November 20th, 2008

wonder woman 2

it's always the quiet ones

I can't say that we enjoyed our first four or five days of surfing -- it was far too painful -- but there were, every now and then, moments of utter joy. We soon learned, too, to do it the easy way. At least I did -- Archie usually took himself out to the reef by his own efforts. Most people, however, had a Hawaiian boy who towed you out as you lay on your board, holding the board with the grip of his big toe, and swimming vigorously. You then stayed, waiting to push off on your board, until your boy gave you the word of instruction. "No, not this, not this, missus. No, no, wait -- now!" At the word "now" off you went, and oh, it was heaven! Nothing like it. Nothing like that rushing through the water at what seems to you a speed of about two hundred miles an hour; all the way in from the far distant raft, until you arrived, gently slowing down, on the beach, and foundered among the soft flowing waves. It is one of the most perfect physical pleasures that I have known.

After ten days I began to be daring. After starting my run I would hoist myself carefully to my knees on the board, and then endeavour to stand up. The first six times I came to grief but this was not painful -- you merely lost your balance and fell off the board. Of course, you had lost your board, which meant a tiring swim, but with luck your Hawaiian boy had followed and retrieved it for you. Then he would tow you out again and you would once more try. Oh, the moment of complete triumph on the day that I kept my balance and came right into shore standing upright on my board!

-- Agatha Christie, from her autobiography. Yes, the Agatha Christie. She hung ten. The mind boggles, doesn't it?