Monday, August 08, 2011

Ode to a bodyboard

If you were to tell me as a kid that one day, I'd have to break my bodyboard in half after twenty years of usage, I'd probably break down and cry. Alas, that's what happened on my recent trip to Destin, Florida. But I did not break down.

There was a time in my life (roughly, second grade through fifth) when I was immensely attracted to skateboarding, surfing, and California life. Hell, I even wanted to change my name to Steve because it was much more of a fitting (and cooler) name. Living in states (Louisiana and Texas, respectively) where an ocean with big waves was nowhere close, my mind was frequently facing west.

I did go to California a couple of times during this period to visit relatives, but eventually, my body went in different directions, away from skating and surfing. And I blame puberty -- something I jokingly say ruined my life.

I'd say the aura of skating and surfing really attracted me to this way of life. Yet when I constantly fell down trying to nail a Lance Mountain move one morning, I started to have a change of heart. Plus I heard how difficult surfing was and that made it less appealing.

But a yellow New Wave bodyboard would be my favorite weapon of choice while on the beaches of Destin, a regular vacation spot for my family. I could ride waves that were only a few feet taller than me. I wouldn't be far out in the deep, where my legs would be eye candy for sharks. And I probably wouldn't get hurt on it (which I thankfully never did).

After a thirteen-year hiatus, I visited Destin once again with my whole family (now with a brother-in-law and twin nieces) for most of last week. The waves were not strong or really high. Catching any waves was almost impossible. Instead, I spent a lot of time floating, looking at the sky, and meditating until a wave would toss me around and push salt water up my nose.

On our last day at the beach, hoping for some waves, I lied on my board and heard a large crack. I looked underneath to see the break all the way across the middle. I showed my family as I walked back onto the sand. Knowing I can get another board at any time, I still gave my board the equivalent of a Viking funeral: I folded it at the break and tossed it into a large garbage. Tapping on it like a coffin filled with a love one in it, I walked on.

I bring this up with slight humor because it's merely a board that can be replaced. I hope to get back onto a board soon and ride full waves. But I bring this all up in the sense of how you can be told about something adulthood as a child and find it terrifying and sad. Yet if (or when) you get to that point, there's nothing sad about it. You feel like enough time has passed and there is not a lot of sadness. And good memories never die.

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