Eating Shit on Haight

Uploaded on February 28, 2024

For visitors to San Francisco – upper Haight is a great place to visit, especially if you’re a skateboarder. When a friend and I went to SF to meet up with our other friend who lives up there now and skate with him and his friends, we found a motel to stay at in the Richmond district, and on a beautiful Saturday in late February with blue skies and soft warm winds, we set out to hit as many spots as we could.

We mobbed from Richmond to Upper Haight via Golden Gate Park and warmed up at Waller – an asphalt DIY skatepark with ledges and whatever rails or home made ramps that locals brought to the spot. I picked up an iced coffee and we shared a joint as we warmed our bodies up for the day to come.

Once we were warmed up, we went to FTC on Haight, said what’s up to the guys working there, got new bearings, set them up, and then went on our way. We mobbed for a few blocks, and if you’ve ever been to SF, you know that no matter where you are and what direction you’re going, mobbing a few blocks means arriving at a hill.

I was hyped – it looked like a perfect hill – not as daunting as any of the famous SF hills, but a big one. One that I could go fast on. One that carried risk of getting speed wobbles and spinning out, but one that I felt good about bombing it. So we pushed and pushed and pushed, and the hill began. We picked up speed – we were bombing.

There are three successive hills on Haight going toward the Mission. Each one gets steeper, and after the first one, we hit a stoplight that turned green right before we got to it. We hit a flat section and flew through the intersection. It felt amazing – there aren’t any cars stopped here, and there was no fear of a guy taking a right on red, and no pedestrians or bikers in sight. In a second we were through the flat section and onto the second portion.

The second hill is much steeper. As soon as you start on that second hill you feel it. Excitement and adrenaline rushes through your body and now you’re really flying. I was going faster than I was comfortable with, but I felt strong on my board. I didn’t have any wobbles, the speed felt good, and I was having a blast. Ahead we were going towards a stoplight. I was halfway down the hill and the walk signal said 6. I was going to be a little bit late going through the stop light and Lucas was behind me, using his non-dominant foot to slow himself down. I wasn’t, and I wasn’t going to. 5 If I could powerslide on asphalt going 20 miles an hour I would have, but that would certainly cause me to crash 4 out. At this point I realize I have no choice but to fly through the intersection. The stop light is going to hit 0, but I’ll have another couple seconds before any light turns green, so I should be good 3 to get through the intersection. People are starting to walk past the sidewalk and onto the street, looking up to see if there are any cars, but they only see my crazy ass. I’m gonna 2 make it but hopefully no one runs out into the middle of the stree- wobble. Fuck, I was thinking of what was happening next, I lost my focus, and my strength in my core. My board got away from me wobble wobble, fuck, I’m falling, but I can probably catch myself, it’s second nature to me. Nope, my body has nowhere near enough strength to bring myself to center compared the force of my inertia. My left hand digsinto the ground, swinging the right side of my body towards the ground. My right arm scrapes the asphalt as my fist punches the ground, and my elbow does a long scrape. I’m able to keep pushing myself to my right side and I flip over, now I’m on my back. I slide down the asphalt on my back and slam into a parked car. I’m good, looking back up towards the top of the hill and my board slams into a parked car’s tire.

I look back towards the bottom of the hill, I’m about 20 feet away from the crosswalk, and everyone at the crosswalk looks at me like I just got shot. I bolt up and walk back to my friend in embarrassment as I pick up my board and tuck my tail as I avoid making eye contact with my friend or anyone who just saw me eat shit. I flew too close to the sun and I made a fool of myself publicly.

I tore up my left hand – my palm is torn up and three of my fingers have deep gouges on the inside of them where the initial impact was made. I have road rash on my inner left forearm and a scrape on my left elbow. My right fist is torn up, it looks like I have track marks on it on my fingers, knuckles, palm, and wrist. I have huge road rash on my inner right forearm and scrapes on my outer right forearm, along with a bit of road rash. I have a gash on my right elbow. I have a gash on my right side love handle. My knees are torn the fuck up. My left knee has a scrape, but my right knee has a gash and a scrape in two places.

My favorite pants which I told myself I wouldn’t skate in have two holes in either knee and the pocket is torn.

My friend says something to the effect of “holy shit dude”. I get my board and by the time I have my bearings together the light is green again, and we go down the next hill. I use my foot to slow myself down as we go down the hill at a safe pace.

At the next stoplight, I tell him I need to find a CVS. I don’t want to open my phone, so we just keep going down Haight and two blocks later there’s a CVS. I enter the store and look to my right and consider if I should steal the bandaids or buy them. I’ve heard that stealing is basically legal in SF but there’s a guard and we make eye contact. He sees how I’m dressed and that I have a skateboard and he’s on high alert. Fuck this dweeb simping for a corporation, but maybe he’s one of these guys like “I’m tired of all the shit we have to get our city back!” Which I kind of respect, so I decide I’m not going to make another shitty decision and decide to buy the shit. I buy isopropyl alcohol and a set of three size small kit of bandaids and an 8 pack of big band-aids. At the counter I ask for paper towels and she gives me a roll. While she scans the barcodes I have to tell her not to touch the bandaid packs because I noticed I got a little bit of blood on them, which is embarrassing. The person at the register is like “what the fuck..” I pay and leave and the guard who’s way too close to me tells me to have a nice day.

I get out of the store and sit down on a round bench to start bandaging myself. I start by taking the paper towels and dabbing any cuts and scrapes that are particularly bloody. My friend tells me to “put some fucking alcohol” on the wounds which pisses me off so I tell him “I’m fucking going to” and that I need to get any excess blood off first.

I put alcohol on the paper towels and I clean out all of the wounds and bandage them. Ripping the paper off the bandaids is repetitive and I try to put as many of the bandaid wrappers in my pocket, since there’s no trash can, but they keep falling out and I’m littering all of these bandaid wrappers all over the street, whatever. It takes super long and I keep finding new cuts and scrapes and have to keep reapplying alcohol and reopening boxes that I closed.

As I’m finishing up bandaging the cuts the box of bandaids catches a gust of wind and falls facedown, spilling all of the bandaids. My friend helps me pick up all of the band aids which is humiliating. I’m not good. I need help, and everyone around me knows it. I hate this.

I’m patched up, and we go to the next spot. I’m mostly good, it kinda hurts to push on my board because of the contact between my knee and my pants, but I’m still able to pop and do tricks.

Over the next couple days I try to shower and clean myself around my wounds. Days later, I’ve returned to LA one of the road rashes reduces in pain enough for me to really scrub all the dirt out of it in the shower. It’s mostly clean but a little bit of dirt comes up in a little ball, a piece of SF asphalt and grime is here in my fingers, in my shower in LA.

As Silicon valley companies are bringing headsets that transport us to any environment that we so choose to market, instead of living in their higher plane of digital existence, I’ve chosen to fall on the ground on the streets that they’ve paid for. What I can do on their Macbook has afforded me the motel, the skateboard, the shower. I will probably always be cleaning the shit that they’ve created, while looking at the shit with wonder. I don’t know why.