those kids don’t seem to have quite the tribe the others do.

I arrived mid parenting podcast to a locked gate and a closed concession stand, my heart pounding with disappointment and trapped adrenaline. Apparently the park operates based on school hours and holidays. There wasn’t even anyone to complain to. But Google said there was another park eight minutes away, so I carried my hope and hiding anger with me there. Can’t keep me down! 

I learned that half-cab rock in about twelve minutes using a small volcano obstacle and a mellow bank with short coping. I’d been practicing half-cabs for months. Like the ego-centric millennial I am, I also captured it with my GoPro for myself and the internet. I was stoked on the angles I was getting too—one shot from the volcano, one from a tree branch and a few others from the bank. Then I did a slash grind just before I left. Can’t keep me down! 

I skated off like a hyena who found a wildebeest pack. But, oh, that’s not how the story ends. When I got home there was no Go Pro. No brand new case we just bought. No footage. No proof that I can. And the anger stopped hiding. I always knew it was there anyways.

Later a conversation about What is the point of it all? Why are we here? emerged and no one really knows how to answer that. But I know this isn’t the end of the story either.

I’ve found plenty of entertainment criticizing people for leaving whiny remarks about small things all over the internet and sometimes to my face, and here I am saying yesterday with a healthy baby and a mostly healthy family sucked because I lost a miniature camera. The paradox is not lost on me. 
I try to remind myself of something I wrote in a journal months ago: being a critic is much easier than being an artist.

And Can’t keep me down!


  1. Devon, you have made me smile in a sympathetic sort of way. So sorry you had a rubbish day. I had a bit of one too in the end. My neighbour-from-hell decided to swear and rant at me. Left me a bit gloomy and a bit shaky if I'm honest. I wish he would just move away. He makes our lives miserable at times. But otherwise it was a good day I think. Full on, but the children had a nice time. That's good enough for me. I hope you manage to get another Go-Pro and film that half-cab rock. The places I go to when I am falling asleep are gardens. There is a rule there that no stress is allowed. CJ xx

    1. I hate that you had a terrible day CJ. Bad neighbors are the worst and a very difficult problem to shake. I hope for your sake he moves too. I can't imagine anyone having a good reason for yelling at you. Falling asleep in gardens sounds nice too. I think I need more "no stress allowed" zones in my life.

  2. I've had SO MANY days like that lately! And really, sometimes I look at my healthy family and get so furious for myself for letting little things bog me down. Yet sometimes I can't control it anyway.


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