28 May 2010


It may seem juvenile to say that you enjoy solitude. To acknowledge some erroneous teenage trait of being considered a rebel. And finding solace in a knee jerk reaction to the daily expectations of polite society can and is, generally seen to be an antiquated character flaw that has no place in today’s world of open communication and social networking. At times however, you are seen by all to be nothing but this. The loner, the outcast, the depsperate youth – even if you happen to be the wrong side of 35.

I know this first hand and from the perspective of one who can appear to be one way or another, from one day to the next. Example; On a warm bright day I am walking to work having shaved and wearing an ironed shirt and sunglasses. I seem to most people (judging by their initial reactions at least) to be a normal/respectable – however you choose to define either of those – young man. Average. Standard. And they find comfort in that image. It's not an image I've ‘chosen’ but rather it so happens that a particular shirt seemed the right one to put on that morning and that my sunglasses say Rayban on them, which some of them find familiar, or it may even mirror what they themselves are wearing.

A few days later; I'm unshaven, have on an old t-shirt and jeans, and am riding my skateboard though the streets - not so busy as to require careful consideration of the pedestrians, but filled with enough office workers and civilians for me to have to slow down over most of my journey.

The looks now change. They range from bemusement (grown man on a skateboard) to irritation (skateboard too close to me) to a combination of confusion and contempt. Overall though there is one reaction that is more apparent than all else – disregard. Of the few talents I posses (and of those, the only really useful one in practical terms) is an excellent sense of character. I say sense rather than judgement, although I have that too, because as in cases such as this I’m going on instinct and appearance only – usually within a window of a few minutes with passers by on the street.

They quite literally, within a few moments consider you and decide you are not worth their time or attention any further. And I find this intriguing as it only seems to happen when I am skating from one place to another. In the environment of a skatepark or unofficial ‘designated’ area where there may be other skateboarders, there is no untoward reaction or consideration from members of the public. But they appear almost ‘put out’ at the idea of you encroaching on what they deem to be rightfully theirs; the pavement.

Not that it matters, it really doesn’t. When you have been doing something, anything, for 20 years, there isn’t much left to surprise you in relation to how you can be treated by less than understanding people. No one else I know lets it bother them, I mean, why should it. Still – I seem to notice it more and more and at times want to stop to question the individual. What is it that you find so confusing, or threatening? I don’t think they’d even know – but retreating into defensive mode and convincing yourself that someone doesn’t ‘matter’ due to the fact they are engaged in something you cannot comprehend, is far more juvenile and childish than feeling like a rebel could ever be.