Monday, August 15, 2016

Notes On An Abbreviated Surf Vacation

First Day: I drag my finless nine foot soft top past my son’s leathery surf camp instructor. He quips with condescending glee “Missing something? Fins maybe?” He’s right, in a way. The waves are junk and trying to spin around would be an exercise in more frustration than it’s worth. I plug the fins in and smash my board repeatedly into the Sagaponak shorey.

Memory is a file we mislabel expectation.

Along the thoroughfares of the easternmost end of Long Island, the sense of entitlement wafts across concrete sidewalks like stray air conditioning from open shop doors.

Second Day: I drag my finned-up nine foot soft top past my son’s leathery surf camp instructor. He quips with condescending glee “I see you’ve added fins today!” He’s right, in a way. The waves are worse than yesterday but slightly more compressive in the shorey. I knee paddle into multiple suicide rail grab sandpaper blowouts.

My left knee wobbles. My right ankle crackles. My right shoulder becomes sore. My neck stiffens up. I fart. My wife tells me to brush my teeth.

We buy George Clooney tequila. We drink George Clooney tequila. We tell each other what we think continuously. The communication of our opinion is incessant.

Third Day: I wake up a little late. My wife has gone for a run. When she comes back she informs me she has jogged down to the beach, taken off all her clothes and had a morning swim in the nude. She then warns me that tomorrow she is going to kick me out of bed early so I don't forget to go surfing.

I am introduced to a man who after living his adult life as a corporate lawyer quit his lucrative career at forty one to roam the globe, exploring cities he'd only read about in magazines and newspapers. Someone asks him if he'd be free in a couple weeks for dinner. "No" he says, "I'll be in Machu Picchu."

More George Clooney tequila. An old friend shows up, falls off a bicycle and shows up. We jump into a pool without clothes on.

Fourth Day: A sleepless night a missed early morning surf an entire day spent body whomping in the Atlantic shorepound.

Fifth Day: I surf gorgeous, consequentially inconsequential shin high breakers. I surf the nine foot pink soft top without fins, spinning around, often in a stance just like that old monkey piggy bank.

I surf with a friend who has suffered a series of immense losses; compounding traumas washing over, and through, his body. We raise our hands and splash the water and quietly dedicate, silently remembering.

Sorrow is a fractal. Each person's sorrow the continuous wail of our deepest recollections; a biological pattern that does not cease. Lobsters, they say, could theoretically live forever, their cell renewal a flawless rebirth. Sorrow is like this.


Anonymous said...

I too am over 40 and surf the finless soft top! jack coleman has caught on to something kinda fun. great posts! I really enjoy your writing.

ricardo antonio said...

Holy fuck. That's good reading. It reminded me a bit of Hemingway's The Garden of Eden. Aside from the fact that you're a busy man, husband and father, I would offer a small consolation (not that you need it) by adding that this summer has been the least surfy summer in a decade.

And as for compounding sorrow I wonder if joy isn't also the same? Joy and sorrow are always there—before and after us. Sometimes we stop and listen to them but whether we pay them mind or not is of no importance. They are still there. Like the energy transfer that creates surfing waves - one manifestation of the same thing that has no beginning or end.

Thanks for writing again. I love your writing.