The Nod-Back and the Hey, Man

                                “Hey, Man…”

As I was completing my day, loading up my work rig, I did some chatting with the owner of the house across the street, a guy whose house I painted a couple of years ago. I can’t remember his first name, but his last name is White. Somewhere in the usual tangle of conversational starts and non-finishes and peripheral stories, electric bikes and Teslas and Sprinter vans, the general theme being coolness and those of us who seek it, Mr. White said, “Well, you always have the ‘hey, man’ thing going for you.”

Yeah, I was a bit confused by the statement as well.

What Mr. White and I decided, jointly, is that even pissed-off people can only go so far in calling out those who they (the possibly rightly pissed-off person) consider, rightly or wrongly, somewhat cool.

It isn’t that I am or have ever been that… cool. Trish told me, years ago, when we were first dating (specifically, we were in my thrashed Morris Minor and approaching a guy from my high school class who was hanging out downtown with some other guys and leaning on the really cool car he had actually done some work on, and I gave him the nod), that I’m always trying to be that. Cool. “Give it up. You might never be cool.”

Whether he or any of the other guys returned the nod should be irrelevant. It isn’t. It’s totally relevant. It is relevant because I have not given up trying. If he (just remembered his name- Gary Press) did do the nod-back, great; if not; well, I probably had some excuse.

I have, in my own mind, pulled myself up a few notches on the coolness scale. I’m still surfing, getting out there, a little over a week away from my seventy-first birthday. It’s more like coolness by attrition.

I am taking the information from this googled image at face value. It’s on the internet, must be true.

A couple of things about the nod, the nod-back, and the ‘hey, man:’

ONE- When our older son, James, was in high school, a classmate, Troy, would come over to our house. This wasn’t all that easy. We live out of town. Troy would show up by looking through a window or just plain walking in. Troy had some situational, some physical, and some mental… disadvantages. Troy would explain his surprise visit with, “Hey, mon, got the game?” James probably did. He and Dru and Sean were, it seemed to me, pretty nice to Troy. Several times his stepfather would bring him over. If I was around, I got to hang out with that guy. Once the stepfather spent most of our conversation time staring at the profile of the hill across the way, talking about aliens and big foot.

“Uh huh.”

TWO- Surfers are, and have always been, reluctant to embrace new surfers on their (not arguing this part) territory. “Who’s that?” This may be particularly true with spots as fickle as those on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. I only recently, when a dude paddled out at a spot I claim as a ‘regular’ if not, strictly speaking, a ‘local’ (not that there are many true locals that far out), and said he’d never been to that spot before. “Well,” I said, “You don’t have to come back.” Even though the waves had dropped off to the usual none-to-one foot, he probably will. Persistence. Make a note of it.

So, a friend of mine was walking back from checking a spot and ran into two or three other seekers, seeking. “They gave me the nod,” my friend told me. “What did you do?” “I refused to give them the nod.” Add your own level of irony to another story from the same friend, different spot, more difficult access. “There was only one guy out. He wasn’t friendly. I said (paraphrasing here), like, ‘hey, man…’”

Persistence. Next time, I would guess, full nod exchange.

THREE- “You ever go to Doc’s restaurant,” I asked the guy whose house I had painted. “Not often,” he said, “But I was there when Richard Sherman did the tip… in the endzone.” Okay. “So, a couple of years ago, I was painting the place. Remodel. Reggie got the gig. So, this electrician starts talking. Mentions Hawaii. So, naturally, I ask him if he is a surfer. ‘Of course,’ he answered. ‘It’s Hawaii.’ So, according to Reggie, I stew about this for a while, then I go up to the guy and say, ‘Hey, man; just because you lived in Hawaii, that doesn’t automatically make you a surfer.’”

“How did he react?”

“He was kind of all right with it. So, what do you say when someone does get… angry?

“I don’t know. What?”

“You do know.”

“Yeah. Hey, man…”

2 thoughts on “The Nod-Back and the Hey, Man

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