Sunday, March 2, 2008

That Guy in the Parking Lot

My mom's a serial shopper. She even loves to return things, as it's basically an extension of the shopping process. When she hands over a gift, she usually begins, "You know, it's really not perfect for you, and it's probably not your color. If you'd like, I could return it..."
There's something about her hopeful expression that, no matter how awesome the gift, makes you nod and hand it back over.
There's a guy like this at my local spot. Let's call him Steve (to protect Dave's real identity). Every time I see Steve in the parking lot or in the water, he orders a board. Usually, he'll paddle back over after a half hour or so and cancel. Sometimes he'll find me in the parking lot after the session and cancel. A few times he's called and canceled. He always apologizes.
Steve likes colors, and always spends a few minutes throwing out suggestions from the "you ever do a..." school.
"You ever do a reverse lime-green tint with an avocado opaque bottom and red horizontal pigment stripes on the deck?" he asked me around Thanksgiving.
Steve looked proud of his idea promptly ordered it. He found me in the parking lot later and canceled, looking embarrassed. "My wife..."
"You ever do an egg that looks like an actual egg?" he asked last month. "You know, in fried-egg colors?"
"That's what I want," he said, then paddled for a wave, stoked. He called later that day: "Um, about that board..."
Steve found me the other day in the parking lot. "Hey," he said. "You ever do a board that looks like my dog?"
"It would be brown with white spots," he began, pointing down at Diesel, his blotchy-furred terrier, a stick permanently dangling from the corner of his mouth. "I want it to be a pintail tri-fin, just like him." Diesel has three legs.
Steve shook my hand before pulling his hood over his head and trotting off over the dunes toward the breaking waves. Diesel bobbed behind, stick wedged firmly in mouth.

I love Steve.
He fantasizes about boards as much as I do, maps them out in his head, dreams about riding them. Instead of simply imagining himself on the boards he peeps online or in the water, he takes it to the next level. He orders one.
It is my mother's art: shop-then-return, and I don't blame Steve one bit.
The waves weren't speaking to me that day, so I headed home and shaped Steve's board. I knew he'd be calling later to cancel, but that didn't stop me.
And instead of imagining the completed board at its logical next residence--propped in the racks of Ft. Bragg's The Surf Shop (a fine establishment)--I envisioned it darting across one of our local beachbreak waves, Steve marking a high trim line, swooping down to beat a section, then rocketing back up onto the face. I imagined Steve padding back up to the parking lot, triumphant, crisp new 8'4" pintail tucked under his arm. Reaching his truck, he would bend down to take the stick from the mouth of his buzzing, leaping, dancing three-legged wirehaired terrier, and throw it into deep into the dunes. Mad with purpose, the tiny animal would blaze after it, a brown-and-white spotted blur against the sand. Later, they would climb in the truck together and head for home, one dreaming about ordering a board the color of iceplant blooms in the spring, the other a smooth, weighty stick and an endless supply of human arms to launch it into the dunes beyond.

Anyway, The above two photos are of Steve's 8'4" pintail, and it's up for grabs if you're interested. The blank is by Surfblanks, the shape is a solid all-rounder, has a 2+1 fin setup, and is sitting on a rack at Fatty's right now awaiting her life-giving talents.
On a side note, it has been pointed out to me on several occasions that I resemble White House Press Secretary Dana Perino. While I'm sure Ms. Perino would be flattered by this odious comparison, I must point out that first, I'm a dude, and second, my frosty 'do is a classic flapper bob, whereas Ms. Perino's is clearly a trussed-up pageboy.
Nuff said.


Goolboy said...

Great post!! dude. It make me wanna order a slider fm ya & not cancel it.

brownfish said...

Steve is stoked. With or without the board. Another great post. G

clayfin said...

Man, your posts always make me want to rush down to the garage and start shaping another board.

KYScoast said...

Yeah, nice post Jamie. Nice lookin' all-rounder as well.