My editors forced me to address my problem with the word “I” before they allowed me to write anything else this week.
[media-credit id=20135 align=”alignleft” width=”250″][/media-credit]Sure, you may see it in my columns, but it hurts every time I use it. Maybe I just don’t get turned on by fellating my ego, but it seems too self-serving to just go on and on about myself every week. And yet, here I am. At the insistence of the sports team, you’re all doomed to mire with me in my depression.
So after some melancholy Pabst therapy, I decided my problem is that I’m a bitter asshole.
Why am I bitter? I wasn’t always a gloomy shmuck.
Part of it is that I blew my shoulder out on a nothing-special head-high wave this winter break, just trying to avoid running some kook over.
Now I’m faced with a shoulder injury that has had me out of the water and unable to do more than lift my backpack for the last month. With no hope for a quick recovery in sight, my surf withdrawals are getting hectic. I creep out my surf peers in my crippled state, standing on my balcony and sighing as I watch the waves roll in. The past two weeks of solid swell have been particularly hard to overcome.
Today I realized that my next quarter will be my last here. And given the funk I’m already in, I couldn’t help but dwell on regrets that I’ve steadily tried to deny.
Some were pretty mundane. I could’ve done more schoolwork. I could’ve raged less. It might have done me well to see past the beer goggles on occasion. I could’ve conducted myself with accountability in mind.
Not shockingly, my most striking regret is that I didn’t surf more.
In retrospect, I’d probably be a happier person right now if I had skipped class and gone surfing a couple dozen more times every quarter. I think I’d top the dean’s list, be less sloppy and more driven if I had gotten up for the sunrise every day.
Sure, waves might not always reach expectations, but if you set your minimum surf quota at taking a paddle in placid Lake Pacific, a surf session is about the most wholesome thing there is. Even the tiniest little urine-splatter-sized ripple of a wave can appease your soul.
At the same time, time between sessions can be some of the most agonizing tear-out-your-face-with-a-crowbar periods of your life.
Do you remember the story of Anton Pavlov, and his experiments with conditioning? Long story short, dogs were found to begin salivating at the sound of a bell because it made them anticipate a meal. Trained to come to dinner at the sound of a bell, they would even salivate when a bell rang even without the meal being prepared.
Surfing has a similar effect on me. Well, not completely similar — no one cut a hole in my belly — but I have been conditioned by the pursuit of surf. Now, the dull roar of waves from my I.V. bedroom, the mention of a barrel, the sight of a set from my DP apartment and any moment of weakness when I boot up Surfline all get the surf juices flowing. But now that I can’t dig into the juicy surf buffet that I.V. has been offering the past few weeks, my manifest surf destiny has become a burden.
So learn from me. Now that I am wary of surfing for fear of re-injury, I can see all the missed opportunities.
Sure, you may have that business presentation with the TMP program that you can’t show up to all salty with I.V. run-off dripping out of your nose. And you’ve got that fucking midterm tomorrow already and you haven’t bought the course reader yet. You might have developed an affection for scotch.
Let me tell you now, all those commitments you have — they’re mainly indulgences. They will keep you from the ultimate pursuit.
Daily Nexus Surf Columnist Elliott Rosenfeld wasn’t crying, he swears. Something just got in his eyes.