Monday, December 18, 2017

This Week In Not Surfing

1. I send him to get expresso beans, unground. A simple task, at eleven years old he is up for it. He comes back with coffee beans. There is a difference I insist. His shoulders slump, his mouth does that tween incredulous thing. He comes back a second time with the same coffee beans, ground. This I cannot fathom. I lightly berate him, even this small admonishment making him visibly miserable. I stomp out the door, head held high, my mouth doing that midlife incredulous thing. At the coffee shop I grab a bag marked espresso off the shelf and approach the counter. One upward glance and the barista guy knows exactly who’s father I am. I put on the most inscrutably blank face I can apply and seethe through gritted teeth that my son has made a mistake. The apologetic barista explains his own confusion. You see, they use these coffee beans as their house espresso beans, not the ones from the bag marked espresso. When the child brought back the bag, he simply thought he was meant to have ground them. My righteousness is shattered, I see it all so clearly now. I drop the bag of ground beans gently into the waste bin, quietly replacing the bag of espresso beans on the shelf and half slither, half shuffle out, leaving a confused barista guy in my wake. My obstinance.

2. And when was the last time you surfed on a Thanksgiving morning, cold and fresh and unexpected? It is as lovely as it sounds, a magical breather before the crucible of holiday necessity. Chilly smiles, easy camaraderie, everyone grateful to sneak the sly one before the weight of the day sets in. I’ll be looking forward to the same thing Christmas morning if I can manage it. New Year’s isn’t the same.

3. There was that one Christmas my mother and father made the public pact not to give each other gifts, a slightly astonishing commitment given that I'd never noticed a single gift they’d ever exchanged. I can only imagine there had been of course, and in retrospect I’ll conjecture their agreement was a convenient one both financially and emotionally. By that point in their crumbling marriage the annual disappointment didn’t make sense in either economy. The truly surprising thing to me at the time was my mother’s conniptious horror at my father’s attempt at a humorous breaking of the detente, an odd sort of African cowbell on the end of a piece of carved wood he’d found at Pier One Imports. She was beside herself. As I said, in the moment I couldn't understand her overblown reaction. I understand it more now.

4. After our wildly successful Thanksgiving surfabout, Antonio and I pledge to make it out to the water once a week whether there are surfable waves or not, giving our bodies a fighting chance at paddling through the winter, keeping our muscle memory fresh for possible vacations and inevitable spring thaws. Two days later I find myself staring at pan flat Rockaway on a frigid Sunday morning with Antonio nowhere in sight. About-face and making a dry drive home I ponder the long winter.

5. I’ve never wanted to own a surf shop, but if I did, I’d call it Longjohns & Lipbalms and it would have a muesli nook and sell only tropical wax and wool sweaters.

6. On the sixth night of this year’s six day holiday party crucible gauntlet of cheery horrors, I find myself on the periphery of a conversation between three women talking about how crazy the sexual harassment news has become; their unsurprised incredulity at both the volume of culpability and the excesses of popular redress. On the outside looking in, I find myself cracking an opportune joke: “hashtagyoutoo.” It gets a big laugh. Later, I wonder if I could repeat the feat in any other context without condemnation and find it unlikely.

7. After one particularly disastrously under-prepped nature videography shoot, my son’s godfather buys a Costco-size pack of chapstick and places a tube in every travel bag and jacket pocket he owns. Always be prepared.

8. Antonio and I make it out one last time this year to the eastern sea, a six hour trek to New Jersey and back a day after it was really good. Slipping into the slightly unrequiting but still ridable belly high & quick peelers, conversations between, we find the expected solace despite the time spent in commute.

9. Maybe I’ll just call my surf shop Yesterdays.

10. Apparently we live a good portion of our lives in a state of blindness, our brain enforcing minuscule moments of obscurity as our eyes scan the world around us. Evolution’s logic seemingly that were we to see every single moment as clearly as we do when we settle upon focus, we’d either be perpetually sea sick or our heads would explode from all the information.

11. Alternate anecdotal wave height measurements:
Rectal Sheath High / Linea Albo High / Aponeurosis of the Abdominal Oblique High / Semitendinosus High / Vestibular Nerve High / Supraspanatus High / Corpus Cavernosum High

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Because you can't watch this too much. Or I can't.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

This. Sort. Of. Thing.

Click on the confusing diagram. 
Via Donn Ito