Friday, March 5, 2010

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Drug Store

I have owned a skateboard for about two years. It is styled by the manufacturer as a mini-longboard, which basically means it has big wheels like a longboard but it's short. This skateboard is a handy mode of transportation around my neighborhood. I use it to go to the store, the post office, and anywhere nearby. It's faster than walking. This is the reason I use it.

I do not use it for recreation. I no more consider myself a skateboarder than a casual cyclist considers himself Lance Armstrong or a mom in a Volvo considers herself [insert name of famous NASCAR driver here].

I suppose that's why I was so surprised the other day by the tongue-lashing I received from a stranger on my way to the drug store.

Here's the scene:

I'm walking to the Duane Reade in my neighborhood, carrying my mini-longboard. (I have been skateboarding, but feel like walking for the last block.) As I approach Starbucks, I spot a Bearded Hipster holding a standard longboard. Comes up to about his waist. He is heavyset and has a backpack with a roll of red gaffer tape hanging from it.

I approach and overtake him. I think about complimenting his board, but decide against it; he probably doesn't want to be bothered. Then he spots me.

Bearded Gaffing Hipster: Nice toy.

I turn, smiling. He's looking at my skateboard.

Bearded Gaffing Hipster: Do you know how to ride it or do you need someone to give you lessons?

Note: His tone indicates that he is not altruistically offering to give me lessons; rather he is mocking me because he (correctly) assumes based on my choice of skateboard that I am but a boarding dilettante.

Me: Yeah, actually, I don't know how to ride it.

(Laughing. Ha-ha, self-deprecating.) I turn and keep walking. He shuffles faster and catches up to me. Then he says something like:

Bearded Gaffing Hipster:
I see you have your snaps all done like a poser.

Me: I don't know what that means.

Bearded Gaffing Hipster: Of course you don't.

(And I still don't.) We walk side by side.

Me: Why are you being a jerk, man?

Bearded Gaffing Hipster: Oh, I'm like this to everybody. It's nothing personal.

Me: (emphatic) No. It is personal. You're a person and I'm a person. It's personal.

Bearded Gaffing Hipster: Oo, are we gonna throw down?

I reach Duane Reade and head to the door. Now a double stroller and a short woman (mom or nanny?) stand between us. I shout over the stroller and woman.

Me: You don't have to be a [redacted] to everybody!

Bearded Gaffing Hipster:
Yes, I do!

I enter Duane Reade alone and without closure.

This happened. I make up a bunch of stuff, but this anecdote is not one of those things. I still toss and turn at night, wrestling with one question: why? Why did he choose to berate me so? I felt like a kicked puppy, the victim of senseless random violence, guilty only of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. (And of being cute/carrying a skateboard.)

I wonder where the Bearded Gaffing Hipster is now? Probably verbally assaulting a little old lady because she doesn't realize her Cadillac "still has the lame factory rims". What a poser she surely is.


Craig . Kate . Xavier said...

Awww this makes me sad for you! What a jerk... I am just so glad he didn't witness one of the skateboarding falls with 2 liters and 5 lbs. of potatoes in tow. That really would have given him some ammunition.

Steve said...

He probably would have killed me.