Black and White and Psychedelic, Plus Polar Bear Wetsuits Flyer

Though I’m quite focused on finishing my novel, “SWAMIS,” surviving Winter and its lack of real revenue, and keeping my heart healthy enough to survive at least one more SEAHAWKS game; I have taken a little time to work on artsy stuff.

AND, partially due to a recent event in which I selfishly burned (as in took off on a wave next to but down the line from) a well known local surfer… Here’s the rule on that: Burn someone who is equally aggressive (and transgressive, etiquette-wise), or burn someone who is a relatively close friend; and you might be forgiven (plus, you have given that surfer the right to burn you on one [only] equally or better wave); but take off on someone who seems to follow all the rules (that is, is patient, passes up incredibly seductive set waves without whining, as in saying ‘wave of the day’ in the most sarcastic way, or splashing water); and, even if this surfer doesn’t instantly (and rightly) call you out for the callous, childish, greedy wave hog that you are; anyone else who witnesses your selfish move (and there’s always a witness) will; and if you cemented your own reputation for ruthless surf crimes, years ago, for burning, among others, this very same individual (even though you apologized and he said, “It’s all good.”  It’s never all good.  No one ever means this); and, even though you did, indeed, apologize for your most recent lineup infraction (this time he said, “You don’t really mean it,” and you- I mean me, of course- kind of lost the first person/second person narrative for a second- said, “No, I do,” and you meant that- mostly due to now realizing you’ve sentenced yourself to another seven years or so of bad karma and mandatory niceness/deference toward that individual any time you/I and he are in the same lineup); and partially due to my telling another local surfer (and witness) about how Trish, not surprised at my criminal behavior, would call this incident ‘just another greedy fat boy trick;’ and then I had to explain the history of that phrase; and partially due to Trish getting all excited (not about the incident) and suggesting I might write a series, possibly for future publication, entitled, “Erwin and His Greedy Fat Boy Tricks;” because of all this; I’m thinking about it.

It being my recalcitrant behavior, and, just to throw in another word I looked up just to make sure I spelled it correctly, yes, I must be, might just be, despite repeated claims to be changing my ways, a recidivist wave hog.

Again, trying to change.

The first and defining ‘greedy fat boy’ story would be this: Second eldest of seven children, with both parents working, I, partially because I seemed to be the one who got up earliest, made sack lunches for the nine of us from the age of twelve or so, about the time, coincidentally, that I started board surfing. Sandwiches.  Lots of peanut butter and jelly or lunchmeat, about a loaf a day.  My parents would bring home a bag of cookies each night, and it was my job to dispense them.  Evenly.  “Okay, eight cookies each.”  Crunch, crunch.  “Seven each.”  More crunching. I once did get down to three and a half each, but it might have been a smaller bag.

Greedy fat boy.

Other stories would have to include my insistence that I developed my bad (O could say unpopular but effective) surf techniques and (oh, I want to say skills- that would be wrong) skills, my ‘ghetto mentality,’ surfing in crowded city lineups.

“But you’re not in the city now,” you might counter. Hmmm.

“And then,” Trish said, “You can go with the greedy fat man.”  “Hey.” “It’d be all right; you’re only being self-deprecating.”  “Oh; okay then.”

Still love cookies.  Too many fucking cookies.

Okay, so here’s my latest illustration.  Yes, it’s all out black and white psychedelia.  Yes, I have told those who I’ve shown it to that, yes, I want people to wonder what kind of drugs the person who drew this is on.

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Here’s my fake flyer for fake wetsuit company, Polar Bear Wetsuits.  “Maximum stretch, minimum shrink.”

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MEANWHILE… Good etiquette has its rewards (or so they tell me).

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!

Somewhere on the (Surf) Sliding Scale

Let’s discuss the FROTH SCALE, the STOKE SPECTRUM; the level to which your adrenalin spikes and your heartbeat soars in a direct relationship (or proportion if your mind is more math-ish) to rumors, predictions, short term forecasts of waves; and, more specifically, how you react to those soothsaid prophecies (as in, “Did you see the forecast for next Wednesday [only an example]?  Sooooo sickkkkkk.  Dude.”); adding in how you *spontaneously, viscerally respond to the anticipation factor, the increased possibility of real-life, rideable, possibly-rippable, possibly-uncrowded, possibly-perfect waves as you approach a beach; and then, we’ll add in how you react when the actual waves and the actual conditions, skunk-to-score, shit-to-all-time classic ultimate; this reaction, the **intensity of this reaction shows where you are on THE SCALE.

So, yeah; pretty much just standard surf talk.

EXAMPLE ONE- You’re probably, statistically, way more likely to get a speeding ticket heading for waves than going from waves.

EXAMPLE TWO- Access to beaches, including possible surf spots, on the Strait of Juan de Fuca often requires a hike.  Often, the waves cannot be seen until one is close.  There’s faith and hope but no guarantee.  If you have hiked a mile, half of which is steeply downhill on a muddy, slippery path, and you, on first hearing waves, even before trying to discern the relative strength of the waves or an interval; break into a run… that’s probably three-quarters of the way up the scale.

*The actions our bodies take without our minds playing a major role (breathing, breathing, digestion, for example) are generally categorized as part of the bodies’ autonomic system.  Yeah, yeah; we’re talking about how we react in the moment, without allowing our trained, worn-down and cynical brains to lessen the impact.

**Flight or fight; fear or some sense of invincibility; depression or elation.  The worst and lowest place on the scale is ***NO REACTION.

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FORGET THAT; we’ll start with WETSUIT WORTHY.  It seems fitting to have Jack O’Neill, pretty much the soul daddy of cold water surfing hypothermia prevention garb, trying to decide if the waves are worth turning a not-quite-dry wetsuit back to right-side-out.

You, no doubt, have stories of times you went out when the surf was marginal, only to discover it turned into something epic.  Place that story on the scale.  Sure, you can embellish it a bit, after the fact.  This is where our brains add the color.

There is, of course, GIGGLE WORTHY, HOOT WORTHY, WET YOUR WETSUIT BEFORE IT’S ON WORTHY.  There is, or shouldn’t be a CALL YOUR FRIENDS WORTHY.  Maybe way after the fact.  At the top of the scale, just after HYPERVENTILATION WORTHY is HEART ATTACK WORTHY.

It doesn’t mean you are required to have one.

***I didn’t mean to go to three asterisks, but, if you see pretty darn good surf conditions and have no reaction, QUIT SURFING.  NOW.

Soul Rebel Underground Art

I’m working on this drawing based on a photo of Keith Darrock at a way-too-identifiable spot on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  I am thinking of making it a label for some fictitious rub on, locally sourced, marijuana-based, artisan snake oil.  Maybe.

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The other drawing is one that I did to make up for doing the lettering for my friend Stephen Davis’s new restaurant, named “Cellar Door,” not “Underground,” though it, mostly, is.

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Meanwhile, because one of my clients, heading for Hawaii, texted me something that included, “hang loose,” I got to thinking.  Yeah, yeah.  In the cold waters of the northwest, we don’t tend to hang loose, we hand tight.  More thinking.  If there is a wetsuit company that needs a new tagline, how about some variation on “Polar Bare Wetsuits- maximum stretch, minimum shrink.”

Meanwhile, Clint Thompson, pretty much a surf fixture on the Olympic Peninsula for a while, has sold his house in PA, most of his 50 or so board collection, and is headed back to Florida.  His going away party was last night, possibly still going.

 

Paipo, Sunset Landmark, Ukulele Poser

Here is Port Townsend’s newest landmark. Stephen Davis, back from a trip down to Baja, back up again, with stops (to visit friends, some surfing) along the way, is giving the celebratory high sign for the sunset I painted on “Shortboard” Aaron’s house.  It’s high enough and visible enough that I (humbly) suggest it is the newest landmark in Port Townsend.

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It wasn’t super easy. I started with the yellow and the dark red, painted one half of the entire thing; then Aaron came home, asked, “Are you happy with it?” “Well, um…” The intermediate/transition colors did look, I had to agree, a little like makeup foundation. SO, I got a quart of dead-ass orange, rearranged the ladders, and… Yeah, now I am quite (humbly) happy with it.

HERE’S a shot of Stephen’s friend (one of his friends), Stig, in Hawaii, showing off his modern version of the classic PAIPO BOARD, the precursor to the boogie board.

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NOW, according to Steve, Stig, who I have yet to meet, insists on surfing in speedos (aka bunhuggers), so, kind of okay with this shot.  No, he would wear a wetsuit in the northwest; pretty sure.

FINALLY, here’s a shot of some poser posing (as poser’s do) with Stephen’s ukulele. YEAH, it’s like Geppetto saying, “Look, Pinocchio, I can wail!”

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YES, it is sideways.  I’ll fix it.  MAYBE.

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SO, just to kind of even out the poser scale, here’s my son, James, actually wailing on guitar, with me (not posing, I’ve been playing for about fifty years and have many dead harmonicas to prove it) on harmonica.

JAMES DOES WAIL!  And, yeah, honest, there’s a harmonica behind that Geppetto hand.

MEANWHILE, even the coast is looking dismally flat.  Hope you’re getting some waves.

Another Negative Image

FIRST, it’s not surf season along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. One must go coastal. Some friends of mine recently did; sharing an adventure that anyone who doesn’t live in the Pacific Northwest would consider the classic Pacific Northwest surf trip: Hiking with backpacks and surfboards, dropping down ropes (and climbing back up again) to possibly-never-surfed spots… exhausting.

OR, one could go to Westport, look for a parking spot, look for an empty wave.

OR, one could work. It is painting season, yes; but my wetsuit is dr-yyyy-yyy; and, yes, I’m thinking coastal.  Coastal.

MEANWHILE, I did complete a new drawing; meant to be reversed, black-for-white.  I don’t really know how this is going to work until I get to a print shop.  SO, last night, sort of hoping to run into the guy (Jay) at the Sequim Office Depot, who has a handle on such things, I, instead, ran into a person who asked another employee how to do the reversal. She wasn’t sure, either; and the first two attempts saw the image reversed but the black staying black.

“No, I kind of meant…”

ON the next attempt, what had been black was now red.  “Whoa! Didn’t know you could do that.”  “I guess we can.”

On the next attempt, we (with my input and the other Depot person’s advice) got it right.

“OH, but, um, can you do other colors?”  They looked it up.  “Red, yellow, magenta, blue, some other color.”  “One of each, please; full-sized; then a couple of eight and a half by elevens.  Please.”

NOW, suddenly, I’m a little irritated with myself that I didn’t get some smaller, as in scannable on my printer, versions of the ones in color.  Here’s the black-for-white version:

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I did lose some detail here; I’m blaming my scanner.  Now, imagine everything that is black as red, or blue, or…  and now imagine you are, quite exhausted from the hiking, out of a beach with silvery-shiny-glassy-empty-near-perfect waves.  And now imagine… whatever you want.

No, not being stuck in traffic.

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.

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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!

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…

Four Days Strait

OKAY, If I choose to write about surfing, surf culture, real surfers along the Strait of Juan de Fuca, I can, because it’s America (one day from Memorial Day, and the official start to outdoor grilling season), I can say pretty much whatever I want.  Freedom.  YEAH, well; then there’s popular sentiment and, I must admit, some self-centered reasons for not writing EVERYTHING.

HERE’S what I can’t write about: CAN’T name spots, even those pretty much everyone who has ever surfed the Strait knows; CAN’T publish photos of any waves over one foot (should these photos even exist); CAN’T divulge tide/wind/swell direction formulas (mine or any one else’s) for determining best chances to avoid getting skunked (even if not getting skunked means, merely, getting some of those previously-mentioned one footers); CAN’T besmirch or demean any local surfers by name or, even, by giving away clues as to the identity of said locals (and I’m not defining or arguing your definition of locals here).

In the non-writing category, the main no-no is calling up your buddy from some spot with one footers sloppily lapping on rocky shores (and, hopefully, you’re being charged Canadian roaming fees, with tariffs), with a ‘Hey, Hipster-Bud, High-Bank is just f’ing firing. Calf-high sets. No, really. How long it might take you to get here from Gold Bar? No, I don’t know about the ferry backup or if the Hood Canal Bridge is closed, or if 101 is closed due to an accident, or if downed trees are blocking 112. Sheet, man; I’m just trying to get you some waves.”

It is kind of okay to tell surf stories and reveal surf secrets to people who have no real interest in ever challenging you for a set wave; and it’s kind of okay to brag about your latest surf exploits to a few friends, AFTER THE FACT.

Most of these ‘can’ts’ are, admittedly, self-serving.  Surfing is just sooooo cool.  I don’t mind (or fear) saying that.  I don’t want MORE SURFERS in the water; some of them, undoubtedly, ready to get pissed-off because someone might be getting more tiny tubes than they are.  Or many more.

ANOTHER ARGUMENT for not sharing is that it takes away from the joy one will feel when discovering these things for him or herself.  YEP, there’s nothing like the thrill of hiking through the woods, down a slippery trail, only to find… nothing.  NEXT TIME.

ANYWAY, I will reveal two of my secrets: If Keith goes camping or Adam makes a stealth run; there will be something.  A problem there is, they might not (probably won’t) let me know until it’s over, or, at best, when that small window is closing.

SO, one (non-specific) day last week, checking the buoy readings and tea leaves frequently; I decided to go (mostly because my painting project get shut down due to the client not happy with the color she chose).  I talked my friend, Stephen Davis, into going with me, promising waves based on the hope that the angle would improve, and that Keith was out there somewhere, no doubt, scoring  AND, SURE ENOUGH, it was big enough to ride if one didn’t worry about losing another fin.

SIDEBAR: Tyler Meeks had a bunch of fins for sale at the DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE, sold them all.  ADVICE: If you go, bring extras.

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Okay, if you recognize the spot, one, don’t tell anyone; and, if you do, be sure to say this is a big day.

BUT, since I’m not the only one willing to be fooled by buoy reading that should mean waves, there’s always the enjoyment of hanging out.

20190522_182419I keep forgetting to take photos of real surfers, but here’s Tugboat Bill, ready to rip.

This is Gavin, originally from South Africa (once sat next to Jordy Smith at a restaurant at Jeffry’s Bay), an electrician and Whistler ski instructor; cooking lamb (smells good, not willing to taste it- did once) after his wife, Char, invited Steve and I to tour his Sprinter van. Though Steve is planning on going to Baja soon, Gavin is “through with Baja.”20190522_182550

So, yeah; one learns a lot while hanging around and waiting. NOT PICTURED is this other guy who was sitting on a five gallon bucket when we got there, quite willing to talk about how, possibly because he disrespected some Hawaiians, he suffered… (I don’t want to get into it, and, because he kept talking about it, I decided to risk my last unbroken fin).

AND, I MUST ADD, others pulled into the parking area, drawn by the hope and the anticipation.  DARREN was lured into the water, possibly, noting that SEAN, teacher from P.A., and I were rock-skimming.

STEPHEN took a nap.

SO, THREE DAYS LATER, Adam having made at least one stealth strike, Keith extending his camping trip, Steve and I risked skunking again.  And, now, finally something I can’t write about.  I have at least one photo, though I should have taken more that I can’t publish; more of real surfers.

 

Here’s my daughter, Drucilla’s, new van and the woman she bought it from. Le (pronounced Lee, but, she told me, ‘with just one e’), originally from Vietnam, but of Chinese ancestry, and… things you learn in parking lots. This one is outside the Quilcene Post Office, down on Surf Route 101.  The second photo is of the Deli section in the Poulsbo WalMart, taken because, there, partially because Dru only has a learner’s permit, and I was the duty instructor; but, mostly, because, Trish (at home on the phone) didn’t believe that there was no longer a place where one could get non-pre-packaged macaroni salad.

YEAH, not a surf story.  Not that I don’t have some.  SO, to all folks in the many many vehicles with multiple surfboards on them, with hopes and anticipation of overhead bombs; GOOD LUCK; hope you have some great stories you can’t tell.

Except, maybe, in some distant, out of cell range parking area.

Biscuit and Victor and Adam Wipeout

It seems to some of us (okay, mostly me) that Media Darling Adam Wipeout James gets more opportunities to surf than many of us married surfers (again, mostly me) can get away with without some pushback from our significant others.

I have stated, and do again state, that surfing has always been (the equivalent of) the other woman in my relationship (since 1968) with Trish.

And Adam, who has younger children, Emmett and Calvin (one or the other of them nicknamed Boomer), younger, given that my baby boy, Sean, is 37 (just turned, the other two, Dru and James, are 39 and 42- Ow- shocking, even to Trish and me), still seems to slip away to various spots from south to north, northwest, while others of us scheme and study and try to schedule waves to coincide with some window of opportunity to chase them.

The last time I ran into Mrs. James, Andrea, at the HamaHama Oysterama, I did try to ask her how she allows her husband to be so, so, so… surfer-like.  She was just rushing past, possibly chasing Boomer or non-Boomer, and didn’t actually answer. Joel, another surfer with children, who also happened to be there, was equally inquisitive.

“I’m glad you didn’t actually ask her,” Adam said, when he was passing by, schmoozing his way around the festivities.

But I did. She just didn’t answer.

NOW, in truth, Adam works an incredible number of hours, many of these hours on cold tide flats in the middle of the night; and travels to oyster-related events far and wide (and not always near waves). I honestly don’t know when he sleeps.

SO, here’s an incident that counters the narrative that Adam’s relationship with surfing if just too, too, um, desirable:

The story involves Adam pre-dawn patrolling it on Mothers Day, then, when he got back into cell phone range, discovering that the new lamb, Biscuit, was out; their dog, Victor, was involved (and possibly Adam had left some gate accessible if not open), and Andrea was, according to Adam, “not particularly happy.”

Wait. What?

So, no second (or third) session; and back down Surf Route 101 to search for the baby lamb, one that needed a bottle every, um, so often, lost in the rough terrain that features coyotes and cougars and Sasquatches.  So, kind of dire.

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Victor, trying to make up for leading Biscuit astray.

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Wait. Is that something Adam rode to look for the lost lamb, or something else lost in the deep woods?

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BISCUIT!

All photos by Adam Wipeout.  What I asked for was a photo of Adam walking down the hill with the lamb over his shoulders, hero-like (with some unavoidable comparison possible with THE good shepherd- nothing too deep). Wouldn’t have the same effect if Adam was packing the lamb out on the motorbike.

So, Adam; how were the waves again?