Monday, June 7, 2010

The Learning Curve

I didn’t blog last week. I got self-conscious because I’ve only gone surfing once so far, and didn’t even catch a wave. All I did was paddle out to the line-up and pray nobody was mean to me. Still, it felt like a big accomplishment.

I got my period the next day, for the first time in two and a half years. I got self-conscious writing about that too. Truthfully, I did write about it. I just didn’t post it. I was afraid it would make me seem too feminist-goddessy. In fact, after it happened, I had to admit that I am feminist-goddessy – as are all women – and that was so potentially life-altering, I’m still in denial about it.

All in all, in not posting to this blog last week, I realized how many layers there are to this project/ blog/ baby-book I’m gestating. Yes, it’s about surfing. So there’s that to write about: the culture and sport, the people, the history, the art. And it’s about Prayer. And it’s about Love. But it’s also about the process of learning something new, and overcoming all those awkward self-conscious moments of being completely inexperienced and clumsy and having no idea what I’m doing.

Like a child, I had the idea that I could say I was going to start surfing and presto, I’d be a surfer. And then, there I was, with a board and a suit, realizing that a. I didn’t know how to load my surfboard “Big Mama Wave” onto the rack that Brian installed for me and b. I was afraid to drive the 1980 Mercedes diesel surf wagon.

So, Saturday, feeling overwhelmed, rushed and unlikely to get to the beach, Brian gave me a lesson in putting the board on the rack. It wasn’t hard at all. There was just the matter of first tossing bungee-cord #1 over the roof and pulling it over to the other side, and then doing the same with bungee-cord #2.

Kind of.

Bungee-cord #1 is not as wide as the roof, so I had to stretch really hard to reach it until Brian invented my bungee-cord-reacher: a piece of orange ribbon, attached to bungee-cord #1, that reaches across the whole length of the roof and is easy to grab. Bungee-cord #2, on the other hand, was much wider than the roof. After experimenting with wrapping the excess around the board, and then wrapping it around the rack, Brian cut it so it matched #1. And that was Saturday’s surf lesson.

That and driving the surf wagon around the corner to The Metro Diner where I ordered a double espresso.

The surf wagon, aka “Smoky” is old and beat up and lacks an accelerator pedal. To gas it up, you have to press your foot on a metal rod sticking up from the floor. I used to drive this car every day. It was our bio-diesel machine, back when bio-diesel looked like a plausible option. It’s smelly and kind of gross, but that’s good because I’m not too worried about getting it filled with sand and beach water. Unfortunately, however, unless we convert it to vegetable oil (for about six hundred dollars) it’s not environmentally friendly. Vegetable oil conversion is on the wish list. As are automatic windows that work and a new toddler seat, so I don’t have to switch Ashton’s big-ass seat from the Honda to the wagon every time I want to go surfing. And then switch it back.

In my fantasies, I live in an apartment or a house right on the sand. I look out my window and see the waves coming in. I grab my board while the kids are still asleep and run across the beach into the water as the sun rises. For now, the reality is far different.

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