As best I can tell, I haven’t lost my mind, and that worries me. For more than three months, I have steadfastly denied myself the supreme pleasure of riding waves. In that time, I’ve missed surfing, at times painfully so, but I haven’t done anything crazy. What I have done is potentially much scarier to me. I’ve begun to change.
Like Seth Brundle in The Fly, my experiment has led to my gradual transformation. He shed his human skin and appendages, grew coarse hair on his back, and morphed into a giant fly. “Brundlefly” as he called it. I’m also growing hair on my back (but sadly this had begun prior to the experiment), and I feel as if I’m turning into a “normal” human.
I still mindsurf every wave I see, but I’m not checking the waves religiously like I did for the first few months. Back then, not surfing was a novelty. Now it seems more like a reality.
Consciously or not, I’m fighting the change. I’ve started thinking about my return, whenever that may be. I’m randomly stopping by surf shops, checking out boards, even pulling them off the rack and putting my hands on them. You might call it groping, but nobody has kicked my out yet.
Strangely, despite the stream of Hatteras barrel images and world tour webcasts I subject myself to, I’m not feeling stress over being landlocked. I think there’s a good reason this stuff isn’t freaking me out, and it’s not just that most of the heats are fantastically boring.
Surfing really is like (somewhat healthy) crack. It relieves stress, but only the stress it has caused itself. I’m not suggesting this is the case for every surfer, just the avid ones whose lives revolve around the surf. The recreational surfers, those who I used to look down upon, I suddenly admire. They’re not the crackheads.
The moment we feel like we “have” to surf, that’s when there’s a problem. But that wasn’t me, was it? Even as a pro, I rarely felt like I had to paddle out. I wanted to. Even when my wetsuit was still sopping wet from a previous session, I wanted to.
I’m trying to pinpoint why. What made me want to surf? What was I looking for? Was it the camaraderie? The competition? The glide? The freedom? The connection to nature? The opportunity to allow my actions to speak so I wouldn’t need to?
Life has a funny way of answering questions. I’d written that last part when I stumbled upon Slomo. You may have seen him on one of those facebook links that your “friends” tell you is a must see. He’s a doctor in California who quit the rat race to rollerblade up and down Pacific Beach all day, everyday. He did some research about the addictive nature of skating (or surfing or any other pursuit that involves lateral acceleration), and what he found is interesting. He claims there’s a neurological explanation, something about receptors in our ears connecting with the center of the earth by gravity. I don’t get science, but he’s a doctor so who am I to argue?
I have no idea if this post (or this blog, or this world) makes sense. I’ve been trying to tie each entry up with a cute little bow. Not this time. It wouldn’t be true. I’m changing, and I’m not sure what I’m becoming. I’m Brundlefly. I’m Landlubborte. Maybe I should’ve stayed a crackhead.