Surfing, calcified as personal ritual…
He looks out the windshield of his poorly maintained 2014 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner, eyes aimed, blankly, at the horizon.
He sees the waves breaking down the cliff, solid and glassy four-foot runners. He should probably go out, he thinks.
He’s already driven all this way, might as well, except that he doesn’t feel like it, not wanting to drag the albatross that is his self-consciously bulked body and unceasingly diminishing mind down the cliff trail.
It would be easier to go home and watch TV or sleep.
He sits in his truck, unable to decide whether to go out. On the one hand, sinking even further into his mental quicksand, he just doesn’t want to, on the other, there hasn’t been decent surf in two months since he last surfed and it’s good now.
Thinking that there was potential, however small, that a session could produce maybe one ounce of joy, he decides he’s going to just do it. More likely, it will be a story he can talk to his mom about next time she calls in order to make her think he’s fine.
He parks his car and pulls his performance five-fin convertible shortboard, which he’s going to ride thruster because he doesn’t think the setup actually makes a difference, from his board bag.
He holds it out in front of himself, looking at it with disgust.
“This board fucking sucks,” he mumbles, oblivious to the other beachgoers who stare at him as they walk past.
Truth is, the board doesn’t suck, he just wants something to complain about. He actually surfs it better than any other board he has in the last eight years.
He makes his way down the cliff, opting for trunks and a top because he didn’t want to hassle with his short-sleeve full-suit he hates because it has a back zip.
All the way down he can’t stop thinking about all the lippers he’s planning to do, but probably won’t be able to, because he sucks, trying to temper the thoughts of the fat-assed black girl he saw in the grocery store the other day.
He makes it down to the beach and counts fifty surfers out all down the beach. There were only three or four guys out when he first started checking.
He should have known.
Every white-collar young professional douchebag being able to work from home these days, the beach is infested, every Bryce, Aiden, and Connor trying to break off a piece of the surf lifestyle.
He gets mad and angrily puts on his leash. It’s his own fault, that fucking asshole.
Again, he should have known.
He walks into the water.
“Fuck that’s cold!”
He stops for a few moments, considering whether or not he would be that guy who doesn’t even paddle out and just leaves, but decides against it, because it would be embarrassing to walk back up dry. He shuffles in the water up to his waist and then jumps over a wave and starts paddling.
It’s usually a breeze for him to get out into the lineup, but today he is struggling. His arms feel stuck in molasses, weighed down by the past two months of inactivity. After a dozen minutes, which feels unquantifiably longer, he makes it out to the inside lineup.
He is out of breath.
“Why do I still do this? I never have any fun. For something that was so great and provided so much joy to me, as well as many great memories, this fucking sucks. I should just quit,” he thinks, in between those thousand other non-sequitur thoughts that race through one’s head at all times, in his case now, mostly “Big butts!… baby back ribs!”
Such is the hackneyed facile life of a nobody who lacks imagination and cannot even tempt himself to try at anything new, his hobbies retained, calcified as personal ritual, in spite of their staleness.
“Maybe I just need something different… god I’m pretentious!”
Suddenly, he sees a set coming on the outside.
He’s not going to make it, it’s going to break before he can lazy, faux duck dive with his knees under it, so he paddles for the preceding pre-full set inside left and somehow catches it.
He takes off, bottom turns and hits the lip hard backside, his tail, astonishingly, getting above it.
He plays with the wave’s lip, flicking its edges and producing jets of spray with his jittery stick, until he rides it to completion with one final cutback into a foamy, whitewater explosion on the deep inside.
He thinks, “Whoa! Where the fuck did that come from? That was fun!”
Feeling jazzed, he looks back out to the water and decides against paddling back out, figuring that was the best he was going to do. He notices a man on the beach taking photos of people in the water who happens to keep glancing at him. Standing near the trail, he’s going to have to pass the guy back up to the car.
“I wonder if that guy got that one?… Probably looked shit. I mean, it will be embarrassing if he did, right?… yeah, of course…. Oh well… Maybe?”
He walks past the camera guy.
The guy ignores him, instead aiming his camera towards some college-aged, young professional (he can’t tell how old anyone is) kooks, snapping photos of them surfing their foamies on the inside.
He makes his way back up to the car, the thoughts about maybe getting a new board and surfing more occupying his thoughts halfway up the trail disintegrating in the morning air.
“Fuck me,” he says to himself, thinking about the effects of childbirth on Nicki Minaj’s implants.
The inertia of his cliché life decays any further thoughts of him quitting… until the next swell at least.