Dear skateboarders of Isla Vista

We see you rollin’…

Dear Skateboarders of Isla Vista,

You terrify me.

Let me explain. I’m walking on campus, minding my own business, enjoying the beautiful day without a worry in the world, and then I hear you. The faint sound of your devil boards’ wheels carelessly cruising over the sidewalk cracks. The soundtrack to my worst nightmares.  Closer and closer, I hear you approaching. I don’t know where you’re coming from, but I know you’re coming. My body freezes. My mind is racing.


I need to evaluate my options. I need to prepare for what’s next.

Do I dare face you head on? Do I assert my dominance in this dance with death? Or, do I relent and take the safe route, stopping in my tracks and waiting for the storm to pass? Time, time, I NEED MORE TIME. But it’s too late. I’ve spotted you. You are heading straight towards me, and you are not backing down. Neither am I.

I will not admit defeat. For a brief moment, I think that maybe, just maybe, we can peacefully coexist. The sidewalk is big enough for the both of us, right?



Optimistically, naively, I look to you for any sign of direction. But you just stare at me, blankly. GIVE ME A SIGN, DAMMIT. I step to the left, but my fear of commitment moves me to shift right. Every move I make, you mirror in kind. Your ambiguous and unpredictable directionality leaves me defenseless.

I try to remain calm, but I know I am not fooling you. You can sense my fear. You know the match is yours to win. My fate rests in your hands. Tell me, what is it like to hold that much power?


We are now just inches apart. This is it, I think. This is how I die. The dreaded moment has finally come. I close my eyes – I can’t watch. The sound of your approach envelopes me and my muscles tense, waiting for impact. I feel a sudden gust of wind brush across my face.

Am I dead?  Is it over?

I reluctantly open my eyes to find that you have vanished. If I listen closely, I can still hear the familiar sound of your rolling wheels fading into the distance. Part of me wants to look for you.


But I don’t.

There is no use in looking back. I’m safe now; I need to keep moving forward.

I have a dream that one day pedestrians and skateboarders will live together in a world of harmony and mutual understanding, but until then, do you think we could work out some hand signals or something?


Irrationally frightened bystander

UC Santa Barbara national-us