I am not cool. There is no other way of looking at it. My list of likes reads as follows:
2: World War Two era piston engine fighter aircraft
3: chequered shirts
5: Scottish league football
Though I’ve strived to reach levels of social acceptability in the past, buying a skateboard when I couldn’t skate, saying I like Lou Reed’s poetry even though it’s shite, even owning a SnapBack which I took the sticker off because it seemed perverse to leave it on, I remain vehemently uncool. Not so uncool that it becomes cool. Just lame.
With this in mind it came as some surprise that I chose Puerto Escondido as my next place to visit. In short a surfers paradise and, I am assured some of the greatest “breaks” on the Pacific Coast, “bro”. After an 11 hour bus ride I arrived and choking for beer I went out to find a pub. The boardwalk was immediately overwhelming. Tanned surfers, male and female strode past me. The women, curvaceous, tanned and gorgeous, the men, equally bronzed with chiselled features that would shame a sculptor. I decided that rather than expose my beer gut and the fact my arms are a different colour to my torso, I would leave my Poland football shirt on.
Sitting down to drink in the style that I have become accustomed to, ie alone, I was approached by a decent enough bloke who introduced himself as “Magic”. He claimed to be a Rastafarian and certainly had the dreadlocks to prove said claim. Well, liking Bob Marley as much as anyone, I tried to engage on the one level I thought I could.
“I like reggae”, I spluttered out with as much conviction as Enoch Powell at an Eddie Grant gig. Not cool. It didn’t matter, he wasn’t listening anyway. Starry eyed he focussed his eyes as much as the weed would allow and asked;
“Ya surf man?”
I considered my next answer as best and as diplomatically as I could.
I thought that would be the end of things. As I was currently situated in a bar called “Tiki’s surf station”, I do understand his assumption. The human capacity for realising that you have almost nothing in common with someone is a remarkably rapid process, usually adhered to by both parties. However the conversation was far from dead as my new friend struck up.
“Let me explain to you the ‘surfer’s code’”
“Er….ok”, I sank the lager and braced myself.
“Number one, you must respect the ocean, the way she feels man.”
I nodded gamely, not knowing what the fuck he was talking about. Being a set body of water, the ocean, most likely doesn’t have any feelings. It seemed harsh to bring this up though.
“Number two, you need to be able to swim.”
Hold on. What? How is that rule number two? Far from stating the fucking obvious but surely that should be rule number one. It doesn’t matter how many times you buy the sea flowers, or take her to TGI Friday’s, or visit her on a Sunday, you will still die if you fall off the piece of carbon fibre separating you from drowning.
I eagerly awaited rule three. I figured it would be something as obtruse as “you need a surfboard” or something, but rule three never came. Clearly surfing was as bi-faceted as that. This would imply that anyone could indeed do it, but I knew this not to be the case, having seen the movie “Point Break” at least three times.
He nodded at me, brain dead but happy, having imparted his wisdom upon the unconverted, me. With this he drifted off into the night, and I continued to drink beer. I had feigned respect for women before, so why should the sea be any different. At least she would let me inside her before realising I was an arsehole. This, combined with mandatory school swimming lessons, would surely result in being a natural surfer, if I followed the code. But I wasn’t going to surf, or the even attempt anything like that. I was going to do the same thing that I do in every destination I visit. Get drunk and ruminate on things, if anybody wants any of my wisdom on this then you can find me at “Tiki’s surf station” until Friday or whenever they kick me out. Whichever comes first.