Endless (lists of) Summer

This is my July submission for the Quilcene Community Center Newsletter, which goes out to some unknown (to me) number of recipients up and down the Olympic Peninsula portion of Surf Route 101.  I’m always a bit irked that more folks don’t get the opportunity to read (or not read) it, and, since I took the time to write it, and I have this platform, AND the buoy readings are in the one foot range, here is your opportunity.

Now, I did add the reference to the Emerald City (first paragraph) to this version because, well, Seattle’s not that far away, it’s a pain to get there, AND I have an allusion to “The Wizard of Oz” later on.

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A Hollywood producer once told me a setup that always works on television and in movies is some version of one character saying some version of, “It’s all downhill from here;” and then, of course, more mayhem (or comedy or drama, definitely some explosions and car/horse/train/foot chases) ensues; and all just this close to the Emerald City 

So, thanks, Bob; it’s just past the Summer solstice, the longest of what have been, mostly, pleasant days; and we’re rolling toward winter.  Downhill.  

“Wait,” you say, “That’s kind of a glass half empty kind of way to look at this.”

Yes, it is, but I can’t help it. Summer is a busy time for a northwest house painter, and pretty much everyone else. There are almost too many hours of daylight.  If one just worked on the list of projects put off during the more-dark-than-light part of the year, ignoring the way the grass grows and the weeds invade, and the new projects that come up; and, I must add, picnics and memorials and reunions and other summer-centric social events; one could be exhausted.

Or, at least, anxious.  And, if it seems like there are a finite number of fine days before the weather descends, it gets progressively worse until… well, Halloween; that’s the breakpoint.  Not that far off.

So, just recently, after I had caught up on several projects put off for a couple of summers (the downtown mini-storage is one example); just before I got a fierce summer cold; just when I had a reasonably-attainable list of jobs to work on, I may have said some version of, “it’s all under control.”

And then it wasn’t.  If one job takes longer than anticipated, bad; two jobs, worse.  Deadlines and new jobs and emergencies; lions and tigers and bears.  Oh, my!

I was going to be kind of rationalistic here, explain how I actually kind of roll with the punches, try to fit my schedule into other folks’ delays and deadlines; but I thought, first, of how many times I’ve been painting, trying to complete a project, trying to find some shade; and someone, possibly just temporarily a person of leisure (after all, I don’t have real insight into the work life of strangers) comes up to me, possibly with an ice cream cone, hand-dipped, waffle cone, in hand, and says, “Great day for painting, huh?”

Yes, I have answered, and more than once, “Sure; what are you doing?”  Maybe that sounds kind of sarcastic.  Let’s try, “Yeah, by cracky; can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing on such a fine fine day.”

But I can. I have my list, and Trish has her list, and many of the things put off all winter for lack of money are now put off for lack of time.  A solution, I’ve been told, is to gather the materials needed in the summer, work on the projects in the winter.  In the rain. In the dark. In the cold.

Sorry. Glass half empty again. There are the things we have to do and the things we want to do; what we all need is a balance, maybe just a bit want-to heavy.  When I was a kid, summers were boring enough that I went to summer school.  And then I started surfing. And then I got a car. And then I got a job. And then; well; that brings us up to now.

Right now, two-ish on a Wednesday, I have several jobs I could be on; but I was supposed to go to Bremerton on the (hopefully) final day of an interior job that got me through the worst of the winter, but that was cancelled because the carpenter couldn’t make it; another job put off because a (different) carpenter fell off the roof; several others bunching-up for completion before the Fourth of July (one a rental not vacant until the first). 

So, partly because no one really expects me to be at this place or that, and partly because I’m still pretty sick; though I do have to go somewhere later today (darned social obligations); I wrote some proposals, made some phone calls, took a nap, and I took some time to write this.  I have a few minutes here; think I’ll write a list.

Hey, it’s a great day to do whatever it is you’re doing.  Happy July.

 

 

 

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Streaming and Screaming like a Toddler

                                “Whoa! Ow! Ewwww! Ye-aaaaaay-yah!”

Oh, and “Cowabunga!”

SATURDAY, JUNE 22ND

I had to drop my earphones to try to figure out why Trish was yelling at me.  It was tough because the Super Heat was ‘ON!’ Kelly Slater and Felipe Toledo trading excellent scores. 9.1 topped by a 9.5; two more excellent scores, one each, and Kelly needed another wave to win.  Scary barrels, final turns into whitewater head and a half high. 

Great heat.  A minute and a half to go.

“What?”

“What? You were screaming.”

“Me?”

“Yeah, you; if I hadn’t been awake I might have had a heart attack.’

“Fine, fine; can I just… I want to watch the last… thirty seconds.”

“Sure. Cowabunga!”

I’m sure I didn’t say ‘cowabunga.’ I never say cowabunga.  Dude. Then again, I wasn’t aware I was screaming.  Earphones.  And me, to borrow a phrase one of the WSL commentators used to describe what Wade Carmichael did when he saw the waves at the Brazilian Pro contest, “screaming like a toddler.”

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Next time…

That might be tomorrow.  Early. With earphones and the door closed.

SUNDAY, JUNE 23RD

I was feeling like I was coming down with a cold for a couple of days.  I was right. It seems like, when I have a day where I don’t absolutely have to be somewhere, a day where I can sort of chill out… sniffle…

I didn’t manage to get up early enough for the start of competition in Brazil, got streaming when the second women’s semifinal was on.  Stephanie and Carissa.  It was a bit of a shoot-out, or tube/air-out, with the scores going back and forth, and, with a minute and a half left and Stephanie needing a good score to win, Dru called me.  Admittedly, I wasn’t super into the competition, but I was kind of rooting for Steph (and I’m not sure why I root for competitors like Gilmore and Slater who have certainly won their fair share of competitions- but I do- with some room in my fan-head for underdogs Silvana Lima and Sebastian Zietz), but, again, it’s not an interruption unless you care about what is being interrupted.

At least now I was awake.

toledo

Eventually Sally Fitzgibbons and Felipe Toledo would win.  I de-streamed when the final buzzer went off.

I might have screamed if I hadn’t been sick.  Next time for the WSL, Jeffry’s Bay.  Oh, yeAH; UH HUH!

Either You Froth…

 …or you don’t.  This may be a distinguishing feature of all real surfers.  Anyone can enjoy the basic beauty of a perfectly formed, peeling wave.  Basic. Beauty. Energy made visible, even violent; distant wind, steady or sudden; moving, pushing, transferring its power to the water; disorganized bundles hitting other forces, tides, waves from other winds; traveling, deepening, overcoming smaller swells…

 …and when they approach land, fingers and hands, points and beaches, land that has been formed by other forces, shaped by constant batterings; these lines that are the pulse, the heartbeat of the oceans, one-every-five-seconds become one-every-fifteen, four per minute…

 …and then…

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 You can probably clearly remember picking waves out of a stormy and blown-out ocean, telling your friends, or just yourself, what you’d do on that wave (presuming you could even get out).  “That one!  That one! See?”

There have been moments where seeing waves hit some indicator, outside or up the beach; paddling over the shoulder, twenty yards out from the peak, where the witnessing of the beauty of the lighting and the varied-if-not-perfect symmetry of a breaking wave is enough…

 …almost.

 

There are moments where watching a friend drop from the other side of a peak, drop-and-drive, disappear for a tick, or three, under the break, and emerge… or even not, and you’re crashing through a lip, looking toward the next wave, hoping you can paddle fast enough to line up on a hoped-for second or third wave in the set; some times that view, sharing the joy, is enough… almost.

You might just be screaming as loud as the person in the tube. 

That’s part of the joy.  You know that joy.  I’ve never met a real surfer, no matter how cool, who won’t break into a near giggle-fit at the sight of a wave… this wave, that wave, ‘that one! That one! See!”

 Hey, it’s INTERNATIONAL SURFING DAY! Feel free to FROTH OUT!

 

 

From “Swami’s” the Novel

I am still working on the novel; when I can. I’m busy; working. It’s painting season, and I haven’t had the luxury of a few hours early in the morning when my brain is best suited to writing; or, more likely, the energy to take those hours and then do a days work an hour each way from home.  Now, I must admit, I have taken some time to attempt to find and ride waves. Don’t tell my clients.  Not that much time.

And I’ve been thinking about the novel; where it is, how to resolve it; who killed Chulo; who killed Jody’s father; and, once worried that a novel is supposed to be over 60,000 words, I’m now at somewhere over 55,000 and needing thirty or… I need more words.

So, here I am home relatively early, took a much needed nap, interrupted after half an hour by Trish, just wanting to know if I’m home (yes, and no, I can’t go back to sleep), and I have some time before Trish gets home, so, rather than write new stuff, I thought I could post something from what I have written.

Part of my wanting to do this is that, discussing the painting of a rental with one of my clients, retired attorney Rick Shaneyfelt, I started telling him about the novel.  I can’t say listening to a painting contractor talk about plot and character development was particularly fun for Rick, but, like talking surf with a friend, it did get me inspired to do something (something) on the novel.

Because I wanted to back up the version on my computer, I have a zip/stick/whatever drive, and I’ve been writing on that.  The version on the computer is somewhat behind and, because I edit what I’ve written more often than adding new chapters, it’s different. I was going to copy and paste a chapter that actually had surfing in it, but, scrolling down, I got to this part.

AND, of course, I made changes. I can straighten that out later.  MEANWHILE, please check out this part, probably about a third of the way in to what I’ve written so far on “SWAMIS.”

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                 JUMPER AND THE WOMAN FROM THE JESUS BUS… WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 1969

“I was surfing at Pipes,” Jumper told me, both of us walking across the Palomar campus from the upper parking lot, “last spring; kind of junky, and… Swamis wasn’t working. It was pretty early. Overcast. I see this woman coming down the stairs. Kind of a flowing… I don’t know, robe or something, behind her.”

“From Pipes? You saw her from Pipes?”

“Yeah; good vision. And she runs around the corner…”

“Boneyards?”

“Yeah. And… the waves weren’t too good, anyway; so I decide to go for a run.”

“Jog? Like jogging?”

“Yeah. No. Hey, Jody; Marine Corps. Remember? We don’t fuckin’ jog, man.”

“Yeah, so, you, um, run. Sure. You dropped your board and…?”

“Yeah. I stuck it against the rocks by the ramp, jogged on down.” Jumper did a bit of a comic jogging move, legs flying to the sides. “Ran. I mean, the beach was empty; I stayed on the hard sand… (whistles the Marine Corp anthem a bit) and I get to Swamis, go around the corner, around the point, and…”

“And?”

“And there she was; full lotus position.” Jumper held out both hands, palms up thumb to first two fingers. I nodded, gave him a hand motion that meant ‘and?’ “So, she’s sitting on whatever it was she had been wearing, and she’s…”

“Naked?”

“No. No. But, she’s…” Jumper moved his free hand from one side of his chest to the other a couple of times. “…topless.”

“Oh. And, full lotus?”

“Full lotus; eyes closed. I guess her dress was kind of… (he acted as if he was pulling up a skirt, unevenly, one leg, then the other) there was a lot of, a lot of leg showing. Thigh.  I’m, I, um, run past. Then, then I figure; like, if she’s in a trance… so, I kind of jog- okay, jog; back… around… couple of times.”

Jumper did a sort of over-awkward, vaudevillian version of his beach moves, eyes on one place (in this case, on me). 

I duplicated Jumper’s jogging routine, adding some arm flapping, some out-of-sync hand motions.

PORSCHE/PORTIA AND SHAKESPEARE…

We were both laughing. Jumper’s voice got lower as we approached the first classrooms, little groups of students, a few more men than women, waiting for the 7pm classes to begin. There was only one I recognized (Jeanie, had dated John in high school- he had moved away- his dad was transferred- didn’t want to ask if they were still together- assumed they weren’t- she was standing quite close to a guy I didn’t know). Jeanie and I exchanged those ‘wave in lieu of conversation’ waves.

Jumper exchanged nods with several guys, waved at a young woman. She stepped forward. He stopped, allowed her to give him a hug. There were words, “Welcome back,” “Yeah, yeah.” “You… good?” “Good; yeah; good.”

Jeanie didn’t step forward to explain… anything.  The people Jumper knew all looked a bit suspiciously at me. Or I imagined they did.  He didn’t introduce me. He nodded in the direction we were going, and we moved on.

“It was; it was the woman from the ‘Jesus Saves’ bus.  Portia.”

“Oh. Oh? Yeah. Her.” I had heard her name. I knew her name. Portia. She was somewhere over twenty, under thirty; long black hair, very tall, always in a long skirt, kind of a Hippie/Prairie/Churchy. Now I was imagining her topless, full lotus. “Portia?”

“Maybe. Yeah. Yes. Porsche, like the sportscar; and, it’s, like, maybe the third time I circled, she opens her eyes and…”

“Shit!”

“Shit; yeah; and she says, ‘I’m not Buddhist or Hindu or nothing,’ and I just…”

 “Fuck. Busted!” I was giggling.

Jumper got a bit more serious; gave me a look. Sideways. I had fallen a bit behind him. I knew better. I pulled even with him. “She says, ‘Jumper, Jumper Hayes.’  Not like it was a question.”

“What?” I stopped. I stopped giggling.

“Yeah. Yeah, and I say, trying to not look at her tits, which, by the way, she made no move to cover. Just, uh, out there. Eye level. Tan. They’d been out before. For sure. But, they were…” Jumper put both hands out, as if cupping breasts. I probably was trying to determine something more specific about size and shape; probably something about whether they were high and… yeah; I was wondering.

The notebook under my left arm almost fell out as I tried to duplicate Jumper’s hands. Yes, he had twisted, rotated his wrists a bit. Size and shape.

“Really?”

“Really.”

Jumper dropped his hands, started walking again. “Wait. Wait! And you said?”

“What?”

“You were about to say what you said when she said, ‘You’re Jumper Hayes.’ And it’s not Porsche like the car, it’s Portia, like, like a character from Shakespeare.”

“Shakespeare?” Jumper asked. We both nodded, neither of us sure.

“I think,” I said.  

“Well, then. Shakespeare.”

ATH-A-LETES…

We were approaching the correct block of classrooms. “We’ve missed some classes, you know.”

“You know I don’t care, Jumper; didn’t want to take this class.”

“Well; you’re a brain, supposedly; you can make it up.”

“Probably just basic stuff; getting free food, beating confessions out of the innocent, rousting Mexicans, harassing Hippies; probably inherited most of it.”

 Jumper looked to see if I was serious.  Joke.  We rounded the last corner. There was a group of about seven or eight large guys in the middle of the block.

“Ath-a-letes,” Jumper said. “It’s kind of a joke. You tell someone you’re taking Police Science, they ask if there’s a lot of athletes in the program.  Easy A, as I said.”

Several of the ath-a-letes nodded at Jumper, one at me (Fallbrook jock- lineman, shotputter, heavy weight wrestler), as we approached. Jumper stuck both hands in the air, flipping the bird with each.  The athletes gave way. We walked past them.

Most of them.  The biggest one stepped in front of Jumper. Jumper stopped. I stopped. The guy was wearing a San Dieguito letterman’s jacket that may have fit when he was smaller, younger; fourteen or fifteen.  He was somewhere over twenty. Jumper’s age, probably. “Jumper fucking Hayes,” he said.

“Tiny fucking Tod,” he said.

Tiny Tod picked Jumper up, said, “We was so worried about you, man.” Yeah, somewhere around Jumper’s age.

Jumper didn’t resist. Not that he could. Larger force. He was being shaken like a ragdoll. And then he was set back on his feet.  “Thanks, Tiny.” Jumper rearranged his shirt a bit. “I’m good. You taking this class?”

“Uh; yeah; coach said we have to.”

 “But, uh… coach?”

“I’m a freshman, Jumper. Navy, man; four years. Saw the world.”

“Okay.”

“Mostly San Di-fucking-a-go. NTC. Cook.  You?  Heard you and Chulo did some time in the Gray Bar Hotel.  Fuckin’ shame ‘bout Chulo.”

“Yeah. Um… no; they gave me, me more than Chulo; gave me a choice.”  Jumper snapped to attention. “Semper fi, Swabbie.”

“Wait. No.” Tiny Tod pointed to a ‘USN’ tattoo, with anchor, on his upper arm, grabbed Jumper’s arm.  Jumper gave him a look (we all watched the exchange, saw the look); Tiny dropped the arm.  “Sorry.”

Jumper looked around at the other students, rolled up the left sleeve on his t shirt to reveal the rest of his scar, just to the inside of the middle of his bicep.  He laughed. One syllable only, sticking his finger into the former wound, pushing it in past the first knuckle. “No muscle there; huh?”  He laughed a bit more, pulled down his sleeve.   “All right.” He looked around at the other students, back at Tiny, pointed at me. “If any of you need to, cheat off’a this guy. He doesn’t just look smart. Um, smart-er; anyway.”

All the athletes looked at me. Tiny stepped aside.  They all stepped aside. I followed Jumper.  He looked around, jerked his head as a signal. I came up even.

He kicked out with his right leg, caught me mid calf.  “Sidekick,” he said.

“No way,” I said.  I stopped just long enough to kick out my left leg. Missed. He laughed. 

Five or six men, older men; men, were standing at the other end of the building in another group; smoking, laughing. A couple of them looked our way. Jumper stopped between the two groups. I stopped; even with him.

“Okay, Jody,” he said, in a lower voice, “So I say, ‘Yes, I am. Do I know you?’ And she says, ‘I knew Chulo Lopez. You were a friend of his.’ I say, ’Chulo? Yes; good friends; known him… knew him… all my life.”

“Chulo?”

“Yeah, and then she unfolds her legs, straightens them, stands up. Gracefully.”  Pause. Even lower, “She was wearing underwear. I looked. Yeah. I did. Black. Lacy. Her skirt kind of, um, falls down. She must have had a belt to… She was a little, um, uphill of me; and she walks closer. Her tits are still, just, out there. I’m looking in her eyes. Trying to. So dark. And she’s looking me up and down. And she says, or, maybe, she asks, ‘Do you know Jesus?’ And I kind of… I kind of want to laugh. I say, ‘Yeah. Jesus; half man, half God; I know a lot about Jesus.’ And she goes, ‘Do you think Chulo has found redemption?’”

“Wait,” I said, “Redemption?” Now we’re both serious. I pulled a pack of Marlboros out of my jacket pocket. Maybe it was because all the guys at the other end were smoking. Jumper shook his head.  I put the cigarettes back.

“Yeah, redemption. And I say… a couple of other runners, joggers; they were- I’d call them joggers; outfits and all; were headed our way… from the Moonlight beach direction; and she, Portia… Por-ti-a; she pulled up her dress; slowly covered her tits, watching me all the time, and, and, I guess it was the shawl thing around her waist. She…”

“Jumper; man; what did you say?”

“I said that whoever killed my friend Chulo had better look hard for redemption; because I’m looking for him, and I must apologize to God and to Jesus for this, revenge.”

“Revenge. Shit. What did she, Portia, what did she say?”

“She…” Jumper looked from side to side, back at me. “She just sort of…” He smiled. “Smiled.”

I had, of course, more questions; but it must have been close enough to seven. A man came out of the classroom, herded the crew inside, most cigarette butts left in the number 10 can at the door; some butted and tossed into the juniper bushes. The athletes walked past, pretty much around us. When the teacher caught a glimpse of Jumper and me, he pushed the next to the last student, Tiny Tod, inside, turned, both hands waving us off. He started walking, quickly toward us.

“Dickson,” I said. “Detective Dickson.”

“That,” Jumper said, “I would call that jogging.”

                                          VISTA SUBSTATION- THURSDAY MORNING, SEPTEMBER 25

“I’ve been here before,” Jumper said. “You?”

“’Course. Yeah. Sure; my dad worked out of here.” I pointed to a separate office, big window, closed door. “That was his.” Jumper nodded. We were standing in the larger, open area, with several empty desks and rows of file cabinets for dividers; a couple of uniformed deputies leaning over a woman clerk at a typewriter in a far corner. Jumper was holding a paper cup of coffee. 

“Different circumstances, probably,” Jumper said.

The door to what had been my father’s office opened. A man dressed in a nicer suit (higher rank, better suit) walked out…   dot dot dot…

I tried to not make changes once this got onto the WordPress page; couldn’t help myself.  Again, thanks for checking it out.  Trish should be home any minute, with groceries to bring in and take out to eat.  Maybe, in the morning…

Jaime Lannister Comments on “The Code”

PERHAPS it was because I had just watched the finale of “Game of Thrones” that I got so excited when I got a comment from a James Lannister on my last posting. I wrote about how I can’t write about sessions and spots and forecasting techniques, or about decent waves or awesome sessions. Though I didn’t mention that there is a sort of code about revealing too much about surf on the Strait of Juan de Fuca; I have, over time, become more and more aware that there is one.  Maybe.

WAIT; just like the fictional character, Jaime Lannister; only, um, whoa/wow, real?

SO, rather than leave the comment in the commentary, which, evidently WordPress makes it difficult to actually submit, I decided to include it here; my comments on Mr. Lannister’s comments in parentheses. HERE:

Blogs and Instagrams which withhold a classic surf shot in hopes of not breaking the code and maintaining status amongst (note how it’s the more British-ee ‘amongst’ rather than the more mundane ‘among’) certain media darlings (maybe this is because I’ve started referring to Adam Wipeout James as a media darling- which he is) and the local(s) that live in the woods but post content clearly implying epic surf and epic surf of daring adventures (I think he meant ‘and’ daring adventures) out of state or country is an interesting scenario. One could argue there is more allure in tales lacking photographic evidence than posting the damn photo itself, thus attracting more casual wave seekers. (then there’s a smiley face- I do wonder if there’s a ‘tongue in cheek’ emoji).

jaimeLannisterTwins“So, you’re telling me, that, maybe, when the tide comes in; there might or might not be, waves?  Tidal push, you say? Very well; it’s not as if I can call someone.  I don’t even seem to have a ‘roaming’ option, and all the locals and the pretenders, not that I can tell one from the other; keep saying stuff like, “If you see waves; you had best surf said rollers,” or, “Winter’s coming;” shite like that.  Oh, yes; board bags and Westphalians. Noted.

“When I inquire as to the availability of other, possibly better wave locations, and access to these rumored breaks; I keep hearing about ‘the code.’  The code?

“And, again, to be clear; you also seem to be quite critical of my custom wetsuit armor, designed for close quarters combat.  It served me well at Rincon and Trestles… Sir Dude of the Clan of the tree-dwellers.  But, no; I will not bend a knee to your house or your banner; ‘Lib-tech or die,’ indeed.  Um, so; when is high tide, again?”

OH, I hope this doesn’t add to the allure of the wild Strait of Juan de Fuca area for more casual wave seekers.  That might be a code violation.  Thanks, James Lannister, for reading realsurfers.