Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Friday, August 18, 2017

This Week In Not Surfing

1. I am one of those people. The people, NPR Liberals, who just can’t find American Football compelling. One of those Americans who has to say American Football. Which fits perfectly because I am one of those people who grew up on American Football. Grandpa’s tickets on the 50 yard line in the 100s section at the King Dome during the heydays of Seahawk suckdom. It’s perfect because I’m one of those people for whom the loss of the love affair isn’t a badge of honor, but a fall from grace. One of those NPR Liberals who still plays Yahoo Fantasy Football and secretly wants to win the league, and even did, twice, mind you, a long time ago. There is a special ring in hell for the self-loathing. It is all stocked shelves of lapsed American Football lovers.

2. There is a curious math game that can spring up. Call it Dollar Over Wave, in which the contestant, showing up late to the beach with the pay-for-parking-after-8-AM policy, shells out a one-third century for the honor, then pays said competitor’s elder son an extra fiver per hour to babysit the younger one, all the while sweatily aspiring to hastily rack up his dollar-per-wave count. When it goes very well it runs out to be about a buck a peak or so.

3. I purposely keep from my wife the evolving title to the book I'm writing about emotional partnerships: “Re-Targeting Affection: How Children and Dogs Bridge Marriages.”

4. My summer unfolds as so many previous summers have. The typical specter of reality which is May. The routine destruction of hope that is June. The habitual terror of July’s existential dilemma. Then suddenly, almost unwelcomely, the glory of August’s generosity. You were so content in your despair! Nearly reconciled! And now you’ve surfed, what, three, nay, five days! Almost in a row! Happiness seems possible. The future looks bright. It is a cruel month, August.

5. There is something powerful out there though. Untapped. Liminal. Perhaps even emergent. One could call it The Efficacy of Shitty Board Fetish Vis À Vis Surprising Technique Development. I pull out one of my “real” boards for the first time in … months… years? I put new wax over the old wax. I wobblepaddle out with something significantly less endorsing than temerity beating in my chest. But I feel the reassuring speed of the glide and the hard assurance of the rails even before reaching the line up. I stroke into a wave, half expecting it to pass me by at best, ignominiously chuck me at worst. But something clicks. The board stiffens, grabs, propels. Easily rising, I find my feat and manipulate the speed. The speed. I can create it. It exists. But there is something else. My body, so used to contorting itself to simply achieve trim, throws weight into places where the earlier me lacked the intuition. Yes, there are a few hangover moments of complacency; a subtle blight on an otherwise effective ride. But there is something else. A courage of conviction. So often the receiver of the screwy eye at my big pink softtop, I suddenly feel older and wiser upon return. Not prodigal (it was never so squandering) rather justified in a way only I will probably ever know.

6. Walking home from work, basking in the warmth of late summer, I pass by the softball fields in McCarren Park just as a beefy ballplayer blasts a home run.

7. At Whole Foods I impulse buy a small blue vat with "Collagen Peptides" emblazoned on the label.

8. I paddle out into rather large closeout tropical storm water pushers. Something akin to body whomping (with board) a bit further from the beach. I gorge myself on death wall suicide tuck-ins. I do not see anyone else enjoying the bounty of non-consequence the same way. I wonder at what they expect.

9. I cannot understand my country. I am alienated from it, perhaps for the first time joining those swollen ranks, but unwelcome there: the color of my skin, a flag of betrayal; the thing between my legs, a wagging totem of guilt. I think about the sea and wait for waves that will take my mind off it all, a pretty piece of privilege that I can wrap myself in. But I always have to return to the shore.