Sunday, November 02, 2014

BUS STORY # 417 (Now Playing In The Duke City)

Downloaded from Theline by busboy4
Downloaded from Theline.

“What’re you reading?”

I’m surprised. My seat mate is a kid with a skateboard between his knees and what I take to be a graphic novel in his lap. We’ve been riding in silence since I got on at Carlisle. We’re somewhere past San Mateo now. He’s obviously taken note of the magazine rolled up tightly in both my hands.

I tell him I’m reading about Brazilian soccer. I tell him I did not really know what a rabid fan is until I started reading the article. People quit their jobs, sell their furniture, whatever it takes, to follow their teams to wherever they are playing a championship game.

He seems impressed, in the non-judgmental way we express our wonder when presented with human behaviors that are beyond rational understanding. I nod toward his book and ask him what he’s reading.

“Oh, it’s called Buddy Does Seattle.”

He explains it’s about this guy, Buddy and his friends who live in Seattle and are just getting by with whatever jobs they can get. He goes on to explain he spent eight days in Seattle, and the book captures a lot of his experience of the place.

He tells me he thinks it was a comic strip in one of the newspapers there, and now they’ve all been collected into this book.*

The Stranger?” I ask him.

He isn’t sure.

Because of the conversation, and because he’s an Asian kid, or much more likely, Asian-American, I ask him if he’s from Seattle. No, he’s from here. He went up to Seattle to get his Army discharge papers. He was in for four years.

I ask him what he’s doing now.

Skating. What he’d really like to do is get a sponsorship. He explains that would enable him to make film clips and movies of himself trick skating. A sponsorship would also mean stuff like free trucks and wheels and bearings and boards.


He points to the attachment where the wheels are. Then he shows me how the front truck rocks back and forth, and he describes some of the tricks you can do with that rocking truck.

How long has he been skating?

Just since he got out of the Army. He started when he was up in Seattle, waiting for his papers.

I ask if Buddy is a skater.

No. He tells me a little more about Buddy, then opens the book and shows me the continuous comic strip story line. He explains where he’s at in the book now: Buddy’s girl friend has taken a job in Paris, and Buddy thinks she’s left him, but she really hasn’t. Meanwhile, his first girlfriend shows up and she’s a mess, and he’s trying to help her get her head straight...

So how did he get interested in skating?

He just saw people skating in Seattle, and he wanted to try it. He tells me about the different boards -- shortboards, longboards, skaters -- and the differences a wide or narrow board can make.

He’s been skating a year now, and he says the important thing is to not be afraid to try anything. If you balk at any of the hard tricks, you aren’t sponsorship material.

He pulls his skateboard up to show me that, just past the rear wheels, the board has been broken off. Then he explains he mistimed his crossing on Central; a car took it off. His tone is completely casual; no big deal. I’d say he’s fearless enough for a sponsorship. Now all he has to do is be good enough and stay in one piece.

He tells me I should see a movie, "Lords of Dogtown," which he describes as a retelling of the early days of skateboarding in Florida where trick skating really got started.**

We get to his stop. I tell him I enjoyed talking with him, and wish him luck.


*Yes, I went home and googled. You can read the complete story of Buddy Does Seattle from the publisher, Fantagraphics, here.


**Yes, again. However, this synopsis of the film by Rotten Tomatoes puts the origin of trick skateboarding in Venice, California. Click on “More” in the link to read about the preceding documentary, "Dogtown and Z-Boys."


The photo at the top of this story is downloaded from Theline.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really interesting. Thanks

2:28 PM  
Blogger Busboy said...

Thank you.

10:14 AM  

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