I was taking the metro the other day when I saw an incredible sight; I saw the oldest skate-boarder in the world. As the door opened I saw him lying on the floor like a lanky 16 year old teenager with his backpack behind his head as a makeshift pillow and a National Geographic magazine on his chest. His eyes were closed as if he were sleeping.
Evidently he had chosen to lie there for when I arrived there were seats available. He had deliberately chosen not to sit in them, thus making a statement and signaling to people that he had chosen to lead a different sort of life.
He wore a gray shirt with the sleeves cut-off with a black short and brown shoes. Below his cap I could see his gray hair and in my opinion, he must have been well over 45 years old. The glasses he wore told me that he was not in his prime anymore. But of course he could have been wearing them all his life, who knows.
I looked at his muscles; they were the muscles of an active man who was accustomed to exercise. His legs were those of a runner or cyclist and not those of a flabby and sedentary 45 year old. His arms were well built but less so than his legs, indicating to me that he was not into lifting weights. His whole body cried out that here was an athlete, not only a weekend warrior.
His skateboard was on his right side lazily lying next to him and protecting him like a shield. I half expected to see Excalibur somewhere near him.
Not once did he look up to the passengers seated in front of him. He was totally oblivious to mankind, an independent man he was.
Finally we arrived at the end of the line. I stood up at the same time that he did and once again I looked at his well toned muscles. That he was in top shape was without a doubt. Maybe he was a man that had skateboarded all his life and had refused to give in to time and its ravages. Maybe he just did not bother looking back, endlessly comparing himself to his younger self, that self that did not exist anymore. He was a skateboarder, and that was all that mattered to him, whether he was 25 or 45. He probably had enjoyed his sport for a long time and had no intention of giving it up, even if time marched on.
Perhaps we too should be more like him. We too should not be so prompt to obey when the man in the mirror tells us that we are too old for this or that, and that perhaps we should take it easy. We should firmly say to that man in the mirror to take a hike, or better yet, to go on one. Literally. Perhaps then the adventurous spirit of our youth will re-awaken from its slumbering, just waiting for the master to return.