Ocean Ideas and Book Hunting

October 19, 2014

When I moved into my last apartment I met a musician who also happened to be a former surf instructor. (Side note: at what point do I get to reference my previous jobs as “past lives”?) She was selling a shortboard and told me it’d be great for me since it’s so lightweight, etc., etc. and I figured since it was already sitting in my new room, why not? I mean, I can’t sew two strips of fabric together and that didn’t stop me from buying two body forms. I told myself it was the push I needed to get into something I’d always wanted to do, and just three years later, here I am, finally finished with my first time surfing ever–of course, not with the board I bought though. That’d make too much sense.

I waited until it was officially fall to start since I’d never want my status as a grade-A procrastinator questioned, but it was still a warm, mellow morning on the beach, even for October. It was all fine and good until someone mentioned covering your head when you emerge from the water as not to get hit by the board and then I couldn’t stop picturing and fixating on that image.

People have a lot of ideas about what the ocean can be a metaphor for and the grand life lessons surfing teaches you. I have none of my own to contribute now having barely more than zero experience, but I think it really just teaches you whatever it is you subconsciously need to learn–patience, perseverance, knowing precisely the time to make your move and when to submit to forces you can’t control. Maybe it’s that the yearning for the lesson was there all along and it needed a vessel to inhabit so you could actually recognize it.

That’s enough of me riffing on things people say about water sports for now. I’m off to read Gone Girl and while I know I’m supremely late to the party, I’m not as late as the man at the local book store I called when I was trying to support small businesses on my quest to buy the book:

“Do you have ‘Gone Girl’ in stock?”

“…What is ‘Gone Girl’?!

“A book?” (note: probably shouldn’t have said that like a question.)

“Well what is it? Who’s it by?!”

“Gillian Flynn.”

“What is it?! I mean is it a novel? A horror?!”

Yes and possibly, but maybe not as horrific as communicating with him was. He did sound just that exasperated with every reply, but I can’t blame him too much. It’s addictingly peaceful not to be so in tune with what everyone else is doing, reading, and seeing–

Being in the ocean taught me that.

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  • bm

    Having been born & raised in LA, I’ve still never even *tried* surfing. I applaud you for attempting it even with October non-warmth in the air.

    (…I’m also curious which bookstore you called.)

    • nhihong

      Hello! Hope your NY adventures have been swell.

      I think it was Sam Johnson’s? Not sure, since I called a few stores that day!

      I am loving your website :)