Admitting You Were A Lying, Yes Man

I am reliably informed, from a Google search which I assume isn’t lying to me, that both Surfection and Surf Dive ‘n’ Ski are still active, robust retailers, offering surfing gear and fashions and other associated paraphernalia. I sort of wanted them to have gone out of business somehow. The fact that I haven’t thought about these two chains of stores for many years, decades even, says something. They were deemed cool when I was at school. They were where you went to buy a surfboard and surfboard wax and a wetsuit, but they were also where you went to buy boardies (that’s board shorts) and other fashion items which were derived from beach culture but were seen on the street. I can recall a friend saying that he needed to go to Surf Dive ‘n’ Ski as his wallet had worn out and he needed a new one. None of this made sense to me. I was not a surfer or a skater and the few times I found myself in one of these shops I felt intensely uncomfortable and out of place and like I was loitering somewhere I shouldn’t have been. Kids would go to these places simply to hang out. I didn’t hang out, anywhere. It goes without saying that the purchases relevant to me available in theses places were also available at a far smaller charge in other shops. Not the same brands perhaps, but that didn’t bother me. I have never owned a Mambo product and I’ve never owned anything made by Stüssy, and again I’m a little miffed to find that the latter company still exists, in a perhaps reduced state, concentrating on the North American and European markets – a web search revealed that the Australian website will soon be rebuilt, so that doesn’t sound as if things have been going well around here. One day when we had a mufti day at school and a mate of mine was wearing a Stüssy top, which I later found out belonged to his brother, I said, in my most sarcastic voice, and we were all very well practised at sarcasm at my school: “Feelin’ Eerie?” Well, that’s what I said, but the word, I have just been told by the Urban Dictionary, is “irie” and the meaning of the two words, without a question mark – it was I who turned it into a question – is something approximating feeling good/fine/satisfied. It is from the Rastafarian lexicon apparently. Anyway, I didn’t know this was printed on my mate’s top when I asked, and felt justified somehow when I found that it was there. He wasn’t pleased and reacted angrily.

I suppose what I have been doing is the opposite of reminiscing, and the fact that I’m reminiscing with myself, not others, probably indicates what a negative thing it can be to indulge oneself in this process. I’ve been considering all the falsehood and failings of my growing up years. All the things I pretended to care about in the name of maintaining some sort of popularity – although it wasn’t as vacuous as it sounds: it was simply not possible to say, “I’ve tried to ride a skateboard, I’m crap at it and I think it’s a stupid waste of time”, as just one example. Thankfully not many friends of mine were super-obsessed with surfing. That was never going to be a favourite pastime for me, in any circumstances. It was better not to express an opinion a lot of the time. And as an outsider who had found a way to fit in there was incentive to not jeopardise that happy situation. In some ways it was a cult, the teenaged boy culture of the early 1990s. There was a dimly flickering flame of stuff I liked which no-one else did and kindling that flame was stuff I didn’t like so much as everybody else seemed to. I am now able to admit, having been deprogrammed and out of the cult for many years, that many of the I don’t like as much things were things I actually find anathema now and did then, but such an admission would have been impossible at the time. Maybe this is just a part of growing up and we all do something similar. Maybe it’s part of finalising your own individual personality, this sorting through what I liked and what I didn’t and what I should have been more honest with myself about.

If you’re a surfer, surf. I’m a reader. And I’m also a stay at homer. And I’d like to do more of that.

Published in: on September 2, 2010 at 8:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

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