And introducing the "kook rhombus"!
“Jesus Haploid Christ! I’m an idiot,” I think, remembering what happened in the surf this morning.
Relative to my ability, I had negotiated the crumminess of the waves and crowd with uncharacteristic finesse.
I had gotten greedy and paddled back out after what should’ve been a session-ender.
I angled my head to get a view of him. It was Conner, from the office.
“Oh, hi, Connor.”
“I didn’t know you surfed!” he said excitedly.
“This is so cool! Hey, Aiden is out today, too. He’s just out there,” he said pointing towards the lineup.
As I got closer, I noticed Aiden and his glistening beard on a mid-length, sitting with a female, Connor’s girlfriend, Dana, who I’m pretty sure ended up working for Herbalife, getting “hired” on there after doing her SDSU MBA program final consulting project on one of the company’s semesterly marketing studies projects meant to make it seem more legitimate and less swindle-y and pyramid-scheme-y.
“Hey, look what the cat dragged in,” said Connor as we got to the others, forming a sort of circle, a kook rhombus.
“Hey, man! So cool to see you surfing out here!” said Aiden, loudly.
“Now that we know you surf, we should do this more often!” said Connor.
I pretended I’d seen something and paddled a little to the north to get away.
The group followed.
Angrily panicked thoughts raced through my head.
“What the fuck? Why are they following me? This is why I don’t tell anyone I surf… ugh…only my family, my girlfriend, and one other girl I was interested in ten years ago, who I grew up with and also surfed, knew! And now I’m surfing with three VALs… I mean, Aiden has been surfing for seven years (so I remember him making a big deal about then) at least and rides a shortboard… no, he’s still a VAL!”
“Hey!” said Connor, breaking the spiral. “Aiden was thinking of heading up to Rincon this weekend, he’s been looking at swell charts and forecasts for the last two weeks. I wasn’t going to go, though now that we know you surf, too, maybe we can all make a trip out of it!”
“Is there going to be any surf even? Anyway, I’m going to be pretty busy this weekend,” I lied.
“OK. That’s cool. Well, maybe we can do something over Thanksgiving weekend. Aiden was telling me that Bryce was thinking about getting into surfing.”
“The mega-investor guy our company brought in for our training unit on Corporate Social Responsibility,” said Aiden. “I’ve been talking to him for awhile, trying to butter him up?”
“For what? Doesn’t he only invest in startups? Like those bullshit startups that don’t even offer products or services, existing for who knows why?” I asked.
“Yeah, but…” he trailed off.
I said, “Social climbing. Got it. He’s Hurley Man.”
Aiden went quiet.
“With Bryce, you can call yourselves The Alphabet Group or Alphabet, Inc,” I said.
“Like the Google company?” asked Aiden.
“Yeah, I guess, sorry,” I said, no one getting the reference.
Everyone went quiet.
“What kind of music do you listen to?” asked Dana to cut the non-actual tension tension.
“I don’t know. A little of this, a little of that. I usually just like individual songs,” I said.
Connor caught a left on his 5’10” MF Little Marley (Aqua), stiff legged and going straight, only slightly angled so as to perceive he’s going down the line.
“Do you listen to Sublime?” she asked.
“Do I look like a fifteen-year old pothead? They sucked even when they were relevant,” I said, causing her to noticeably wince.
“Oh, Connor loves them. Since he’s started surfing, he’s gotten really into them. And Jack Johnson, who we all listen to.”
“Oh, um, cool. I think I’m going to paddle in. It was nice seeing you… guys.”
I started paddling in, not even waiting for a wave anymore. As I was paddling, I passed Connor.
“Hey, so think about Thanksgiving weekend,” he said.
“Yeah,” I lie.
I make it to the car and drive home to hop in the shower to rinse myself of the stench of the session.
Three hours later, I receive a flurry of texts. Apparently, I have been pulled into a work surfing group text thread that meanders from Surf Ranch to Tavi “strike missions”. I make sure not to answer any of the messages unless directly addressed.
I ignore the vibrating block on my nightstand, checking in periodically for some unknown reason, only to make sure none of them are talking to me.
I glance at my phone and there is a text from Aiden, “Karl, should I get a Black and White or a Sampler?”
“Sampler is a terrible board.”
“OK. I’ll get a 6’1” Black and White.”
“The site says ‘should be ridden about your same height to two inches longer’.”
Disappointed with myself for answering, I turn off my phone and boot up the computer.
Time for a new job.