I realize now that I’ve filled in the obvious title of this post that it was probably something subliminal that made me dig out the “Endless Summer” DVD today. What an oppressive few months this has been. My only close family member has been in the hospital five months with only a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, causing massive financial fallout, to say nothing of emotional stress, and for much of the duration, our temperatures have exceeded 100, with only one brief rain occurring in my back yard in those 44 days of draining heat that is killing wildlife and strays, and even the usually indestructible honeysuckle.
Now it’s Labor Day, and I’m enjoying an increasingly rare day off as I juggle two jobs that some weeks leave me 45 minutes to pick up groceries that will sit in the refrigerator and get old while I wait for another break in work long enough for me to cook them.
I had plans today. I was finally getting around to a belated birthday for a friend who was on vacation at the time of her birthday in July and has been busy moving into a new house ever since. Though I was looking forward to finally catching up with her, the lure of lying flat on my back with a book and movie made me almost gleeful when I learned she had some relatives unexpectedly dropping by during what would have been our time.
Light fiction is about all I can handle reading right now. For decades I read nearly 100 percent nonfiction, mostly crime-related. I can’t say it was particularly good for my psyche, but I was driven, and I came out the other end preternaturally knowledgeable about things none of us should ever have to contemplate. But as soon as my sister fell ill and I was facing long hours in the waiting room, I immediately went out in search for something I’ve never really read before: mystery. Specifically light mysteries, my goal being to totally escape to a featherweight safe place, a place I’ve never been and am never likely to be in the future. As little time as I have to read, that these light little books move very, very quickly is an advantage as well.
Two days ago, the daily high finally fell below 100, and today we awoke to a proper September day with a slightly cool breeze. Just a few moments ago, I turned off my air conditioners for the first time in months and opened up all the windows. Tired of reading, ready for a change, I browsed my small collection of DVDs, and only one seemed to pull at me. I slid “Endless Summer” into the player, trying to remember exactly what it was about it that I always loved so much.
The good thing about getting older is you can remember you loved something but not remember the details so that you can fully enjoy watching it all over again. For me, perhaps partly due to my overly indulgent youth, this has been the case for some number of years now.
I know all my peers have seen this movie, but for anyone else who might stumble upon this blog who hasn’t seen it, “Endless Summer” is a sixties documentary of two very skilled surfers who decide to follow summer around the world so they can surf all year. They go to places the UN hasn’t yet gotten to and paddle their boards out to surf waves that have never been surfed before, in front of villagers who have never seen white men. They follow the sun around the world for the perfect wave. To watch it has always been zen-like for me, despite the frequent little wry jokes woven into the ongoing narrative. Besides just the zen of surfing and the beauty of the cool blue ocean and the portraits of the now iconic surfing spots, such as Malibu and Hawaii during surfing’s heyday, it’s a genuine glimpse into a certain golden era lost in time that seems very California at its roots. It’s a bridge between the wholesomeness of the 50s and before the blue skies of California clouded with revolution in the 60s.
Men, don’t start your engines because there are no g-string bikinis on these beaches, more Annette Funicello-type gear. As if you know what that is. It’s like granny panties. Awright?? But it’s not about that. It’s about riding the endless cool blue curl into the sunset. And it’s a very seductive place for me to escape to on our first refreshing September day.