So I surfed and though it was small my stoke was unimaginable. On my first wave I dragged my already broken left big toe across the deck of my 6'4" cherry red fish. Needless to say it sent the sharpest pain through my entire body. I had tapped my toes up before I booted up so I wasn't ignorant to the fact that this would be an issue today.
The next few waves were a literal wash of pain coming from my foot and my out of shape arms and stomach not syncing up properly thus resulting in a poor pop up, which would subsequently result in me dragging my toe, again and again. Through the cont. pain and the 50 degree water the pain in my foot seemed to dull itself out and left to me concentrate on my pop up. Every time I went to pop it seems as if there was a big watery hand wrapped around my feet that would hold me back just enough to delay my pop and i would then go racing down the face of the wave with both of my feet over the dual skegs of my board. This lasted for a little while but i broke the mental block and remembered what Nate had told me one when i was in the position before: "When you pop up make an A-Frame with your body. Don't let your hands go from the rails until your feet are planted, and for a second your body will form an A-Frame and then only after your feet are planted can you let your hands go." Obviously this wouldn't work in all situations but the words have always helped me break my mental blocks of being out of shape, or cold, or frustrated or just downright discourage from not performing as well as I know I can perform. So I took his words, nailed the frame and skirted left around some white water, slid across the shoulder of the the small dying wave and pointed the nose of my girl back to the horizon to return back to peak to find another one. A smile had come across my cold, wind and sun reddened face.
Alone on the south side of the 56th street Jetty in Newport, Cali. I tried to block out all that drove me to question who I am. When that smile finally came across my face is around when those familiar thoughts and feelings came about. The shit that drove me to surf today, the shit that drove me to find my escape. It's work, it's women; it's family, it's loneliness; it's success, it's flailing; it's moving, it's being static: it's the abundance of one and the lack of the other. Today I combat these feelings by singing out loud to myself. I alternate between random Bob Marley songs and Billy Joel's "Downeaster Alexia," the ballad of a New England commercial fisherman's plight. And it works to an extent, I begin to surf better and even manage to try and throw my fins and tail off the top of a waist high wave, but would stall from lack of speed and have my face find the water with a relative quickness.
Some 25 yards south of me there were two teenagers, thankfully out of earshot, and on the beach a couple sat huddled together watching the three of us for about 35 minutes. When I left the water there was a woman in her early 30's standing alone of the jetty and we exchanged eye contact for several steps and then I composed this exchange in my head:
I started the exchange with what i thought to be her thoughts:
"Why do you surf alone?"
"Have you ever walked a beach so barren that when you turned back to where it was you called home that the only footprints were those you had left on your way out?"
"No, I've never seen such a beach with no one else on it."
"Well that's how I feel when I surf alone. Like I am the only person on that beach, just walking back and forth over the footsteps, happy in knowing that they are mine and that they were created out of respect and love."
It ended there for i was back upon my car and now under the clock to get to work. Work, the spirit killer, wiping the asses of the rich so i can stay middle class in both monetary aspects and as well as respect. These people think that their gold American Express cards allow them to disrespect you at free will. For the first few hours I'm still stoked, I'm helpful and fast with my job, but by the end of the night I have no smile left anywhere in my being and I am ready to drink it all away again. I have a glass of wine with dinner as I sit at a table on the floor. I close my eyes, and try and get back there, I try and leave the suit and tie and return back to the ripped wetsuit and the booties, who I really am. It doesn't work, and I feel as if I have failed myself and my inspiration from earlier in the day.
Alone in my apartment I crave to go to the kitchen for a glass of scotch or to the store for some beer or to the bar for a Manhattan and it's driving me crazy. Dan has sent me an e-mail telling me he's proud of me but saddened that I'm where I am. He suggests tea over booze and though I know he is right and it is what I would eventually do later in the evening I just wanted to yell at him for making me make the right decision, the one you never want to make. And I am alone tonight, no roommate, no lady caller, both had broken their word. Not that it matters, and not that this is the first time but I had wanted company this evening. I'm almost at the point of chewing my teeth and it seems like there is no alternative than getting 14 sheets to the wind in record time just to pass out for i can not sleep anymore. I find 4 in the morning far too often whether it be from excessive drinking or just pure insomnia. Though this is not like Dan's insomnia where there is no sleep, this is the secondary version, where there is no sleep at night but through the day. This fears me tonight, I want to sleep, I want to wake up before noon, I want to surf again tomorrow. I want to not feel chained to the bottle. So I walk to the kitchen, make a huge pan of pop-corn, turn the kettle on and pull out some herbal tea. I walk back to my bedroom with these things and then head to my bathroom and swallow two sleeping pills. One vice for another I guess but I'll go with cliche of the lesser of two evils at this point. I watch Boondock Saints, drink my tea, eat my pop-corn and wake up at 9 in the morning. Still alive and not craving insanity.
Canoeing and hiking in Maine with the BSA
7 years ago