14 July 2006

How Sweet It Is

This place never ceases to amaze me. When you look up the word "unpredictable" in the Webster's, I'm certain you will see a picture of Malibu's famous surf beach.

Yesterday was a day for ruminations (yes, it's a word you don't hear every day . . . look it up). I knew a swell was on the way and that it was supposed to arrive today. I kept thinking about it and talking about it with my surf buddy in the cubicle across from me. Before we knew it, we'd launched into a discussion about taking Friday off. Should we or shouldn't we? My concern was that I have accrued no vacation. Thus I was left with either a personal day or a sick day. If I take a sick day, how will I fake the sickness? Will I have to call in and speak to my boss to say I'm not coming in? And how can I do that if I'm in the water? If I take a personal day, all I'm left with are sick days. I was going around and around, not knowing how I should work this, especially since it's been a good seven years since I worked at a full-time job and didn't know if my absences (and, yes, there will be more of them when swells hit—even if I have to take days off without pay) will later come back to haunt me when it's time for my yearly review. Finally, I decided I'd go ahead and ask for the day. But I was giving my surf buddy the chance to ask first, knowing they probably wouldn't let us both have a day off (since he and I do jobs that no one else in the company can do). Well, he told me, even dared me, to ask first. And I did. I did all of the work that was on my desk or outside my cubicle waiting for my attention. I essentially ensured that there would be no work for me on Friday. Then I asked for the day off. Ha!! Success! A couple of hours later, my surf buddy got around to asking for the day off. Ho!! Failure! The big boss said no. So let this be a lesson to you: you better ask for the day off before the other surfers at your job do.

I had no intention of going to Malibu today. I wasn't even thinking about that place. It was CYT who chose Malibu. She was on the road before I was, so she was on the cellphone giving me a commentary every time she passed breaks on the coast. I guess I assumed she'd choose to surf RPB. What's that old saying? Never assume because you make an "ass" of "u" and "me". I was not happy when she said Malibu. I had knots in my stomach as I headed up PCH. I'm not even sure why. I guess after all that I went through surfing there last summer, I tend to expect the worst from that place. Once again, I was wrong. The only complaint I have about today's session was the fog. I missed many waves simply because I couldn't see. I won't even complain about the fog since it probably kept quite a few people out of the water. The vibe out there today was mainly positive. One old-timer gave me a wave. I told him to come with me and we'd surf it together. He told me to go ahead and take it. What happened? I had the whole wave to myself! I dropped into another wave later, knowing I was far enough in front of the folks who were on it to ride it with them (before you start flaming me about dropping in, remember I'm talking about Malibu and crowded surf). There was another old-timer leading the pack on that one. When I got on the wave, he cheered me on, telling me to get onto the wave with them and then telling me to stay there. I was so surprised by his generosity and aloha spirit that I did the obvious thing . . . got flustered and kicked out. When I saw him again, I told him I wasn't used to such wonderful treatment at Malibu and that, as a result, I lost my concentration and had to kick out. For some reason, people around us found that funny and laughed. But it was true. I did have a run-in with one guy on a shortboard. But it's not the kind of run-in you're thinking. It was literally a run-in. With the foggy conditions, it was a bit hard to see clearly. I was up on the wave one minute. The next minute, I was thrashing about in the water, wondering what hit me. As it turns out, another surfer hit me. But there were no unkind words. He reached out for me, making sure I was okay. After spitting out my mouthful of water, I said I was fine and asked if he was hurt. He was fine too. I then patted him on the shoulder, got back on my board, and paddled away. When we saw one another again, we both smiled. That's how surfing should always be. Neither of us was at fault. We obviously didn't see one another and we both worried about the other's well-being. There was no yelling, no stink eye.

This session was well worth the talking to I may receive from my boss on Monday. (He wasn't there yesterday and I was forced to ask his boss for the day off.) Malibu was firing. The set waves were certainly head high at times. No wonder there were shortboards and longboards out there tearing it up. I was on my Tyler, the board I hardly ride anymore. Man, that thing is big and perfect. It loves that Malibu wave. My first wave was a bit shaky as I couldn't quite find my center on the board. My subsequent waves got better and better. I never did walk the board even though today was perfect for that. It never even crossed my mind. At some point, I'll start to relax a little more at Malibu (like I do at RPB) and I'll be more inclined to try more things. I'm ready to go back there again, but the next time I take a day off I'm going to head to San O. Thanks again, Malibu locals (especially the old-timers). I respect your break and I have much respect for all of you.


At 7/14/06, 10:23 PM, Blogger Slow_Polk said...

You should work for my company we get unlimited sick days. Nice post.


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