In 1994 I thought I could skateboard. Probably sensing defeat, I decided to avoid the whole “actually trying to skateboard” part and instead started sniffing around the skate shop that had opened in my sad, suburban enclave.

The shop, which was just off the high street, felt like a little slice of Americana: somewhere straight out of Dazed And Confused or Reality Bites (their hazy, sassy, disenfranchised vibe provided essential film viewing at the time). Here, as I entered the strange world of racked-upskating wheels and men who looked like Bobby Gillespie, I could suck in my cheeks and pretend I was Randall “Pink” Floyd or Ethan Hawke.

The shop was intoxicating, but the skating world was hilariously out of my reach. I couldn’t skateboard; I couldn’t even (whisper it) ride a bike; my hair was curly (despite repeated attempts, I could never master the Howard Donald curtains); and my skating patter faltered after, “Can you do an Ollie?” Not very Tony Hawk. (I would have had to Google that at the time, if Google had existed then.)

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Vijay Nanda

The author Vijay Nanda

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