In which your blog correspondent’s friends, concerned about his SUPing ways, have an intervention

Living Legend invited me to his beachfront Sanur pad for cold sunset beers and a yarn about the old days. “A bunch of us are getting together,” he said.

To me, a cold beer at the end of a long hot day is like….(long pause, deep in literary thought)….is like a cold beer at the end of a long hot day. Can’t be bettered. It is its own metaphor and metaphysics.

“Sure,” I said.

There they all were, Living Legend and Older Brother Blí and Uluwatu Hermit and Crow Eater and The Dull Edge – about a dozen dedicated surfing friends of old.

“Where’s the beer?” I asked.

“In a minute,” Legend said, sitting me down in the middle of the circle. “It’s come to our attention that you’ve taken up stand up paddling.”

“When it’s small,” I said. “When it’s basically unsurfable.”

“You were seen stand up paddling at Sanur lagoon when Nusa Dua was six foot and pumping,” the Hermit said.

“A bunch of oarons,” the King of Keramas said. “Janitors.”

“Like damn meerkats,” the Dull Edge said.

I looked around the circle of faces, leathered by decades of sea and sun, and which looked suspiciously serious and somber. “Look, it’s three hours of lead-fume traffic to get to Nusa Dua and back. I only SUP when I can’t surf. I get out there on the ocean. I get exercise, and hey, you know, it’s done wonders for my back.”

“Do you SUP when others out surfing?”

“Of course not – well, okay, there was one time, a couple times, when this boat pulled up. But they were a surf school.”

“They were surfers,” the Crow Eater sternly said.

“They were Russians!”

“Still surfers.”

“But I was there first,” I protested.

“Making excuses and blaming others are classic signs of addiction,” Living Legend said.

Elder Blí shook his head and sighed. “You have it bad. I think you need a special ceremony. I know a good balian who has helped stand up paddlers.”

“Have you ever peed on your SUP?” the Legend asked.

I scowled. “What kind of question is that?”

“When you’re stand up paddling, have you pissed on your board?”

“Hey, you ever piss in a wetsuit? What’s worse? I’m standing up. Why should I jump in the water?”

The Legend tsked. “How disrespectful. What would Laird say?”

“Yeah,” the Dull Edge said, “I bet Laird never pisses on his stand up boards.”

Older Brother Blí had been communing with his cell-phone. He tucked it away and stood. “It’s arranged. The balian is waiting. Come, brother, we love you and want the best for you. We want to see you healed, and whole.”


photo Creative Commons, 7dsciencedotco

Check out some of my (Indonesia based) novels, published by Simon and Schuster:

The Killing Sea: A novel of the tsunami that stunned the world

The Demon Queen

The Flame Tree

And keep your eye peeled for THE BONES OF THE NEW MOON: A modern day novel of Bali’s 1965 massacres, forthcoming from Saritaksu Editions.

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