Greetings From Thailand, Vortex

People frequently ask me about Archie Endo, world traveler, salmon roe expert, former fixture on the surf scene (such as it is) on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  Archie was working (I think tuna, the processing and distribution of, was the fish he was connected with) in Thailand when he suffered a stroke.  This was about two years ago, and his recovery has been slow.

I did, however, just get a reassuring email from him.  He’d gone to a couple of spots in Thailand, and actually got in the water.  He said he needs a lot more physical therapy before he’ll be back to reasonable form.  “More water time seems best,” I wrote.

Here’s a shot he sent of a crappy beachbreak with some Thailandian version of a Hawaiian kickout.  I think.  Maybe.  And a shot of a reef break that Archie discovered.  If you’ve ever surfed Crescent (not a secret spot and please forgive me for naming it here), the takeoff zone inside the boil adjacent to the island is called by me, and should be by you, Archie’s Reef.  He was a master of zig-zagging from there into the creek.  When he gets back into form, he will, no doubt, master Archie’s Reef Thailand.

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Archie did go with me a couple of times when he was back in the Northwest. He wanted to go, and seemed relatively content to watch from the beach, talking with some of the other regulars, offering me advice when I came in.  Example: “The waves are long enough.  You could, I think, stand up.”  “Yeah.”

A few great things about going surfing with Archie: One, Trish really likes him; and it’s always all right to go if he’s going.  Two, despite the fact (pointed out to me numerous times) that Archie is incredibly courteous and well behaved in the lineup and I’m not, that he’s quiet and reserved and I don’t even try to be; Archie seems to enjoy surfing with me.  Three, Archie is a musician and there might be some singing and harmonica playing on the road there and back (if I was driving), or taped surf music from an incredible variety of world locations (and some singing and harmonica playing) if he drove.

OH, and, four, he doesn’t at all mind if I have to stop in Sequim to hit Costco and/or WalMart, maybe a couple of other stops on the way home.  Shopping there is part of my justification for surfing; Trish, on the other end of the cellular device, seems to appreciate this, though she always has at least one (very specific) item I can’t find.  Otherwise, date night for Trish and me is a SequimTrip, or worse, Silverdale/Poulsbo.

Yes, I do imagine it seems a bit weird, perhaps, to see Archie and me cruising the aisles, him pushing the cart, me elbowing my way to collect a double dose of food samples.  Odd couple.

I should add that Stephen Davis has also done the Sequim Stop a few times, without complaint; added stops, probably, at Michael’s, where he has a great discount, and Office Depot if I happen to have some art piece ready for printing.  Soul Rebel/librarian Keith (different than Cougar Keith, who will appear shortly) went with me several times, got a ticket for no seatbelt in the backseat on one adventure.  Keith did the Sequimstop maybe twice; took the car over to get gas while I (short list) Costco-ed.  We met up in Sequim the next time, rode with him, and he just had to tell everyone that I spilled pretty much a whole cup of coffee into his glovebox (“Hey, I thought it was, like, a fold down tray”) somewhere on Surf Route 101.

“I don’t want to get caught in that vortex,” Aaron (formerly ‘shortboard Aaron,’ now, maybe ‘omni-board Aaron’) told me in declining my invitation to ride together when it appeared we were headed to pretty much the same spot.  Oh, sure; it was fine for Cougar Keith to meet with Aaron at the DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE and ride with him.

In the end, of course, Aaron was right.  Vortex.  On the way home I stopped at the Lower Elwha gas station, had to go inside with a line of folks buying ‘half a rack’ because the card reader wasn’t reading (at least not my card); ran into the Office Depot (without any current artwork) to buy envelopes for our (yeah, it’s late) Christmas cards; into PetSmart for two replacement blankets for the cat in our mudroom (I fixed the leak that soaked the others), hit Costco (spending way too much time looking for gloves- managed to buy the wrong ones), then WalMart (always a joy, always overdressed), then, because neither of those places had the proper Christmas ham, Safeway, (where the fucking russet potatoes not in bags were fucking not in the produce section but at the fucking front of the fucking store).  Then Burger King; no pickles no mayonnaise for Trish. All the while, because the proper shopping pair of glasses had a broken earpiece, and the glasses I grabbed on the way out (for drawing) were waaay too strong for shopping (or walking, or reading a menu board at Burger King); the experience was, yes, Aaron, a fucking Vortex.

My older son, James, still uses Sequim as a verb (sequimed) and as an adjective (sequiming), and as a noun (sequimers) when Jason Finley referred to Sequim as “the pullout capital of the world,” adding, “those old people just don’t care.”  Before the highway bypassed downtown, I said “it takes as long to get through Sequim as it takes to get to Sequim.”  This was years ago now, I qualify, almost (always someone older), as one of those old people.  Still; VORTEX.

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Okay; I’m calm now.  As it says in our (modified, late) Christmas cards, “If you can’t hibernate peacefully, Holiday Joyously!

One thought on “Greetings From Thailand, Vortex

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