Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dang...I Just Might Not Make It Back From This One...

I caught the damn illness that is running rampant at my job, so this one is going to be on the shorter side as my brain is feeling a bit squishy today...maybe later I will do the Thera-Flu and then write some mental hallucinogenic shit.

At least ten years ago, when I was a very young teenager, my grandparents would take my brother, my two cousins and me to East Beach for a few hours in the summer to play in the sand and boogie board in the fairly small waves.  We loved those days of beach, hopefully sunny mornings, Otter-Pops, Lemonheads, and Scoobie Doo, always somewhat dreading the time our respective parents returned from work to take us back home.

One particular June-Gloom overcast day, the waves were markedly bigger and rougher than usual.  My Grandpa said that according to the news, there was a storm far out in the ocean, and that was why the ocean was in turmoil.  This was exactly the moment I had been waiting for.  I had grown bored with the sad state of the waves that tended to break at the quiet beach, and my brother and cousins agreed that these were indeed "monsters."

Before the blankets and towels had even been properly set, I was in the water with my trusty, cheap K-Mart sponge-like board and getting knocked about relentlessly.  Eventually, I was able to paddle my way past the onslaught of crashing waves and was able to catch a few good rides.  Prideful of my boogie board deftness and adrenaline coursing through my body, I sought out bigger and bigger waves, until I spotted "the one."

The biggest wave yet came rolling in and visions of riding the barrel all the way down to the Carrillo Bath House danced in my mind, as did the bragging rights to my brother and cousins.  The pull under foot was much stronger than I had ever dealt with before, but I kicked off, determined not to let the opportunity pass me by, and I kicked and paddled with all of the speed and strength that I could muster...only my torso retaining contact with the board.

I made some headway, but the pull of the wave was too much and my board was instantly sucked out from under me.  I seemed to float in midair for an extended period of time, and the shallowness of the water below me was all to was also remarkably clear with tiny shell fragments and pebbles rolling about violently.  A moment later, I was completely prostrate under the water, arms spread in a "T" with the wave angrily breaking on my back and relentlessly refusing me an opportunity to surface for a breath.

All of the wind had been knocked out of me and I attempted to move my right arm, but the boogie board's leash was firmly affixed to my wrist and I was too deep under the water to move.  This was it...I was going to die.  How utterly stupid and ridiculous of a way for it to end.  I was a swimmer for god's sake and now I had become a burden for my Grandparents, who would unfairly be blamed.  What about my mom and my brother?  I could not stand the thought of them being sad over something like this.

My worries pushed back the panic, and it finally occurred to me to pull my left arm to my side and curl into a ball so that I could be carried underwater to the shore.  It worked and I pulled myself to the beach gasping for air and attempting to breathe after having my back bent in the wrong direction.  I angrily tore off the boogie board leash, heart pounding frantically as I went to lie on my towel and regain my senses.

No one had noticed and I was glad to keep the incident between me and the ocean.  Twenty minutes later, I was back at it, although much more cautious with my choice of waves.

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