Sunday, January 4, 2009

Water Home

I am going to be a professional surfer by 40.  I've just decided.  Tour managing is a high stress job.  You are the provider of information, like a DSL line.  If you are not connected you're likely not the right person for the job.  Thing is, the more blackberries and cell phones you have, the more you are connected and the less "life time" you have for yourself.  I have been attempting to find balance for the last 10 years I've been doing this shit.  
I first went for the old anchor.  The boyfriend.  That didn't work.  I leave for work.  And my work is my work.  Everyone goes to work.  I have to go to work away.  Boys don't like that so much.  So then I tried yoga, work outs, etc...but I need the trainer to go with it to literally pick me up and take me to the gym.  Then I complain the whole time I'm there.  That sucks.

Then there's this boy I was hanging out with and in order to hang out with him more, I had to surf.  Now I am no special black person.  I too was afraid to even get in the ocean.  I didn't learn to swim until I was 9.  It took all summer.  This white family I used to hang with took me everywhere and it always required swimming.  While it is a known fact black folks don't do too much swimming, I'm not sure if you know what a production it is.  Deep seeded.  Let me explain:

In the 70's and 80's 9 year old black girls got their hair oiled and pressed with a hot comb that's been sitting on a stove, every 2 weeks, normally Sunday evening, so that the hair is funky fresh dressed to impressed ready for school.  This is pre-flat iron, pre- take your kid to the hair dresser.  Momma did it.  So with all that work, there's no way in HELL that I was allowed to swim.  I wasn't even allowed in peoples houses.  Particularly white people with dogs. Particularly white people with dogs who kiss them.  But that's another story.

This is why when summer comes, you will find black girls with braids.  It is in fact a hair issue.

When I did finally learn to swim, I had to wear a swim cap, circa Esther Williams.  The kids made fun of me, who wouldn't.  Until I begged for a perm so I'd have an easier time.  I could go on about the mixture of lye and chlorine but that's beside the point.  Plus it becomes a longer story.  Bottom line.  Hair issues are why black girls don't swim.  Not having access to jet skis, waterskis, snowskis, snowboards, sailboats - all of the things this white family in the same neighborhood actually - is why most black people do not do all of those things.  That middle passage story is a bit far-fetched if you ask me.

In the midst of all of this, I still was afraid of the ocean and it's slime and slimy fish that may want to rub against my toes.  And finally the obvious,  sharks.  

So in order to surf, one really has to cast all of their crazy fears aside and then go for it. Overcoming your fears is a really great high...scary, but great.  I can count the times I've caught a wave and every time it happens, it's an instant addiction.  It's pretty magical actually.  It makes you want to take your weave out, cut your hair and get a perm after 8 years I'll tell you what!  AND further, the idea of  the ground below you moving and you having to flow with it, well that's a control freaks ultimate challenge and biggest fear.  So you do it.  Just for the high.  You even search it out, much like a crack head.  And there are no phones, or computers, or artists trying to get a last minute guest list ticket added at a sold out show.  Nothing.  Water.

Tomorrow I go home for 3 days.  On one of those days, I'm going to get into that 56 degree water, cast all of my fears and tour demons into the body of Lake Minnetonka (sounded better than Pacific Ocean).  Let's see what the dear Pacific has in store for me....


  1. Omg!I so can relate to hair issues. You broke that shit down.

  2. Girl I am 38 and still can't swim... it aint a hair thing no pools in the hood.