I took this picture from the pier in Ocean Beach, California back at the end of May. I have a new camera that I’ve been playing with, and I was trying to get a decent action shot from the dozen or so guys and girls surfing there that afternoon. This guy seemed to be the only one who wasn’t super retentive when it came to picking a potential wave to ride, and the only one who seemed fairly adept at riding them when he did. I hated him instantly.
First, I have to say that I’m pretty proud of this picture. I think it’s pretty cool, despite the fact that he’s the guy in it. For likely all of us, this is the most we’ll ever know about him: he’s athletic, has good balance, can afford wet suits and nice surfboards, and looks way cooler than he probably is. Well, I had the benefit of watching him among his peers, all of them bobbing in the surf like clumsy, tired sea lions (I had silently hoped for a better picture, one of a Great White exploding from the water with an arm or leg stuck in its teeth, like the bits of pork and beef that hang from mine as I explode from the all-u-can-eat buffet at the local Barbecue Pit), and I was able to accumulate considerable assumptive evidence that he was, frankly, a tool. I don’t like this guy and here’s why:
1). He’s a guy. Generally speaking, I don’t like any male adult until I have the opportunity to get to know him. This has worked well for me in the past, because I’ve found most men with whom I’ve had to associate were unlikable once I got to know them (there were exceptions); the preemptive dislike saves considerable time, effort and, had I applied this philosophy earlier in life, many cuts, abrasions and bruises.
2) He lives in Southern California, possibly in Ocean Beach. That is not fair. I love Ocean Beach; everyone there seems super chill and goes about their business casually and without judgement of others. I want to live in a community where you can step out on your front porch each morning in torn t-shirt and boxers and no one stares scornfully at you. (Actually, I do live in one, but that’s more a function of socio-economics). Sadly, I am too poor; a similar level of subsistence in Ocean Beach to that which I enjoy in Tucson is at present unattainable for me.
3) His name is “Trey”, “Spence”, “Cam”, or simply “Dude”. Even if he has a normal first name, like “John”, or “Jim”, his last name is “Ringo”, “Slaughter”, or “Sixkiller.” My first name is Richard, and the most common nickname associated with it is to me almost unmentionable and in all ways unacceptable. Worse still, my stepfather has the same name and by virtue of age claimed the prefix of “Big”, while I was left with “Little”. This is no way for a boy to grow up.
4) Either his watch is waterproof, or he’s an idiot. I don’t even own a watch. My wife, partner or cellphone will tell me when it’s time to go. Wearing a watch while surfing implies that he has a pressing engagement that will, at some point, necessitate his leaving the water. “Hi, Jean. I’m going surfing. Hold my calls and push the meetings to 3:30.” Please. When I’m in the water, the only urgent calls to leave are 1) onesies, and hey, it’s a big ocean, 2) twosies (it’s not that big of an ocean), or 3) it’s time to eat, and my gut tells me when that is.
5) He failed to follow surfing protocol. There seems to be a certain code to adhere to when catching a potential wave. Apparently, when you lie on your belly and start flailing your arms like a baby sea turtle trying to make it from egg to tide, the others are supposed to back off; this guy would go and basically force the others off the wave, lest they be subjected to an unscheduled prostate check with a pointed, six foot fiberglass board. Granted, most of the other surfers seemed to be pretenders, or at the very least extremely selective when it came to judging the quality of an incoming wave, but it was still clear that he held little regard for his fellow surfers.
I don’t like this guy; I don’t care if he knows it. If any of you know him, you can tell him I said so. Course, maybe I should have taken the time to get to know him…