Speed Nannies

Writing about music. May I do that? Can I do that?

Once again, not able to sleep — I’m convinced that more consistent yoga will solve not only my lower back problems as it has twice before but also, now, will make my neck feel better.

Karen says “Ibuprofen,” but I hear “yet more pills.” So I’m up writing. Yoga for the fingers. Downward-facing palms.

And you’re also the recipient of a musing that comes on the heels of 45 minutes of checking social media. Caution: slippery road ahead.

My former fitness trainer, Alex Lauterstein, who is also an architect and world-class DJ — the Talent Truck made a long stop at his house not long after he was born — created this piece during the lockdown in NYC:

DJ | Music Producer | Alex Lauterstein

I’d listen to Alex’s music while skateboarding around Central Park.

For those who don’t know, Central Park has a 6-mile loop on the inside circumference. The park is a rectangle, so it’s not really a “circumference” in the strictest sense, but you know what I mean. At 103rd Street or so, there’s a cut-across, making the loop a little over five miles. (This cut-across is infamous for the rape case involving the so-called “Central Park 5.” Now, two marked police vehicles typically mate along the way, the officers ensuring safety going forward.) It’s also a really boring part of the park to skate. There was, however, a tree bough hanging over the road about midway through, and I’d duck down as if I were getting tubed on a backside wave.

Alex was my trainer. Rippled abdomen that most 19th century housewives could have easily used for laundry duty. I learned from him that when trainers tell you, “two more reps,” it usually means they’ve forgotten the count. (Sorry, Alex, didn’t mean to give away the trade secret. I think I guessed that one, though, because it was always “two more.” Never three or one.)

His mixes were typically 45+ minutes long, often used for international fashion shows like Vera Wang’s. Once around the Park with the cut-across took me around 35 minutes. The full loop isn’t much fun since the “Big Hill” on the west side is so brutal you have to run up it holding the skateboard, and the hill going around Lasker Rink doesn’t have new asphalt, so it’s harder for the wheels to find purchase. In 1996, I was skating that part and got a little too cocky. My board spun out and I landed on what seemed every exposed part of my body. I would have landed also on my face, were it not for the lid of my baseball cap bending down over it. Since then, I’ve worn a helmut.

If I went two loops (10 miles), which was my max, I’d listen to an Alex mix and then some of the musicians he turned me on to: a wider selection of Seal than I’d known, Soda Stereo, William Orbit — perhaps my favorite and pretty much the best stuff to skate to — Beth Orton (often produced by Orbit), Zero 7, and more.

In Kerrville, there’s a River Trail, but it’s generally flat. The “Hill Country” is for cars, not skateboards. I’ve considered skating some of the newly paved roads (i.e. highways) around town — Loop 534 north of the light at the top of the hill; the road behind Lowe’s; Medina Highway as it turns downhill into South Sidney Baker — during early weekend mornings when traffic is light or non-existent, but I don’t trust drivers here to be skater-friendly. They’re bad enough in New York with their SmartCars.

Here they have trucks.

The River Trail is a several-mile-long and snaking concrete path with sections that annoyingly go bumpety-bump under my wheels, and it has slightly raised paving stones to slow you down every so often. Lack of new asphalt and the presence of Speed Nannies are what make me flirt with other surfaces.



My custom longboard before one of hundreds and hundreds of trips around Central Park.

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