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And even if there had been, the kind of personality that 's drawn to skateboarding is the kind of personality that's not given to sociability. My knees should have been bent, body low, arms out to the sides. I stood on top of Russian Hill in my underwear, ankles cuffed together. So for years I would skate up hills, which is much harder and slower than sprinting up them. In a crowded city, no one on foot or bike or in a car can ever hope to keep up with you. In a paved landscape skateboarders are both dangerous and invisible, inhabitants of the interstices—rats, the city a series of tunnels and chutes, skaters perfectly adapted.

Take the following pictures from old magazines: a girl in jeans, high tops, and T-shirt, arms outspread for balance, high up on a half pipe with a floppy white prom bow in her hair.

The boy whose father takes him swimming, the girl whose mother takes her to the theater, children whose parents do things with them—these are not skateboarders.

It took off for real in the 1970s, a combination of surfers without waves and pools without water, drained by the California drought.

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