It's not just a bunch of grimy kids with long hair, looking to loiter around the local 7-11 driving off business. It's not just a group of punk rock anarchists wandering around smashing windows and harassing citizens. The die-hard ones would pass through your fingers without notice if they weren't rolling around as they do.
To them, to us, it's a way of life that is both a blessing and a curse. To us it's an art, it's a passion, and it's an addiction that cannot be fought but for a couple days at a time before it becomes too overpowering to say no any longer. It makes us see the everyday world, the everyday life as something only those who have it coursing through their veins could ever understand.
We are skateboarders in our hearts and an unstoppable force is constantly pushing us, 'illegally' at times, to reach a new high.
A park bench is in no way made for sitting; in fact, if you're caught sitting on one you may get a disappointing glance from us. Handrails and stairs are not for support or movement in their originally intended sense.
It's a cardinal sin to ever put water in your swimming pool and candles aren't for burning and ledges aren't for resting. Parking blocks should never be used, and when a security guard is in the area we by no means feel safe.
To us, skate parks are merely reservations. They are things built by people who don't want to see us skate freely among them. We realize our addiction may lead to some paint chipping away from its pole, some 'unsightly' wax residue left on the cement and the sweet, sweet sounds of skateboards popping and snapping; some things maybe only we will ever cherish.
You may understand if you start now. You'd already understand if you'd ever kickflipped a set, smithed a ledge, or nose manualed a pad. We don't do it because we like to be looked down at, not because we like to constantly look over our shoulders in fear of another ticket, and we certainly don't do it because we like destroying your property.
These are merely side effects of our "problem," and it is these conditions we have come to live with. It is these consequences with which we forever will have to deal.
Ryan is a senior forestry major. His movie reviews run every Monday.