I spent a pleasant and lazy hour at the Lakewood skate park this afternoon, arriving sweaty and tired and planting myself in the shade of a brick outhouse with a book and a mug full of (soy) café au lait. I was conspicuously inconspicuous; quiet but very obviously not there to roll around on a board. My biked leaned on a chain-link fence and I leaned on a wall, and I turned pages listening to the sound of wood and wheels on cement. That sound- rolling, constant rolling, interrupted periodically by a staccato clack, has fast become a favorite noise of mine, and I went to the park today more to listen than to watch.
Crowds change as a day wears on. Certain customers are early shoppers at the Shaker Square farmer’s market, for example, and a different set of faces consistently shows up later on. I know the morning regulars at the Root from behind the counter, through my window in the kitchen as I bake, and I know the afternoon and evening population from my perch at the counter, off the clock. I bet it’s the same at the skate park. This afternoon the people flitting up and down the ramps seemed young, their moves unpolished. I’ve been only once before, but in the evening, and the kids there then were older. They skated better. They were more fun to watch, and I think the sounds improve with skill level, too.
If skill level determines the time a skater practices, I’d be out in the morning, tripping over my feet in the youngest hours of the day. I’ve only tried to learn a few times, and my movements instantly become more oafish and my body more unwieldy as soon as I step off the ground. The fact that I’m a dunce at nearly every physical pursuit except for climbing and biking doesn’t stay my interest in learning, though. I’d love to contribute to the comforting clatter of the skate park some summer soon.