Lately I’ve been rapidly filling in the gaps of life experience that I seemed to have missed out on for some reason. Speaking of gaps, I had a five-hour gap period until my next class, leaving plenty of time for me to waste. I didn’t want to waste it as I usually do, so I left the comfort of the small Santa Monica college community and ventured out to Venice Beach which was only a quick ride away. I was riding my long board and carving down the long-stretched hill, feeling the breeze and literally surfing on the sidewalk. I felt like I was that one guy in Lords of Dogtown.
I skated into the strip of the Venice Boardwalk by the far end and started to observe things that I passed by. I came to a realization. The culture represented in Venice Beach is not only self-defeating to its inhabitants in a societal aspect, but the ideals that it propagates are contradictory to the lifestyle that it represents. In other words, Venice is a breeding ground for self-righteous leeches of society; while this is true, the rich tourists who go there see the American Dream: people working with what they have to try and make a better life for themselves (i.e., the random vendors selling their wares).
I look to my left and I see this homeless guy. All dressed in rags. He was tripping heavily on some sort of drugs. The new American Apparel store is apparently in business. Outside of the store is a mannequin dressed in hardly anything, laying down in a sexual pose. This mannequin represents a culture where people are told that they need to look a certain way. This guy was lying down next to the mannequin, humping it and talking to it and eventually making out with it. How ironic? The fake person, the person that society tells us we need to be like (rich enough to afford American Apparel in the first place and skinny enough to fit into it); was connected to a guy who had failed at societal expectations. This store was new to Venice Beach and was in business, but the business appeared to be quite dirty. Perhaps the guy had nothing going for him and resorted to a world of darkness and drugs? Black and White. Complete opposites.
Is that what this place represents? Does it truly breed lost cause?
I ventured over to the new skate park. It was newly renovated and to be honest it looked fucking sick. I wish that I had brought with me a smaller, more suitable board so that I may have partook. My laptop was good enough for me. I sat there smoking a cigarette right under the no smoking sign. I didn’t care, this was Venice Beach. Nobody else was following the rules of society, why should I?
I noticed that the old skate park, the perfectly good one was deserted. Nobody was skating on it. I didn’t get it. The new one was jam-packed; yet nobody wanted to go elsewhere for (as assumed) fear of leaving the pack of the other skaters. Nobody wanted to be “that guy”.
I feel like the new skate park is meant to inspire young skaters to someday get sponsored and make a better life for themselves. . The ones who don’t get sponsored and continue to skate are skating for a lost cause. They most likely will never make a career out of the sport, yet they dedicate their entire lives to it. They all skate and pose for the audience as it is housed in an enclosure with safety bars. Like a fucking zoo. People watching and taking pictures. Watching skaters make it or break it. Watching them, as they portray your typical Californian. The wealthy tourists go shop at the American Apparel, buy the lousy, crude t-shirts from the various vendors and eat the horrible oily pizza from the small food stands, they laugh at the medical marijuana evaluation clinics and applaud at the street performers. They want to act like a local. The reality is, the locals of Venice don’t shop at the American Apparel, or buy the stupid tshirts or eat the lousy pizza. They do drugs, commune with their other drug doing peers and essentially live off the handouts of the tourists with deep pockets that want to be like them. A stereotype. Is that what people want to be. For people to come and travel to Venice like myself and spectate?