Monday, March 3, 2008

in over my head

This article was printed today, but I wrote it about an adventure I had last summer...enjoy!

There comes a time of year when one’s thoughts turn to things of summer and sunshine. For me, that time is every day between the hours of awake and asleep.

Whilst enduring the never-ending winter winds, I was recently reminiscing on an experience I had last July. And I thought to myself, maybe it’s time to share my adventure with the world … or at least with the student body at SUU.

Before I begin my story, it’s important to note one thing: I have been and always will be terrified of sea creatures and deep water. Aquariums, Sea World, the deep end of the pool … any of the above are enough to make me more than a little squeamish.

So with that in mind, my adventure began one July afternoon in Oceanside, Calif., on the beach with three of my best friends. Despite my aforementioned phobias, I relish the opportunity to spend time on the beach, seeing as how my family went there all of once when I was growing up, and that was in the dead of winter.

So after a morning of beach Frisbee and people- (and lifeguard-) watching, my friends decided it was time to swim in the ocean. Balancing my fears of the formidably vast body of water in front of me against my insatiable need to try most things at least once, I grabbed my Wal-Mart flotation device (probably meant for those under the age of 5) and decided to brave the waves.

I rationalized my decision, seeing as how the ocean couldn’t possibly be too deep if I stayed close to the sand, and in my people-watching I had yet to see anyone get attacked by any unearthly sea monsters.

So, feeling pretty calm about the situation, I plunged into the water. I quickly discovered two things: 1) My Wal-Mart flotation device lacked most things involving “flotation,” and 2) the enticing ocean waves were hiding a carpeting of sharp rocks.

I determined that the use of a Boogie Board would provide the needed floatation to swim over the rocks, so I switched vehicles and advanced out into the ocean to continue my escapade.

My best friend was with me this entire time, and she instructed me that the proper use of the Boogie Board was to swim out into the waves and then, when a big enough wave came, to turn and ride the board back to the safety of the beach.

By this point I had been sufficiently battered by the waves and had drank enough saltwater to fill Shamu’s tank, so I welcomed the idea of going back to the beach. I had a slight fear of losing my death-grip on my Boogie Board in the process, so I decided to attach myself to it with the provided wrist-strap.

Soon enough, along came a rather large wave, so I followed my friend’s instructions and prepared to cruise safely to the shore. Unfortunately, the ocean had other plans for me.

The wave hit me like a wall and flipped me under the water, at which point I think the ocean tried to pull each of my limbs independently in different directions. True to my previous worries, I did indeed lose my hold on the Boogie Board, but all the wrist-strap accomplished was to keep the board in close enough proximity to beat me over the head a few times as I flailed helplessly through the water.

Fortunately for me, God apparently still has some things for me to accomplish on this earth, so He didn’t let the ocean kill me entirely. I think the ocean was upset about the missed opportunity, though, so before releasing me from its grip it decided to drag me face-first through the previously discussed flooring of sharp rocks before spitting me out on the beach.

Sprawled out on the sand like a beached whale, with my nose and eyes burning from the intake of saltwater, I cursed the “rational” parts of my brain that had convinced me to enter the water in the first place.

Meanwhile, my friends laughed their heads off at me and proceeded to take pictures of my sorry state. I literally crawled up the beach to my towel where I laid the rest of the day, insisting my recovery would take days of sunbathing and lifeguard-watching before I returned to normal.

All in all, my experience can simply be chalked up to another thing I have to be afraid of — aquariums, Sea World, and now the ocean. Congratulations, Boogie Board.


The Ballard Family said...

I...can't...stop...laughing...if my can't-breathe-can't-see violent giggles turn into anything louder that wakes any of my children from their peaceful slumber which I worked so hard to get them into, I will hold you and your boogie board personally responsible. Brilliant.

Laura! said...

haha i feel like you should have gotten that on tape and we could add it to the collection of videos of family members getting eaten by the ocean