My Funny Boogie Boarding Story
A Day at the Beach - My Boogie Boarding Story
Thankfully, I only have ONE boogie boarding story because even I am not that dense! I can hear you shaking your head from here - and I can also hear you rolling your eyes. You think I am making this up and how can it be that I only have one, solitary story about boogie boarding?
Well, I'll tell you why - because not even I, queen of physical comedic moments am that dumb. Once was quite enough thank you very much and if I ever see another boogie board in my lifetime, it will be all too soon!
Setting the stage for you all who don't know me that well, I grew up in Southern California. Unlike so many of my peers, however, I am not and will never be a 'valley girl'. I grew up in San Diego and did not live at the beach per se - however, every possible moment that I could get to the beach by way of friends, family or bus, I was there. What did I do at the beach? Actually now that I think back on it, not all that much!
I was never a 'strong' swimmer and for reasons that I really can't quite figure out, I consistently and inevitably got to the beach, dove in (literally) and swam out beyond the breakers - and that's where I pretty much stayed as long as I could stay awake! I have no idea why I was out there or what I thought to accomplish! Again, now that I think back on it, was I waiting for a spaceship to come down and beam me up or was I waiting for a good undertow to come along and whisk me away to another world?
All this said, about the only 'strong' swimming I did was getting out there, floating about without so much as a flotation device, and the occasional riding the waves back in. I wasn't into body surfing at all (which surprises me since it was reckless and I obviously could have notched up a few more stories - dang!). I basically just loved the ocean for its beauty, the rhythm of the endless waves and I suppose the peace it offered me. I did of course have one other pastime and that was lying on the beach getting tanned and looking at all the guys. I was weird but I wasn't dead!
After I married Bob, at the tender age of 22, I had our first child, our son Jonathan and away we went to the Midwest for the longest 8 years of my freaking life! To say that I was happy to get back to the West Coast years later would be an understatement. I was very pleased to be a West Coast girl once again - although Washington state does not offer the kind of beaches (nor does Oregon) that I was used to!
MY FUNNY BOOGIE BOARDING STORY
So after many, many years of missing something that was truly a part of me, we decided to take all 3 kids one summer and go on none other than a CALIFORNIA VACATION! To say that I was ecstatic would be putting it mildly. I had only been back to Southern California perhaps one other time and had only had the briefest of trips to the ocean because it was winter. This was gonna be great - this was gonna be swell! This was gonna be another typical Audrey moment!
We ended up taking 2 weeks for our vacation - something that had we had not before or since accomplished! It was in a word - marvelous! It was spectacular! I have never had such a good time. I got to see all the places I missed from my youth and not-so-youth...like Sea World, the famous San Diego Zoo, Knott's Berry Farm, Disneyland, Magic Mountain and the Wild Animal Park to name a few. Of course, in between, we had to take in the beach! This is where my heart most yearned to be and we spent as much time as we could that August taking in the various beaches.
Now as an aside, my sister lived in Carlsbad at the time. We had not visited much because frankly, my brother-in-law did not like me very well. There were many reasons for this dislike on his part, but most of them centered around the fact that a) I had children and he was not a fan, and b) I was 'outspoken' to say the least.
I also do not really warm to the idea of lying as a second language (which he did quite a bit of) and I also did not like people pushing me around. So Rudy tended to give me a very wide berth and even though they came to visit us often, we never felt like we could comfortably go there. We always stayed in a hotel to minimize the friction that inevitably occurred but after all, she was my sister and I wanted to spend time with her since we were there.
I am setting the stage here to explain Rudy's usual
demeanor towards me because it is important to note simply for the fact
that when one late morning in the middle of our wonderful vacation, he called US and asked if we wanted to go to the beach in Encinatas. I almost had a heart attack. I remember saying something like 'Who is this?' (not good) but I was absolutely overwhelmed thinking that perhaps
he had decided I wasn't such a bad sister-in-law after all and things would be wonderful between us! (Hope springs eternal when you are me)
It turned out that my sister had had to work, so it was going to be just Rudy and all 5 of us going to the beach but that didn't seem so bad. After all, I'd get a chance to do what I loved most and the kids would have a ball. Heck, they might even think he liked THEM for a day - so all around a positive. So I accepted and off we went to the beach.
As we settled in on a typical San Diego beautifully sunny day, I was in hog heaven. I played paddle ball with the kids, built sand castles, and played in the waves with them. Jonathan was in junior high at the time so he was probably about 13; Pat must have been about 10-1/2 to 11, and Kate about 8 or 9. Bob and I were usually happiest when we had the kids all together having fun and this was no exception. We were all having a total blast but I did wonder from time to time what had brought about this change in Rudy.
Several hours later, as I looked over at him, sitting on his cooler of beer, I caught myself wondering that again. Shrugging it off though and chalking one up to my overwhelming charm, I decided why worry about it? He was being nice so forget about it! He wasn't participating with any of us but at least he was there and not scowling at me or making remarks.
Out of the blue, as he finished off a beer, he engagingly said to me 'Audrea (that's my real name in case you are wondering) I'm gonna do something for you I rarely do for other people. I want you to always remember this vacation down here in sunny San Diego and that you had a good time, so I'm gonna show you how to boogie board.'
I thought about it for a minute and I was sure I must have misheard. I was a little stunned but I spoke up right away 'Oh gee, Rudy - that's really nice of you but I know you don't go out in the water much, and I don't know how to do it - so no worries. I'm happy to just hang out with the kids - maybe later I'll go out in the water and take a dip. It's totally okay - you don't have to entertain us. Just enjoy the sun and the fresh air.'
I was mentally thinking though what the heck was he up to? He was never nice to me - and he certainly didn't ask me to do many things....oh yeah...there was the skiing episode. But actually it wasn't his fault that I spent more time on my back or on the ground than up on the skis. Maybe he WAS really trying - or maybe my sister had finally spoken up and told him to quit being such a jerk to me!
No sooner had I turned him down than he was up and walking up the beach to his van. He returned with a board in his hand (only 1) and proudly announced to Bob that he was going to show me how to boogie board. Bob was, to say the least, absolutely speechless. He knew how Rudy felt about both of us to be honest and he said later (gee thanks, Bob) he kinda smelled a rat but decided to turn the other cheek and try and believe he meant to be nice to me.
I was seriously protesting now because I didn't know what he was going to do out in the water to me and I was a little skeptical that this was not going to turn out well (especially knowing my propensity towards mishaps). How was this possibly going to be a good thing? However, I cannot be mean when someone is genuinely trying to reach out to me and I felt that in this case, for whatever reason, Rudy was trying to do something kind - or at the very least be helpful to me and show me a good time.
A little hesitantly, I let him talk me into stripping off my beach cover down to my 2-piece bathing suit and walked with him out to the water. Of course, I had an audience at this point - Bob couldn't get down to the waves fast enough nor could my kids! Oh joy - I am never at my best when it's performance time and I had a feeling this was going to end badly - or at the very least in yet another comedic moment.
Rudy put aside his beer in the sand and warned one of my kids to keep an eye on it and then proceeded to wade out to about knee deep with me and laid the board on the water. He gave me some cursory instructions about how to hold it, what to do when a wave came, how to angle the board up, how to hang on, etc.
When I blinked at him and said 'But Rudy, aren't you gonna SHOW me how to do it first?' he just laughed. Right then, I should have seen the boom lowering and swinging towards my head - I should have run back up onto the beach, covered myself with my cover-up and refused to go any further. I knew better! Yet did that stop me? Oh no!
He showed me a little more technique and insisted that it was so easy a child could do it! After all, what was I, chicken??? Okay - now that snapped it! NOBODY and I mean nobody calls me chicken (without a very good reason). I couldn't stand that he was standing there waving that stupid board at me and saying I was just too chicken to try it - that I was a pantywaist - oh kids, look - your mom's a big fat chicken-livered fraidy cat!
I always prided myself in being able to do things - not well maybe but I could do them - and I certainly was not going to let this excuse for a brother-in-law make fun of me in front of my kids! Turning to Rudy, I literally grabbed the board out of his hands and said something really pithy like 'I'll show you who's a fraidy cat' and went stomping off into the surf. I barely heard him chuckling as I stomped away. I remember my son, Pat yelling after me 'Mom - you don't have to do this' - always the voice of reason he was.
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Well, he had given me enough instruction to tell me that I had to go out to where the waves were really breaking so I could 'catch one'. For someone who had not even body surfed, I kinda thought I was pretty swift to get that concept right off! How hard could it be after all? I did notice, however, that the waves seemed a lot bigger and a lot more forceful than when I'd been a kid - what was that about?
Mentally grousing about thinking what a fool I had been to fall for his 'kindness' I figured I'd best just get this over with. I was planning on showing him how superbly agile and athletic I was after all and then we'd just see who was laughing. I also had planned to challenge his beer-drinking rotund self to come out and have a go at it when I'd finished my 'perfect ride' and we'd just see who was the better boogie boarder!
All this in mind, mentally cursing myself for accepting the challenge, I waited for the 'perfect wave'. Unfortunately, one came up way too soon for me and I pretty much made a false start, got picked up and flung under the wave instead of on top or inside it and drank about a gallon of water. I could hear laughter up ahead - my family, Rudy and now several spectators. I was not a happy camper! 'NOBODY should be laughing at me' I was thinking to myself. If they were so good at this, let them come out here and take the board! Didn't they know I was an accident waiting to happen?
'Buck up, Audrey, buck up' I was mentally chiding myself. 'Catch the damned wave and show that smug SOB what you can really do!' and shut those stupid laughing people up! Who do they think they're laughing at? I know, I know - did I really think this through? - did I really know who I was talking about - the Lucille Ball of Washington state?
Okay - now I'm serious - I'm steamed - and by god, I am going to ride the next perfect wave for all I'm worth. I am NOT going to fail but I am going to perfectly execute this athletic maneuver or my name is NOT Poultry in Motion!
Here comes the wave - and I'm off (in more ways than one). I can't believe it - I actually had good form. I did not sink, I did not turn over and biff, I just snagged that huge wave and I was smoking! I was going towards the shore in a perfect line (albeit way too fast for my comfort zone) and I could feel pure glee bubbling up inside me. I was just about to let loose with a reckless scream when I realized that I had started to pass a lot of people that were standing in the water. Ha - and they thought I couldn't do this!
I of course was dodging them as I rode the wave in because I may be athletic but I'm not mean- I didn't want to mow down any little kids or women for heavens' sake! I think that accounted for my lack of focus on the approaching shore - oh sure!
Just as I'm congratulating myself on a ride well performed, I suddenly realized much to my horror that I had not been taught one little tiny piece of technique....that being when to let GO of the freaking boogie board or stop my bloody ride!
I hear you saying probably 'Well, wouldn't that kinda sorta be a NO BRAINER, Audrey? Like you didn't realize that the shore was coming up?' Actually, my friends, no I did not! And do you know why? Because I was so busy focusing on how good I was doing and how I was going to literally or at least metaphorically kick his butt for setting me up like this! And then there was the distraction of avoiding other people - at least that's my story and I'm sticking to it!
So folks - we have touchdown....we have a landing - and it is not a good landing. It is much like a plane that bounces on the runway - never good. Before I realized that I was literally in shallow water, first my toes and then my legs got the best exfoliation I have ever had - before or since! I can tell you honestly, it is not the way to go! I was literally skidding on the sand and it was only getting worse. I was going much too fast! I was mentally screaming 'landing gear up, landing gear up' but alas, too late! Amazingly, I still had not let go of the board! I don't know if I thought it was a life jacket or what the heck I was thinking, but I was gripping it for dear life.
I progressed from exfoliating my feet and legs to now scraping my stomach and my entire upper chest as I skidded up onto the shore. I felt about 10,000 pounds of beach sand shoot into the bottom of my bathing suit first from the front, and then from the back or so it felt - and my bathing suit bottom literally slipped off like a banana peel right down to my thighs thanks to the forces of gravity and sand. I simultaneously felt the upper part of my bathing suit fill with sand from my neck and upper chest down - and for a few fleeting moments, I had the big boobs I always wanted - only they were made of sand!
I finally came to a stop and dropped the blasted boogie board only to have a wave come and crash over me in my half naked state. I could hear nothing but laughing - and of course not a person was stepping forward to help the stupid woman who had lost half her bathing suit, had a huge top heavy other half, and was lying face down in the sand.
My son, Jonathan did finally come over towards me and while I thankfully looked up thinking he'd give me a hand, he looks down at me in total disgust and stomps off! "I can't BELIEVE the things you do, mom! How embarrassing!' (Yeah - that's why I did it, son - nothin' better to do than try and tear my skin and my bathing suit off - just for you! By the way, thanks for the help!)
Next thing I knew, Bob was at my side, trying to stop laughing of course while he is asking me if I'm hurt. 'No you stupid moron - I'm not hurt. I just took off 5 layers of skin AND my bathing suit bottom, but hey - I'm fine. I do this all the freaking time! Could you please just reach down and yank my suit up to cover my butt?'
Then I look up - through my sopping wet hair that is plastered all over my face, I see Rudy sitting on top of his beer cooler hysterically laughing. He's laughing so hard that he's just rolling back and forth - and I can hear him saying to Patrick 'Did you see it, did you see it? It's the funniest thing I've ever seen. Did you see your mom come flying up onto
the sand going like 50 G's? I only wish I had a video of it!' Yeah, Rudy - we can only thank the good lord that we DON'T.
About this time, Patrick realized that I had crashed from what Rudy was choking out every other word and came running over looking for me. He was the only person who actually HELPED me while the rest of them all stood around laughing like loons.
I finally managed to get the bottom of my bathing suit back up by myself I might add and then had the arduous task of emptying about 15 pounds of sand out of my bathing suit top. How does one do this discretely without flashing the beach?
finally had to go back into the waves to attempt to clean all the sand out of my suit. More laughter....from people I didn't even KNOW. God -
I get no respect! All the while, I'm waving back at them all - 'No, really folks - no need to worry - go back to your swimming - all good here at Comedy Central! Show's over - we return you to your previously scheduled vacation!'
When I finally finished putting myself back together and ridding myself of sand (although it was in places I won't even mention), I stomped up towards shore. Of course as I approached my family (and Rudy - still laughing), I looked down to discover that the entire front of my body was scraped and beet red. That's saying something since I'm usually very tanned! It just never stops!
As I stood there quaking with unrestrained anger over this latest athletic endeavor gone bad, ready to give Rudy a piece of my mind - or whatever was left after the wild ride up Sand Road - he blurts out between laughs 'Oh yeah - I forgot to tell you - when you get close to shore - just let go of the board and get off the wave'......more laughter and he finally just throws himself down on the blanket holding his stomach convulsing in spasms of laughter.
Who can stay mad when everyone is laughing at them anyhow? I finally just sat down and put my head in my hands and started to laugh. I have no doubt it must have been very comical looking although I'd rather have been the person watching rather than the person RIDING.
I said to him much later in the day 'You did that on purpose'. He didn't deny it but he didn't confirm it either! He claimed that he had had the idea to teach me to boogie board and just maybe I might be kinda 'funny to watch' but he had no idea that I was going to be THAT funny. He did tell me that I was a good sport. Coming from Rudy, that was high praise!
I COULD Have Done This!
I'm sad to report that I didn't get a chance to have any more Rudy stories. He unfortunately continued his love affair with drink and he died about 7 years ago after my sister had finally left him and he succumbed to the disease.
My biggest regret is that we did not truly know him without the alcohol. There were a few hints of his sense of humor such as on this day. Truly, I wish I'd seen more of those. Even if I had to be the butt of his joke, I guess it was worth it in the long run to see him laughing until he was crying. I wouldn't trade that moment for anything.
Rest in peace, Rudy - I wish you good things always. I'm glad I gave you a good
laugh! It is one of my favorite gifts to give after all.