Sweet Addiction

I’ve never been into drugs (Burning Man doesn’t count-it’s art)…they just don’t grab my attention, because from what I’ve seen they don’t let You run the show, they run You…far far away from anything that means anything. So, I’ve always stuck to my wine and the occasional slip when my husband talks me into an “edible” date night (always a big laugh later). But what I’ve realized, since Covid, and these horrid quarantine lockdowns is that I’ve developed an obsession, dare I say addiction that I just can’t kick. I’m now an affirmed addict to “surf time”. Surf time, meaning the time I get in the water on a weekly basis. I used to be satisfied and happy to get out twice a week on Saturdays and Sundays. The weekend surfer, enjoying her time off from work and her time paddling out. Those two days fulfilled me, made me feel that I was keeping up with my craft, and putting enough into it that I could feel happy that I was slowly getting better. I never felt guilty for only those two days, because that’s all I could fit into my weekly schedule with my teacher/mom/wife-life.

Now, since Covid, I don’t start my work day until 9:00 a.m. (practically the afternoon for someone who wakes up at 4:45). I wake up knowing that if I don’t get out, I’ll be crushed in my heart and soul, even worse I’ll feel like I’ve let myself down and become impassive. If I don’t get my fix -my day will be a disaster. I’ve connected “happy” to surfing as a daily routine, and if I don’t get my dose, I will crash, have withdrawals and ruin everyone’s life with my bad attitude. The bottom line is that Covid has made me an addict to surf as many days a week as humanly possible, and if I don’t, I’m a disaster.

For me there is a stark difference between the amount of days I am able to get out and the amount of time that I spend in the water once I’m out. As far as the addiction part of me is concerned, as long as I can touch the water and catch a few waves, I get my fix and I’m satisfied. It’s not the length of time, but the fact that I got out that counts. I’m usually on the clock, meaning I have a small window to get out the door and back. I don’t actually think I’ve ever surfed longer than an hour. I can leave my house and be back in about 90 minutes (that includes rinsing my gear).

Aside from my short time window because my husband and I trade off baby duty — there are a few other reasons for my short sessions. One, I get cold very fast and if I don’t keep moving I end up frozen, and trying to paddle for a wave with frozen fingers and toes makes for some interesting pop-ups. Two, I like to go for just about every wave that comes my way. I feel like I’m wasting my time if I just bob around waiting for the “perfect” shape and size. I might as well go for them all and see how it plays out. Usually I am able to catch a lot of the smaller waves that other people don’t go for, and that way I don’t have to share. I also find going for a lot of waves is more of a physical workout instead of the occasional hard paddle that gets my heart rate going for a couple minutes, and then a long rest time in between. It’s more “bang for my buck” so to speak. I like to think that I’ve actually gotten a decent workout in. Three, and the last reason for my shorter sessions is that when I’m sitting on my board, waiting for a wave my mind starts to go to the dark side. I start to look into the murky, sometimes pitch-black water and wonder what is underneath me. Or I look into the clear water and wonder what that dark shadow is, “Is it a seal or is it a rock, or is it a megalodon that forgot to become extinct?” If I’m alone when my mind starts to do this, I sometimes freak out just enough to cut things short and paddle in (and of course later I am pissed off at myself for this absurd, irrational behavior). So, for all these reasons, I like to surf as much as possible, but not for as long as possible.

When I think about the reality that someday this quarantine horseshit will be over, and we will all be back to work at our actual places of business (not in my bedroom corner teaching teenagers about Hamlet), I think, what the hell am I going to do about my addiction? They say “Once an addict, always an addict”, which means I’m in trouble. How will I get my fix? How will I get my day off to the right start without my drug of choice? I dread to think about having to re-adjust to being in my classroom grading essays at 6:45 instead of being the water.

I think that I am a pretty strong-minded woman, but that’s usually in situations where I choose to be. I don’t want to choose to go back to surfing twice a week instead of four to six times. I would rather just hold my breath like a toddler until I get my way. I would rather pout and threaten people (not sure who that would be) until I’m allowed to surf in the morning, and then come to work when I’m damn good and ready. I realize that this is infantile and totally immature thinking, but like all spoiled children and addicts — being rational isn’t part of our make-up. Of course, I know that I’m just talking out my ass when I write those things, but my Covid schedule has truly turned me into a selfish surf-monster. I suppose I’ll just have to sit myself down and figure it out. I’d just like to say for the record that although I’m not a fan of drugs, I understand the impulse to need something regardless of reason, and I have decided that I’m going to ride my addition to the end, because the highs are just too damn good.