“Hey, So… WHAT’S YOUR DEAL?” Called Out In the Parking Lot

Yeah, running around from side to side of my car, unhooking straps, grabbing wetsuit pieces, turning to comment (positively) on the glassy waves, and on the six surfers already out on the lefts (mostly negatively), I was called out by the young Port Angeles (I asked, he told me) in the driver’s seat of the little (as in not full or over-sized) white pickup that just pulled in beside me; called out for being over-enthusiastic, over-amped, over-coffee-ed, grumpy, and (I’m trying to imagine what I looked like), but, somewhere after I said I didn’t want to be one of those guys who gets all aggro over small waves… “but these waves are… (I may have hooted at this point)… I’m going to go after some rights, before…”

“Hey,” he said, with the emphasis, somehow, on each of the three words, “What’s YOUR Deal?” So, maybe the emphasis was mostly on the ‘your.’  My response was something like, “I’m old, I’m excited, I’m…” I guess he didn’t want to listen, or maybe the waves weren’t good enough, maybe he was heading to one of those fabled (or even, ‘secret’) Straits of Juan de Fuca spots farther west, and maybe six surfers already out this early on the lefts and me on the rights just didn’t seem too enticing; he backed out with me still ranting and running around the car, and pointing, and hooting, and…

“I’m old, and I’m… I’m just excited… just…”

Yes, it was what I was thinking about while (mostly clumsily) surfing the rights, the tide already a bit high, alone. Oh, I do long to be mellow, but I had wanted, somewhat desperately, to go the day before. Rumors of waves two feet bigger, glassy, maybe without that ‘wonk’ from overnight winds; phone calls of surfers hitting it three days in a row; the forecast showing a dropping swell on this day, the buoys showing a swell in that ‘iffy’ range, angle-wise, the ‘race’ (in my mind) with the SUV with two boards on top through Port Angeles, me in front, then “nooooo….” he was ahead  of me on Surf Route 101, then behind him all the way out on 112, until… “Oh!” He had to pull off, “Probably to whizz.” Ha! “Oh!” Yeah, now I had to pee. Desperately.

I barely made it, the SUV pulling in a few moments later. I had wanted to ask the driver why he had a “PB” decal on his back bumper, but now knew it was Dave, “Big Dave,” a grom in Pacific Beach when I moved there in 1971. Big Dave who rides an SUP as a regular board. And he was going to the lefts. I knew, when the tide got higher, the rights would go away and I’d be moving over to join the group on the lefts.

Knowing I, my promise to myself that I would surf until I was exhausted (or the waves were) and I would possibly add to the frustration of surfers who were not catching enough waves, I did paddle over after twenty or so unshared waves. I was actually kind of surprised when, paddling for my second wave (first being an insider everyone else missed), a long line outsider, no one challenged me, starting paddling for in down the line.

Later, when I mentioned this to Dave, he said he had overheard surfers grumbling that it had been mellow, but was getting ‘aggro.’ “You mean when I came over?” “Pretty much.” “Hmmm. Do I just look so intense?” “Yeah; guess so.” So, I apologized to several surfers as I passed them, looking for (yet) another set wave. And, on the beach, I told Rajah (hope the spelling’s right) that, “it’s exhausting being a dick.” He seemed to agree.

There’s more to this story, but you’re probably backing away, ready to move on, still not sure what my deal is. “Yeah, I’m just excited.”

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