ZAROSH EAGLESTONE IS A MODERN DAY NOMAD. He is as close as you can come to a skateboarding Gypsy. When I called him to interview him he was sitting on the side of interstate 70 just outside Denver Colorado. As we talked I could hear the noise of the busy interstate in the background. He was in the process of trying to get a ride West. I asked him where he was headed; “I am trying to get back to San Diego” was all he could tell me during this first interview because 2 minutes into our conversation an elderly lady stopped to give him a ride. He called me back when she dropped him off 4 miles down the road. I wondered if he was ever going to get back to town, at this rate, 4 miles at a time.
This text is a result of several phone calls with Zaroche Eaglestone on his hitchhiking trip back to the West Coast. The time I last talked to him he was outside a rail yard searching for a freight train to jump aboard that was headed westward. When I didn’t hear from him for a couple of days, I did as I always do, imagine the worst has happened. I figured he was bludgeoned to death and gang raped by a crew of hobos aboard that freight train he was trying to catch. Luckily I would later learn that this wasn’t the case.
Zaroche’s parents are full on hippies, not as in the, “60’s were rad but now I am an accountant” kind of way but the real deal, dirty feet, hippies who lived in a cabin up in the hills of Big Sur. His parent’s home birthed him in that cabin and refused to get him a birth certificate for fear that he could be drafted into the military. Now he is having problems getting a passport because there is no proof that he was ever born. Fuck dude, Zarosh is so gnarly he doesn’t even exist! I think having hippie parents should be a legitimate excuse for not having proper documentation. If you are abroad you should be able to tell the authorities that your parents are hippies and they should be all, “Oh, okay that’s cool, enjoy your stay”.
The next call I received from Zarosh Eaglestone found him somewhere near the California boarder in a boxcar of a freight train. He wanted me to record the sounds of the train while he held his cell phone into the air. “Ah, yeah, I can record this” I said, “but this is for a print magazine, I don’t think the sound of a train would translate to print very well.” All I could make out was noise anyway. “Nah, I want to maybe use it in one of my videos”, he corrected me. I got to watch one of his videos when we hung out one night. He’ll sprinkle old skate footage of himself, no matter how bad it is, in with interracial porn, the cookie monster, and his cousin bombing hills on a dirt board. Some of the footage is even captured by holding a camcorder to a TV screen for lack of proper equipment. He tells me, “They ain’t no dvds”. The videos are so bad that they are good. In the end, they wind up looking like valid pieces of art.
Since I have touched on the subject of art and Zarosh I should tell you about his obsession with the Platypus. Zarosh draws these crazy platypus creatures on everything. “What’s up with the Platypus?” I asked him, “I try to keep the Platpus underground,” “Okay but why are you so into that creature?” “They’re rad! They have these beaks and they have spikes in their butt and shit. They’re pretty crazy.” That’s cool. I didn’t know they had spikes in their butts.
Everyone I spoke to about Zarosh had some crazy story about seeing him on the road somewhere far away. He’ll have a ride home but when he is ready to go he’ll just walk out to the nearest freeway and stick out his thumb. The author Tom Robbins writes in his novel Even Cow Girls Get the Blues.
“In the age of the Automobile – and nothing has shaped our culture like the motorcar-there have been many great drivers but only one great passenger.”
Zarosh explained that no matter where he is or what he is doing he will just end up dropping everything and just have to go. “It always just goes back to it”. When I was a kid my cousin was shot and killed by a hitchhiker so I have always been kind of sketched on picking up hitchhikers. I asked him if he had encountered any sketchy situations while hitchhiking. He told me, “Nah, it’s chill. Just sometimes you got to just jump out. You’ve got to tell them, I AM GETTING OUT RIGHT HERE!” “Most of the time you can talk your way out of any situation.” Maybe Zarosh has no fear about rolling into crazy huge shit because he has experience of jumping out of cars at high speeds? “Do you have any advise for heads that want to hitch hike long distances?” I asked. “You don’t ever want to tell whoever picks you up where your final destination is. You might not want to be in a car with that person for 1000 miles.”
When Zarosh finally made it back to town we made plans to meet up at the Washington Street skate park. When Kreigs and I got there Zarosh was nowhere in sight. We skated the new pool in the back of the park for a minute then I decided it would be best for me to enter lurk mode. Washington Street is heavy bro. It was like the bowels of hell under that bridge. I cracked open a beer and sat down in the corner where all the Hessians go to pee and vomit. Into my peripheral came Zarosh rolling into the entrance of the park. He proceeded to destroy every inch of concrete with ease. When he was done with the annihilation he did what he does best and became a passenger in my truck.
We spent the rest of the evening driving around collecting his various possessions in preparation for his next hitchhiking voyage. He was planning to leave in the morning for Carmel. We wound up closing out the night drinking beers and watching some of his videos at his brother’s place. The next morning when I awoke in my nice cozy bed Zarosh Eaglestone was standing on an on-ramp to the Interstate 5 holding a piece of cardboard. Chances are you will someday see him on a freeway on-ramp somewhere. Do yourself a favor and stop to pick him up.