There is nothing quite like playing in the ocean to give you some desperately needed perspective. All the little things you worry about on a daily basis seem to vanish when confronted by the awesome body of water, tossing your ass around like a ragdoll. Like I said, JR and I celebrated Independence Day in Malibu, chillin' with the fishes. At first, the water was as cold as Loni Andersons career. But we got used to it.
The waves were small and harmless, or so we thought. At one point, we noticed everyone running for the shore. My first thought was A Shark! Then, one second later, I was unable to think about anything. A really big wave gobbled us up and spit us out onto the beach. It lasted only seconds, but it felt like an eternity. My mind kept repeating: Go with it! As if I had a choice. We crashed onto the sand and found ourselves the object of much pointing and laughter. A few yards away stood four young latino men, smiling and laughing at what they had just witnessed. We just smiled back and laughed at ourselves. Then, to my surprise, they ran towards the water, not wanting to be left out of the next round. We all played in the waves together, the ocean treated us all the same. It did not care if we were young or old, fat or thin, black or white, straight or gay. Mama Pacific is an equal opportunity destroyer.
We lasted a few more rounds. Then rested on the sand to recuperate from our wounds. JR got a sizable welt across his back and we were both bleeding from tiny rock cuts. That didn't stop us from going back in several times for more. As we left to go to dinner, I was practically in tears and JR was laughing wildly.
"You'll have a much greater respect for me once you hit thirty-five," I told him. Moments later, I was the one giggling like a schoolgirl while JR turned stony silent as the day finally caught up. To me, it felt like an emotional reset button, a way of zeroing out everything else. I needed the endorphins, I guess. It's not too often that I find myself in a good, old-fashioned life-or-death situation. Entangled in a wave, unable to do anything but ride it out: priceless.
I'm still digging sand out of places it's too horrible to describe. But, oh! The joy of being alive...