Friday, December 22, 2006

Called out.................

What the hell? Where did that hay-maker come from?

Ding and I had pulled in from our check of Suckups and parked in the newly mowed parking lot. Pulled up and parked alongside a mini-van from California according to the plates and I used "mowed" facetiously, to describe the four feet of sand that was bull dozed back onto the beach. Sure as grass to return in the coming months it sits smoothed by the machine, awaiting the next storm's request to move inland.

The waves are still disorganised and missing the sandbar that two weeks ago had us hooting each other and doing laps around the peak. Even the wind had held off and allowed the double overhead sets to save their shape for the take off. A thick Aleutian swell had emerged from the north stretched out in 16 second intervals, punchy and intimidating. Picking off the insiders and dodging the outsiders became the afternoon's activity, with predictable results. And that evening I felt solidly worked over as if somehow a Mack truck had been gently rolling back and forth over my back.

Today we are spectators and taking in the lot as it's daily visitors disgorge from their rides. This sideshow is a never ending display of humanity and we lean back in the seats to take in a group of people as they line up for the family shot in front of the monolith. There is an attractive woman in the midst of them and she breaks off to come back to the car alongside us and she then cajoles the remaining passenger within to join them on the beach for a few minutes. He resists mostly but finally her remonstrations convince him to leave the comfort of the car for the sand and freezing temperatures.

Silently Ding and I follow this small commotion making comments under our breath as a lumbering hulk climbs out, red haired and solid he has trouble walking smoothly in the sand as it moves underfoot. He has some genetic issues against him and she helps him down the beach. After a couple of minutes he returns on his own, back to the protection between our vehicles.

Our eyes catch and he takes the opportunity to start a conversation. He's at a loss as to why the waves are breaking further out than the last time he was at the beach and our explanations do not impress him. It soon becomes obvious he has no interest in what we have to say just passing time in his own world. He talks a bunch but a speech impediment slurs his words badly and the conversation becomes stilted on our end but he sails forth with or without us.

He turns to look at us and tells us without any segue that his brother has a Ukranian wife but his eyes have that sparkle of enticement that those wanting to share a sweet secret have. Further knowledge is given that there are some in the group of his, who have never seen the ocean. Ding asks him where he lives, Portland? No, is the response he lives ninety miles from here, we name other towns all come back negative, finally he gets it and blurts out "Oregon City!". Christ that is Portland to the rest of us, but he isn't claiming it.

Ding and I lose interest in the red behemoth as we placed bets as to who the Ukrainian wife could be and settle on the attractive woman we had seen earlier. Red asks us what we do, I respond without really thinking that we surf and hang out here. There is a lot more truth to it than I want to admit, but figure it's lost on him anyway. His eyes pop open as if he has heard a horrible thing and he repeats it word for word, his gaze is now fixed on us and the look of disdain is clear " You come here every day?"

He seems to totter on his feet as he tries to digest this fact, but he asks no questions, just repeats my reply. For some reason his hair grows out of his head wildly, short and cropped it nonetheless spikes in random directions, in combination with the beady eyes it is a disconcerting face. "Well we surf here." I try to explain, but he just smirks and says "All the time!" It's not a question he is grilling me as if I've just admitted to taking something that doesn't belong to me. It's all of a sudden uncomfortable, Ding and I are at a loss for words. It's apparent that he is not impressed with us, surfing just has no allure to him.

We have nothing now, there isn't the subtle shift of acknowledgment that people who don't surf will often give to those who do. The conversation dribbles away and Ding and I are returned to dissecting the rest of the returning group. We spot the grandfather who has never seen the ocean before and are correct with the Ukrainian bride choice. She stands out because of her fashion sense more than anything else, too glossy for Oregon City, but not quite Paris either. She is slightly coquettish with none of the reservedness of a western European and quite at home amongst this American family as her husband hovers near her.

Big Red loudly but to no one in particular says, "They come here every day!" The mini-van fills up again and backs out. Ding and I look out over the grey ocean a half hour is left to days end....... well, there will be another surf check tomorrow.

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