“I want to get tattoos all up my arm,” I joke, well, half-jokingly anyway. “It’s not like I’ll ever have to get a job again,” and this time I’m more serious in my sarcasm, wondering how long this good life will last.
“We live a different path,” he says, “I don’t think we’ll ever have to get into all that.”
He stands there, drinking an IPA and smoking a yellow American Spirit like he was born to stand here in this mountain night sky. It hasn’t snowed yet, but it will soon, and he makes it seem like we’re surrounded by 10 feet of the crispy white powder. His hair is akin to Wolverine’s, just barely making it out of his black beanie, a red flannel jacket covered in a ripped denim jean jacket that’s covered in 80’s punk symbols and slogans. That piece of clothing is a joke, but again, only half-joke, half-somehow serious. We grew up together, skateboarding manholes, the flat streets, stairways and grass hills of our nearby hometowns. He moved out here to Lake Tahoe and I did something else with my life, we parted ways for years but some friendships will work out over the long years and on my first crosscountry roadtrip I stopped here, already changed by the desert expanse of Texas to Arizona, the beachy paradise of San Diego, when I arrived on the East Shore of Lake Tahoe I knew that life would never be the same. I continued visiting him, once a year, maybe less, lately much more.
He tells me of his dream, his dreams, how they’ve changed. “I wanted to go pro, move out here, be a pro snowboarder. It was hard, crazy, because you get there, right on the edge like you’re one of those ‘maybe’ dudes, and then you get injured, and then get surgery, and then you’re back and you think you’re a ‘maybe’ guy again. And then you get hurt.”
He laughs a little, kicks around on his feet like he can’t hold still even to think back over the beginnings of a career. I think of how insane it is that his goal was to be a pro snowboarder, and how set he really is. He’s not pro, no, but he gets boards for free, gear for free, rides a good deal for free and gets paid money to test jumps. Sounds like he’s made it to me, and even as I think that he continues. “That’s not what I’m all about anymore. Now I know I just want to ride, and the way I want to ride. Just keep pushing my limits, be humbled. I think when you’re humbled in life that’s when you really look around and realize, ‘This is just crazy.'”
We talk about similar situations for a few more hours. I’ll be out of Tahoe, out of California, by noon tomorrow, but it’s been so good living here.