Friday, December 10, 2010

White Out

Driving to the beach this morning, I didn't think too much of the fog that was rolling in. There's often more fog as you go west from Culver City. Arriving at the beach, I still wasn't concerned.

Walking down the hill from my car, I felt the familiar strengthening feeling I get when my legs are doing what I'm telling them to do - not what they want to do, not what they're used to doing. Going surfing is still not routine. Especially lately, with the colds, and the cold, I'm making myself go when it would be a lot cozier to stay under the blankets. And the results have been so mixed, I don't exactly jump out of bed to hit the 55 degree water.

So I walked - only to find myself enveloped in the thickest fog I've ever experienced in my life. Since I haven't yet worked up a system whereby I bring a camera to the beach while I hit the waves, you'll have to take my word for it. This was a white out. I could see the water rolling up onto the sand, a few yards beyond that and then...nothing. Or nearly nothing.

After watching a fellow surfer run straight in, I saw three other guys out there. Through the haze, I could even see them go for some waves. But I could hardly see the waves. I hesitated. I hate backing off from things because I'm scared, but honestly, the lack of visibility scared me.  What if something happened? I could quietly sink into oblivion when help might have been feet away.  Never mind the pummeling I would undoubtedly take by waves I never saw coming.

It took me a while to distinguish between prudence and terror.  Sure, Eddie would have gone - those four guys went. But then I realized that in addition to my fears, real and imagined, was actual inexperience.   Without anyone to egg me on, without anyone to coach me, or even without anyone to brave the unknown alongside me - I turned around.

It put me in one hell of a bad mood to have walked away from what otherwise might have been perfectly good waves, but I have PMS and had just gotten a parking ticket, so I might have been in a bad mood anyway. And there's always another wave. Or so they say.

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