The only sound came from the water lapping gently against my board. I let myself be idle, like a sea lion lazing on a buoy. I hummed a Lady Gaga song that had been stuck in my head all morning, but found I was not annoyed. I wondered what Lady Gaga would do in my current situation, and figured she would feel rather at home in a full-length rubber suit not unlike a catsuit. I could see her now, determined to surf while wearing platform shoes covered in raw meat.
I snapped out of daydreaming as my board started to rock. There was movement on the horizon and I paddled toward it. Way out there were perfect, mesmerizing little waves forming and folding gently, over and over, as in a wave pool at a water park.
The foggy lassitude that had hitherto dominated my morning was replaced by a determination to paddle with purpose. I focused on a wave, turned around started paddling hard, but it passed by without me. I began to turn around again and was startled to see an anomalous wave headed my way, bigger and faster than the others. Without much time to make a decision I made a quick adjustment on my board and started paddling furiously into it. I felt the wave pick me up, I hopped up to my feet with my signature wobbly grace, and by a stroke of uncharacteristic aptitude I stayed upright.
What took place next can only be described as a fluke. If there hadn’t been any witnesses I wouldn’t believe me either, and even so, I’m not sure my recollections can be trusted. Either way, kindly entertain the possibility that for about five seconds I was surrounded on all sides by a tube of turquoise water, because that, somehow, actually happened.
No one ever told me (nor did I ever inquire) what happens when the barrel closes out because, well, it seemed unnecessary. I just braced myself and sort of fell back and got tossed around for a few seconds, getting thwacked on the side of the head by my board. An undignified end to an otherworldly experience.
Breathless from a combination of shock, euphoria and want of air, I hoisted myself back onto my board and found I was no longer alone. There were several pairs of bewildered eyes watching me.