If a blog is, as a friend put it, a magazine of Me, then I suppose it can be about anything. In fact, I’ve often thought of changing the subtitle of this blog from “a virtual cabin in the woods” to “it could be about anything.” One reason I suppose I’ll never be a professional blogger (as in: syndication, advertising dollars, limo rides, drinking Cristal in the VIP room with Jay-Z and Bey) is because I don’t have a niche. I’m interested in everything which, in the blogosphere, really means I’m interested in nothing at all. Most of the time I write about what happened to me. Rarely do I write about what I want to happen. So here goes nothing at all.
I was driving to my favorite beach last Saturday for what turned out to be a life-altering day of swimming and bodyboarding ( or, as the common man calls it, boogie boarding). The waves were high, the sun was hot, the water was cool but not testicle-shriveling cold. I realized that day, even though I had stirrings at other points in my life, that I really want to learn how to surf. Really surf, as in: standing up on a wave. A few friends have offered to give me the 101, and there’s a surf shop with the best name in the world down in Kennebunk that I plan to take a lesson with before summer’s out. I have no idea if I’ll be any good, if I’ll fall, or if I’ll even like it very much. I do know that I love the water, love the ocean, that I’m never, ever bored at the beach, that the beach gives me physical and spiritual sustenance. As Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz said in the film Surfwise, he could go into the water feeling so bad that he wanted to die, only to come out of the water completely reborn. I’ve never felt that low, because usually by the time I can sense the nearness of the ocean, any low spirits or bad moods are already gone.
That day, I passed a house for sale. A weather-worn, brown, wood-shingled affair with a deep, shaded porch, a few outbuildings (that would make ideal workshops or writing studios), and best of all, a view of the ocean with water access. I immediately saw myself on that porch, or lying on my non-existent old leather sofa, drinking an imaginary cocktail after a long day surfing, my board drying in the sun, enjoying my other, newest, obsession: listening to old vinyl records on a vintage stereo system. Maybe one of those old consoles that my grandparents had that resembled a squat sideboard, where the speakers are built into the furniture and there are sliding laminated doors that keep the music collection ordered and tidy. My hair would be long, longer than it is now, grayer. My darling wife would be making jewelry out of sea glass in her studio, a converted garage, in the yard. The kids would be happily ensconced in college, and would love coming home on break, bringing their friends to hang with their surfer-dude dad and their artsy-crafty mom.
The best part about the house, though, was the name. An engraved wooden sign, tacked to the second-floor side of the house facing the road, read “Bright.” Not sure if this was the name of the property, or a family name, or both. But for me, in that instant, the instant I imagined owning the place and living in it and maybe even growing old in it, Bright was exactly what it was. I could hear the surf from the living room, ice clinking in my glass, some Seventies-era Joni Mitchell coming from the stereo, my hair still wet and salty from the surf, bright sun over the water in the distance. I wondered how many dreams one man is allowed in his lifetime. And how many of those dreams ever really come true?
This one wasn’t, apparently. When I got home, I checked the internets. $450,000 and already under contract, even though the interior pictures showed a dump.
Still, I have a few more dreams up my rash guard.
Sea Sled, anyone?