Monday, 11 May 2009

Taking On Water

Kook. noun.
1. an eccentric, strange or crazy person. (slang, mainly US)
2. A board sport participant who has poor style or skill. (Surfing, skateboarding, etc)
Syn: noob, novice, rookie, poseur,

So, you're humble narrator took to the ocean last week. Playa de Sombrio, an hour or two North of Vic City, hosts a theatre of watersport, marinelife and highseas; hikers, surfers, joggers, lovers, campers, dog-owners; Everything one might seek out on the southernmost edge of an island, somewhere off the coast of Canada. And from the very moment and finished working my way into a wet, rubber suit, forcing myself, limb by limb into the heavy, black, body-shaped condom; from the moment I set foot into the ocean in this bonetight, neoprene unitard, surfboard in hand, I became a kook.

Being from the Foothills, one's immediate reaction to the ocean is one of bewilderment over just how much water there is. Immediately following is a realisation of just how bad the water tastes. Our good friend, Noah, who's reaction to this gigantic body of water has become one of complacency, scans the wavebreak with scrutiny and underwhelming approval. Aside from the humour in the fact that a man named "Noah" is telling me "It's just a bunch of water", I come to find myself slower than I'd like, swimming in this element. While comfortable paddling my way around the shore, I'm finding myself somewhat unpracticed in my swimming capabilities. This must be remedied!

The next day, on my way downtown to find a swimming pool, I strike into conversation with my driver of choice and old friend, Amhed, Saudi military veteran and greasy philanderer, by day: A rare opportunity as he is most often yelling into his phone for the majority of our interactions.

"You are going for swim? I am take you to YMCA, I have plus member, they are treat you like a king!"

Amhed has a plus membership at the Downtown Y. This is almost exactly like regular membership except the changeroom has a steamroom, sauna and hot tub. And newspapers. And hair gel. And hand lotion. And key among these accoutrements, more old man penis than you will ever need to see. Ever. I walked in wearing a bathing suit and found myself startlingly overdressed. Honestly, if you went there about three times, you'd see enough old-guy junk to meet your quota for a lifetime. I'm making a chart, right now.

So Amhed decides to take a few hours off for a swim and a shvitz with yours truly. We take a tour of the facilities and I put down for a 4 month plus-membership pass. I was perfectly content with paying the drop-in fee but a steamy room filled with sweaty, elderly, naked men just sounded like it was worth the extra cash. That and Amhed, he's a real salesman. And he yells.

Amhed has the figure of a walrus or sealion. These are both marine mammals so I suppose I should not have been surprised at the speed with which he swam eight laps. End the end of which he walruses(verb) out of the pool and lays flat of his back, wheezing for a moment until he appears to take a nap at the edge of the deck with his hand in his swim trunks, as he seemed not to have the energy to withdraw after adjusting himself. This is a gorgeous sight. The lifeguard asks me if he's okay. Neither of us wants to rouse him from his rest so I just nod, "Yeah, he's good".

Later, while taking in the steam, he regales me with some stories wrestling sharks or bears or something. He goes on for a while about why he dislikes his ex and how electronics stores will rip you off, frequently coming back to the key insights of why staying in shape is important. I'm convinced. And he yells, so much.

Despite the "rich white kid pastime" stigma surfing, I'm still going to make the most of it while on the island. Noah has already versed me on how to deal with territory disputes with other surfers and various species of whale - a dilemma which is better dealt with knowing how to swim quickly.

Come down to the Y sometime. You may see me doing laps, whaling on my pecs, or chilling with my cock out in the shvitzroom. We can race. It's fun to stay at the YMCA.

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