Well, it’s settled. The Pacific Ocean hates me. Worse, the Pacific Ocean is trying to kill me — again.
Alert readers may remember my tale of doom when at the beginning of the year I was almost brought down by a gray whale while bobbing in what was essentially a pool float off the coast of Newport Beach.
You would think this near-death experience would have served as a warning that perhaps I need to stay out of the Pacific. But no, because I’m either an idiot or an adventurous soul with memory issues (let’s call it a combination of both), I decided to catch another wave.
My trek to a watery grave was a couple of weeks ago when I was looking at schools in southern California with my daughter. During a break from the slog that is the college tour we decided to hit the beach.
Because I was still wary of Newport due to the whale incident, I suggested we go to Laguna. After fighting beach gridlock so awful that I was repeatedly asking my daughter, “Tell me again why you want to go to school in California? Because this is a hot mess,” we were burdened with the monumental task of finding a parking space.
This was basically akin to playing a game of Where’s Waldo and I Spy. Trust me, when I tell you that the only way we located a place to park was after some serious prayer to the deity of open spaces.
I was ecstatic once we made it to the beach. It was a beautiful day and the ocean was calling to me. I did notice that there weren’t a lot of people in the water, but I figured these So-Cal sissies (or my daughter) maybe thought the water was too cold or preferred to take Instagram shots of themselves on the beach rather than get real with the briny sea.
I soon discovered the reason why the ocean was nearly devoid of human life was because it’s a killer. Sadly, I had to experience that firsthand to learn the lesson.
Let me state for the record that it is 100 percent not my fault that I was taken hostage by the Pacific. The blame rests solely on a very senior citizen.
There I was on the beach and I noticed this elderly dude just bobbing up and down in the ocean like a boss. He was body surfing and riding the waves like it was no big deal. I, being not as old, thought hmm, if this guy can catch wave after wave than so can I. After all, I was voted lifeguard of the year in 1984 (albeit at a community center) and, prepare to be amazed, I can hold my breath the entire length of one lap lane at the Leawood Aquatic Center. Yep, I’ve got some mad pool skills.
So, I adjusted my swim skirt, applied some sunscreen and ran, more like a prance really, into the ocean and dove head first like a magnificent dolphin into the waves.
Death was imminent. Immediately I was ensnared and getting beat down by waves. I was in the eye of an aqua tornado. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t come up for air. The grip on me was too tight. I was violently swirled again and again like a tomato being pureed into soup.
Just when I thought all was lost, I felt a bony hand touching me. I assumed it was the Grim Reaper, but instead, it was the old surfer guy. He tugged me out of the waves and finally I could breathe. Come to find out this life saver was a champion surfer back in the day — hence his wave ninja mojo. I bowed to his greatness.
As I made it to the beach I asked my daughter if she, perchance, noticed that her mother might have been drowning.
“Yeah, I saw you out there and you were rolling around like a mini Shamu so I thought you were fine.”