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things that only a surfer knows – paresthesia

It’s late, dark and cold.


Winter. 8 degrees. Swell from the east. No wind. Waves up to 10′.

5.30 pm in, 7.15 pm out. 

You had to go.

The lady < —- has been waiting for an hour and now it’s eight o’ clock and in ten minutes the dinner goes into the bin and she goes clubbing without you. But you make it, lucky you, and now she’s sitting there listening to your lucid explanations.

– and she has a few questions.

This won’t be easy. The body language here isn’t great. That’s the ‘ everything is locked up ‘ position and the hand on the zipper has stalled.


How hard is it to find your keys? 

About as hard as it is to explain the Numb Fingers Condition to a lovely who only swims in Tahiti in summer. The nerveless fumble behind the tyre where the keys are stashed, all so very secure way down there in the shock absorber cavity. You kneeling on the road in the dark with your arm up behind the wheel and sobbing with the cold. Not unlike a country vet assisting a birth. Fingers like wood. First one hand and then the other, and of course with success comes two hands completely grimed with old grease and rubber-dust.  That’s not a good look right now either, but there’s more.

How hard is it to pick your car key out from the others?

This from a lovely who has her 2011 Porsche Cabriolet delivered to the lobby entrance whenever she wants to go motoring.

Like most successful businessmen who like to go surfing in winter and in the dark you have more than one key on your key-ring. House key, office key, back-door key, computer room key, car key, mystery key and a household alarm key – and now you have them all in your numb hands and of course it’s nighttime and the only street light is way to buggery over there so you have to wait for a passing car to go by and use its lights to find the right key. The right black key, now that they are all covered with grease and rubber-dust.

Now the feet are numb, and your ears are hurting. The last wave, the epic wave, long forgotten.

How hard is it to unlock your car door?

She has the ^ Porsche (remember?) – gadgets everywhere.

You have the 1998 Nissan SX200. The one where you have to insert a key into the door and turn it clockwise. Two problems here. Three really. (1) A little wait until the next car comes by and illuminates everything for two seconds. (2) then the polite demand of the fingers that they grasp the key, the right key  – white unfeeling useless lifeless appendages that they are  – and bloodless, did I say bloodless?  – and finally (3) asking the same things to turn the key. Grasp and turn. Grasp and turn.

Crash and burn.


Yes, she says, you may have a shower before dinner. YES, you think, there may still be a chance.

All of which will nicely segue into the next post, and the cremasteric muscle syndrome. Unfortunately.

* a numbess of the limbs (or fingers)

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. This is very funny, Pete; this bit made me laugh out loud:

    You kneeling on the road in the dark with your arm up behind the wheel and sobbing with the cold.

    December 15, 2011
    • Believe me BH, we have done that so many times – limbs that don’t work, dark streets, assignments way past bedtime – all for the love of a wave

      December 15, 2011
  2. Thanks for jogging the memory…

    December 15, 2011
    • jeez mate, up there who would know – what’s the indo equivalent – ?

      December 15, 2011
      • Referring to a darker past (pre-migration) – when rubber sheathes and frost bite – the only way forward… Indo equivalent? Can’t articulate, without causing further emotional distress to you Pete…

        December 16, 2011
  3. Ben #

    Only 8 degrees? You colonials know nothing of the harshness raging winter but then again I know nothing of Porsche Cabriolet owning lovelies….. regrettably.

    December 15, 2011
    • No wetsuit ben, our man is totally stupid – you blokes wear 10 mill in summer –

      December 15, 2011

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