Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Skateboard park repair

Angus wakes me up, groggily, I let him outside so he can conduct his business then hop back onto the couch and slide into my sleeping bag cocoon for some more z's. The previous night's dreams lay fresh in my mind and stay there thru out the day. Examined them like an interesting and bizarre artifact found on the shore. Slept in till 10ish, feeling refreshed, muscles less achey, soak in the tub. On the verge of yoga, phone rings, it's Highlove. He needs some help with some work today. Turns out to be the Ojai Skateboard Park. I agree to help him. Have just enough time to go thru both yogas and some tai-chi before he arrives in his white pick up truck.

First we drive to the site where the constuction gig ran out of fund$ yesterday. Grab a bunch of tools, stop for lunch at Farmer and Cook, visit Ace Hardware and then finally we are at the skateboard park. This is my first time inside the fence. Up close I can see how run down all the ramps are. screws are sticking out too far, the thin brown sheeting on top is beat up, little bits of trash are strewn about, railings are broken, new red wavey rail is lying in the center and one skateboarder is inside riding around on his board. Mark asks him to split saying: "It'll reopen around 5 PM." The kid is cool about it, takes off. Mark then runs around and shows me all the stuff he wants me to do. We unload a bunch of tools, he climbs in the truck, backs up, drives away.

I begin by taking off some screws off a door that had been been screwed shut. I then move a buch of boards around, some need to be thrown out, others are set up for mark so he can cut them to fit areas with missing sheeting. Mostly I utilize the screw gun. Tightening the brown sheeting on the "mini-ramp" takes up at least half of the 4 hours that I am there. Kids come up all day saying: "Can I come in and just sit around while you work? It will just be us.", "When will the park reopen?", "Why can't we come in?", "Are you gonna fix the "mini-ramp?", "What happened to the box?", "Are you gonna put the wavey rail in?" The last hour, there's over 20 kids in the parking lot, most with skateboards, anticipating the reopening. The best question all day came from a kid around 10 or 11 years old: "Can I help?"

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience today. Nice to help out a friend - Highlove. Also, it kind of felt like community service. I have not skateboarded for years but I had my first board over 30 years ago. Skateboarding rules and is a California creation. When the city of Ojai agreed to allow a skateboard park around 4 years ago, it solidified my love for this town.