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the outsider

Subtle they were as you poked your car into the only vacant spot overlooking the point, or reef, or beach break – wherever – those sidelong, glowering fuck-off glances that told you you were in the wrong place today my friend. Then they turned towards each other, muttering darkly. Locals. And you the outsider, wondering how their wrath might be exercised on your car or self when you went out, if you went out.

Keys in the exhaust, wallet and phone in the glovebox, three hundred dollar set of racks on the roof. No dings in the door panels, no waxen epithets rubbed into the windscreen. Nothing inexcusable dumped on the driver’s seat. That’s how you would leave it.


And knowing that to reverse out of that sacred spot and drive away meant you could never come back and hope for any redemption from the shame of having been expelled from your rightful place.

So you don’t leave. And you paddle out. Sit inside. Watch and wait. Because you know the sea is a generous lover and that the one wave that darkens the horizon at just the right time, the gift, is yours and yours alone. All of it.

Oh, be still my beating heart.

An older couple were walking in front of me. He limped, she strode and at the crossing she stopped to wait for him to catch up. I walked past him, then, when drawing level with her, said, ‘forget him, run away with me.’

She laughed.

So did the locals when I fell of the gift in front of them all, trying for a wide accelerating spray-shooting rail-biting roundhouse swooping cutback before burying it around for the run home along the shallow reef.

Oh yeah!

But what made it different was by the time I got back to the car, had a cold shower and strapped up the board I’d copped a couple of shit happens grins from the half-dozen locals who’d been watching.

header pic pinched from

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. What, no dings in the bodywork? Not even boxed in by another car?!

    December 16, 2020
  2. Different beaches, different customs.

    December 16, 2020

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