A few weeks ago, a "friend" called. I use the term "friend" lightly since that's obviously overstating the relationship. She wanted, I think, to bitch at me about not surfing with her. Now that I'm thinking about this conversation, I don't know why the hell she called. I'll just stay with the "called to bitch at me" angle and run with it. She belongs to that classification of people I'm now labeling "Stealers of the Stoke". These are the folks who insist that you surf with them, but whose attitudes or actions fuck up your stoke.
The person in question had some physical problems over the last year. She is not someone I know well, but she is someone I like. She called me to touch base a couple of months ago. That's when I learned of an issue she was having. She mentioned that it made it hard to drive. She mentioned that she needed to go back to the doctor's office that week. I immediately volunteered to drive her there. Cool. No big deal. Then, over the subsequent month or so, I talked to her and learned that she was not doing well emotionally. The injury had just gotten to her, I guess. Again, I don't know her well, I just know her. So I called her regularly and knocked on her door, when I was in her neighborhood, to check on her. Eventually, she started coming out of her funk, decided she would start bodysurfing, and insisted that she could only do this if I called her when I went surfing. Apparently, I was to be her motivation to get back into the water until she could surf.
Hmmm, call me an asshole, but I made no such calls. In the past, she had told me I surfed much too early in the morning. She'd also made unkind comments about my home break. (Yeah, it usually sucks so keep your happy ass away from it and surf a better break that's more deserving of your skills.) There's more to it than that. At that point in the year, my kid was still in school. My surfing revolves around his school schedule. I often don't know where I'm going until I drop him off. What's that you say? I could have called her. I could have, but she lives two blocks from the damn beach! Two blocks. In the time it takes me to pack my car with the board, gear and the kid, she could be at the beach. (By the time I did that, dropped him off and got to the beach, she could have been done with a session.) She wasn't even surfing. She just wanted me to be her motivation to get back in the water to bodysurf. I'm sorry, but I'm not the one. I check in with enough people in my life as a wife, mother and only child of a parent in her late 70's. Surfing is the one thing I can do where I have some freedom. No phones. No email. No interruptions. No expectations of me to make things happen . . . until I started being saddled with Stealers of the Stoke. Then, out of the blue, she tells me she's going to Hawaii to surf. Huh? I thought she was hurt, couldn't surf, no motivation, etc. Then she comes back, doesn't contact me for over a month (which is fine—I only keep tabs on the three people mentioned above).
At some point, I get the call which resulted in me being summarily dismissed, I think, from the friendship. All I heard was how I didn't call her when I went surfing, how I don't want to surf with her. In essence, I got told how terrible I am. Fine. I'm a terrible person. Fine. I'm happy to surf with people who don't steal my stoke. I hope she's decided I'm not a worthy of her friendship and leaves me alone.
You know what's sad? She's but one of two Stealers of the Stoke. How do I get stuck with these people?