Sunday, December 12, 2010

Making Human Soup In A Wetsuit.

I've always wanted to surf. Since I was a kid I always thought it would be amazing. I love the water and when it's warm, I can't stay out of it. So when it became apparent we were moving to LA I vowed to myself that I would finally give the sport a shot.

I went to The Rider's Shack on Washington Blvd. and starting looking at all the wetsuits. My coworker Dave Vasquez told me that out of all the stuff you will buy, the wetsuit is the most important. You will change boards as you get better but the one thing which will remain constant is your comfort and mobility in the water. Spend a little more suggested Dave. So I went looking.

Eventually the fellow working in the shop got to me and made several suggestions and asked which price range I was looking in. Unfortunately, there was nothing really in my price range in my size so I suggested that he just show me some good suits and that I would try them on and see how a suit should feel. I took the three he handed me and entered the bohemian dressing room which was really just a Mexican blanket hung on a rod.

Unzipping the suit and taking it off the hanger stopped me in my tracks. These were all front zipper suits and nothing at all like the rear zipper suits I had worn before. This was proving to be as confusing as the first time I tried to undo a girl's bra. Eventually I got the suit off the hanger and started sliding my feet down inside each wetsuit leg. Good god this thing was tight. Dave said to err on the side of too tight than too loose as every suit will relax after a couple of wears and after getting wet. He told me to be sure there was no air pockets. Air pockets? There's no room for air in this thing at all. I sure hope there's a testicle pocket because at this rate castration may be in order to get this thing on.

I should mention that I have an issue with my shoulder. Something weird, maybe an old injury or maybe just old age. I discovered this quirk one day while pulling on my fins before heading out in my float tube to do some fly-fishing. Whenever I pull too hard towards me while reaching towards my foot I experience a minor dislocation. I takes me to my knees every time it is so painful.

My heels just wouldn't pull through the opening at the end of the leg. I pulled hard and sure enough the old injury reared it's ugly head and sent me to the floor in pain. After a few seconds of breathing like a woman in labor I got my foot through and the wave of pain subsided. I was now covered in sweat as a byproduct of the warm weather, the pain and the strain of getting this damn suit on. Sweat was not making this any easier. Everything was sticking to everything. This was rock bottom and I knew it. This was my version of an obese person getting stuck in a theater seat.

It took around ten to fifteen minutes to finally get the suit on and zipped up. It was a little long in the legs. The knee pads just reached the tops of my knees. I showed it to the guy who was helping me and he agreed and started looking for a suit in medium short size for me. I'll slip out of this suit and try on one that he brings me and that should be that.

I unzipped the suit and tried to pull out my right arm. It wouldn't budge. Hmm, maybe I'm supposed to pull out my left. Nope. That didn't work either. I double checked that there were no additional zippers to undo. Nope. Damn it's hot in here. I could feel the sweat building up under the suit and along with it a small modicum of panic growing in the back of my mind. I'm sure I missed something. I zipped up and down again. No dice. I was stuck. I frantically reefed on my arm while pulling down on the front of the suit. I was stuck, tired and over-heating. I was making Human Soup in my wetsuit as sweat was now pouring from every nook and cranny of my now sopping wet body. If this kept up, they'd find the dehydrated corpse of a panic stricken Canadian in this ramshackle dressing room. I had to suck up the pride and call the guy who got me the suit. He started hauling on the front and on the left arm while I tried to get my right arm out. It took a good solid minute before I was free. I was so exhausted I hesitated for a moment to try on another.

When it was all said and done I found a suit I really like but it was a little too expensive. I'll look online and if I can find it or something similar for less, I'll order it. When I try it on for the first time I'll be sure to have at least one person and the jaws of life too extract my pasty white ass from the suit.

Be warned Dave. If we go surfing together that person may be you.

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