Just as I had suspected, the new toy for mom took us out on a field adventure. It took her maybe 27 minutes to decide that is what we needed to do with the afternoon. I was totally playing with my cars too when she whisked me away while flashing that goofy grin of hers. Not cool. Not cool. We were going to a bunch of carved wooden poles when she got excited by a skate park and all the cool graffiti there. Don’t we have enough graffiti shots?? Well, there were a few skater dudes there that stared at us for awhile, and then started talking to my mom. Here’s what momma has to say about the encounter.
“Today I was so excited to take my new-to-me toy, a Canon 40 camera, and get some great shots for the site. I had heard of some totem poles in the south part of town, so Nater Tater and I headed that way. We were minutes away when I got sidetracked (surprise!!) by a mostly vacant skate park with pretty cool graffiti art. I figured the kids in there would probably just ignore me and I’d ignore them as I snapped a few pictures. However, as I entered, the kids, who looked a little rough around the edges, just stopped skating and stared as though I was trespassing. My plan was to ignore, but Nate, ever the charmer, decided to engage them in baby talk. At first they didn’t respond…but when I told them we didn’t mean to interrupt, we just wanted some photos of the great graffiti art, they flashed big smiles and started pointing out different tags. There was so much pride in their voices. More than that, there was so much respect. Respect for me and Nate in the way they talked (they apologized for swearing), respect for the art and creativity so evident, and respect for other skaters who had died. They told me the stories behind some of the tags, how long they had been skating at the park (they were just 15 and 17), and showed me the tags of skaters who had passed away. Those tags are a memorial, and no one is allowed to tag over them, while some won’t even skate over them out of respect.
I left the skate park humbled because those “punks” showed me more respect than I showed them. I felt so grateful for the reminder of avoiding snap judgments and relating to people with respect. Although I got great pictures of graffiti and later of some cool totem pole carving, it was the encounter at the skate park that made my day.”