Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you I overthink things. I’m a thinker … to a fault, I guess. Weeklong road trips without music don’t faze me: I spin into a mental hole-the framework of it all-and I scratch notes on gas receipts and napkins. Not really answers, just notes that don’t mean anything when I find them again years later.

So if you hit me with a simple question, like, “What does it mean to be a snowboarder?” I’ve got responses the length of toilet paper rolls.

Snowboarding has always been a sort of societal niche and a safe haven-for anyone. Skating was the same way once, and punk rock before that ended. The scene is bigger now, and man, if you stumbled into certain Northwest cities, you’d think there wasn’t an individual left. But then, snowboarding doesn’t really happen in cities.

It doesn’t happen in junior high school auditoriums, either. You see, I have never danced. I don’t. I sometimes move my head a little bit or tap a foot, but that’s it. In school, they’d line the boys up along one wall of the auditorium and girls along the other. We’d walk toward each other, and the person you bumped into would be your partner. That’s how they did it back then, because no way would you ever ask someone to dance-too embarrassing. Well, I was too shy or self-conscious to even move. I just could never do it. I accepted that I wasn’t born with rhythm-that I didn’t have it and never would. And I sure as hell would never dance.

I went through all these years-the ducktail years and the Bones Brigade years-being deathly afraid of school dances. Once it was up to me, I never went to another. Instead, I’d skate the parking lot at Peninsula Center or get onto the roof of the gym with a couple of friends and spit through the vents as they spun around.

What does being a snowboarder mean to me, then? It means I can dance, just not in the same way everyone else can. I don’t have to be scared when I hear the beginning of a Styx or REO Speedwagon song. And I even have some rhythm.

Now you know why they don’t let me write much around here-I always overthink it.

– Kurt Hoy