Friday, September 13, 2013

The Beach Boys "Surfer Girl"

Earlier this summer, my wife announced that she had a Bucket List.

(No, she is not dying.  Nor does she sound anything like Morgan Freeman)

She wanted to learn how to play the ukelele.

And, as if the universe was listening, her Mom found her Grandfather's uke in the attic.  She's been learning to play ever since.

Next she announced that she really wanted to learn how to surf.

And, as if her husband was listening, I signed us up for an introductory lesson as an anniversary gift.

Yes, it wasn't just a gift to her.  As was her wish, this was something we would experience together.

We drove out to Lecount Hollow in Wellfleet, where we met our instructor Eric, of Funseekers.  We spent a little bit of time on the beach, where Eric, in a very clear, genial, conversational, un-intimidating way gave us a crash course in the science, mechanics and etiquette of surfing.

Then we got out on the water, where Eric stood, waist-deep, guided us, instructed us, gave us a little push.  Before our hour in the water was over, we were riding the waves.

Here's are a picture of me almost getting it.  Try not to be horrified by the sight of me in a wet suit.

On the ride out of Wellfleet with my wife, I realized that there are things about our two personalities, that remain consistent through everything in our lives, from music to surfing.

I was telling her how impressed I was with her.  On just her third attempt, she was standing on her board, riding a wave all the way into shore.

It had taken me a good 45 minutes of further attempts, to get that to happen.

"I had trouble putting it all together," I told her.  "Had to figure out where to ride the board for balance.  Then I had to remember to push up from the middle and not from the sides.  Once I got that I had to take a few runs at getting up in one push.  Then my feet were straight instead of sideways.  Then I had to do all that, and remember to stay in a crouching position.  It took me all those tries to put it all together.  How did you do it?"

She said, "I listened to everything he told us on the beach, but I don't know if I got it.  Then I got out on the water and didn't think about it, I just did it."

And that's it.  That's our argument about music.

I think a song can only be good if it's well-written.

She doesn't care about the words.  They're not important.  A song is all about a feeling to her.

"Surfer Girl" is a perfect example.

Like a lot (but not all) of The Beach Boys early stuff, the lyrics aren't much better than anything an 8th grader could write.  It's pretty Moon-June-Spoon.

My wife would argue that that's not the point.  It isn't about what he's saying.  She's not even listening to that.

"Surfer Girl" is about what the song evokes.  Tan bodies.  Slow motion.  Gentle winds.  The warmth of the sun.  Endless summer.

I could pick the lyrics apart.  Analyze them.  And not enjoy the song.

This is why I married her.

I'm with someone who reminds me to feel.  Reminds me to listen.  Reminds me to do.

Reminds me that sometimes you don't need a surfing lesson.  Sometimes you just need to surf.

Hear the song on Youtube.

1 comment:

  1. Nice! Seeing the sun and the sea makes me realize that the worst of winter is, indeed, behind us. You seem to have had a really enjoyable time. I think surfing is one of the best ways to bond as a family, especially if you have teenagers. Not only are you spending time with them, they also gain confidence, as well as other positive traits from engaging in sports.

    Laguna Beach Surfing Instruction Women