Here’s a news story from Kansas City, KS about a couple thieves who stole 30 parking blocks from a high end furniture retailer. “Even police are confused,” says Cliff Judy, the young potato-faced reporter. The parking blocks are basically worthless, and very heavy.
They are also great for learning no-complies and blunt slides. We can forgive Cliff Judy for not knowing that. Skateboarders value all sorts of useless shit, and it can be quite confusing, looking in from outside.
The parking block story reminds me of the time I almost ruined my life by trying to steal a Triton barrier from the City and County of San Francisco, as a 19 year old.
I was coming home from a Giants game with my friend Nick, rolling down Third Street in my parents’ MPV when we finally saw our opportunity to snag a Triton. But first: a little background.
Third Street doesn’t go with the rest of SF’s numbered street grid: it starts out parallel with Second and Fourth Streets, in Downtown San Francisco, and then wraps all the way around the waterfront, running perpendicular to the other numbered streets, all the way to Hunters Point — home of RBL Posse, 11/5, and the Giants old stadium. At the time, the city was busy replacing the 3rd Street’s notorious 15 bus line with the T-line light rail. San Francisco was fond of using Triton barriers to cordon off most large public works projects. The orange and white barriers are made of plastic and are therefore lightweight, but quite sturdy when filled with water or sand or both. They’re easy to shuttle around the city, but effective at keeping CalTrans workers or whoever safe from passing cars.
Also, Triton barriers are made of plastic, and when turned on their side make for an amazing portable skatespot. Flip through any skateboarding magazine from the early aughts, and you’ll see the telltale orange and white everywhere. They were Northern California’s answer to SoCal’s ubiquitous plastic picnic tables of the late 90’s. They were like skateboarding on butter.
I had to have one.
My friends and I always had a plan in the back of our minds to go on a mission to steal a Triton barrier with one of our parents’ cars and bring it back to the neighborhood elementary school and kind of keep it in a corner, so that we could skate it whenever we pleased. Boardsliding the wooden benches had gotten old to us. Looking back on it, this was somewhat unfair to Alvarado Elementary (skate nerd side note: Rob Collinson worked at Alvarado’s afterschool program and saw me land my first kickflip.) but that’s neither here nor there because this never happened.
So, leaving the Giants game, going down Third towards Army, we were surrounded by Triton barriers. At around 20th Street, on the backside of Potrero Hill, we spotted a bunch of barriers on the sidewalk, and agreed that its location off of Third was cutty enough to avoid detection. We put all the seats down, and just squeezed a Triton into the back of the van — I couldn’t even use the rearview. How in the fuck we thought we could get this massive fluorescent orange thing halfway across town without drawing attention is now beyond me. If I recall correctly, we had planned on taking side streets over Potrero Hill, through the Mission, instead of taking Army.
This didn’t work. Immediately after loading the barrier into the van, we got to the next corner, and there was an SFPD cruiser at the opposite end of the intersection. I panicked and hit my left blinker in the middle of the intersection, and took the left on Tennessee. I didn’t want to drive by them with the barrier so visible, but my left turn probably made it more visible. Spotlights lit up my car. FUCK!
I knew I was screwed, so I pulled the van over at closest spot, which happened to be between two trucks that were parked parallel to a loading dock attached to a warehouse on the street. Immediately after putting the car in park, a third truck pulled up alongside my van, making me basically invisible to the street. I didn’t make much of this at the time. I waited. And waited. I assumed the cops had seen where I pulled over. Somehow, they hadn’t.
Nick peeked out the back of the van and said he saw the cops circling the intersection behind us, but it seemed like they couldn’t find us. We waited for a good ten or fifteen minutes, and I can’t remember now if we had to ask the truck driver to move or if he did so on his own, but once we pulled away from the loading dock we got that Triton barrier the fuck out of my van as quickly as possible. I was beside myself.
We drove back home up Army Street, incredulous that a truck driver inadvertently saved me from all sorts of trouble. Somewhere around Florida Street an SFPD cruiser got side-by-side with my car. I swear they looked at me sideways, but with no fluorescent barrier in my car there was probably little they could do.
Looking back on it, I probably used up all my good luck on that one day. I wonder what the cops thought I wanted with a Triton barrier.
Link via QS