I’m a relative newcomer to Sebastopol, and I’m as fond of it as I am of every hippie community I’ve ever lived in or visited. And that list is long—Santa Cruz, Berkeley, Boulder, Bolinas, Arcata, Santa Fe, Taos, Jerome, Bisbee, Orcas. The Boomer hippies settled in beautiful places, and I go out of my way to visit these places and live in them whenever I can.
But for all its artistic allure, Sebastopol leaves me somewhat baffled. My walks past Skategarden Park during the pandemic are perplexing. On any given sunny afternoon the skatepark is awash with a sea of teenagers … sans masks. Is the local skate scene a super-spreader event waiting to happen? Actually, judging by the sheer number of kids, the event would have already happened if it was going to. But what do I know? I’m a paranoid Gen X writer, not an epidemiologist.
Built in 2008, Skategarden Park is located in downtown Sebtown, on Laguna Park Way, across from The Barlow. It contains an elaborate, 15,000-square-foot skate structure in addition to a playground and community garden plots. There is also an “art wall” that is covered with colorful graffiti murals.
My own skateboarding career began on my driveway in 1976, on sheet-metal trucks and clay wheels, and ended soon thereafter on a fiberglass board with polyurethane wheels, back when the notion of global pandemic was B-movie sci-fi. But I still maintain a fondness for the sport, well over 40 years later. And Skategarden Park seems like an early-Gen X-er dream-come-true, with every conceivable curve, dip, rail, ramp and drop I never had the chance to tackle at age 8. To the kids who skate there: I wish you good health in all ways. I will watch from a distance—respectfully and without being a creeper—from behind my tried-and-true N95.—MF