It was a bright beautiful clear Sunday afternoon yesterday, and I was killing time until going to the airport, riding my skateboard on the streets near Ocean Beach in San Francisco. I was using a Big Kahuna stick, a kind of paddle with rubber stoppers on the bottom so that you propel yourself along, like paddling a canoe. It often amuses people who see this device in operation. I passed a young oriental woman on the sidewalk and she broke into a grin and said, “You have…” and than ran to catch up. She didn’t speak much English but she was just delighted with the whole setup. (There aren’t actually that many people out in the world who see what’s going on around them.) So I got her on the board and had her hold my arm while we went down the sidewalk. She loved it.
I pulled her along and she gradually got her balance and I had her let go of me and she was laughing in glee at her first skateboarding solo. We did this for a while. I taught her how to jump off when she lost her balance, before falling. After a while I retrieved the board and started skating again, and she said, “I run…,” and she started running alongside me. We were like two kids playing.
She said she had just recently come from China and was on the way to visit her auntie. I asked how old she was. How old you think?” she asked. I told her I didn’t guess ages. She insisted. “22,” I said. “24.”
She ran along for a while, I mean, really ran, then we parted ways. It was so much fun. Just out of the blue.