Zhadi's Den

Random essays on wine, writing, moving to San Francisco, surfing, cats (exotic and otherwise) and zombies...depending on my mood.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Vanity, black eyes and surfing

Originally uploaded by zhadi.
When I took up surfing, I discovered the macho joy of showing off surf-related injuries, like the black eye in this picture (mine, not Foster's).

Mind you, I wasn't actually on my board when the injury occurred. I was standing in thigh-deep water talking to my surf guru and pal Jim, my hand resting on a 9 foot, 10 inch board floating beside me. It was one of those days when the rip currents were strong and whacky, going every which way. Suddenly a wave snuck up behind me (they do that on purpose, y'know), hit me hard, knocked me down and flung my board towards shore. I stood up just as an equally strong and sneaky wave came back FROM shore (it is just SO weird when that happens!) and threw my board back at me. No time to duck and cover; the nose of the board smashed into my cheekbone right below my left eye, knocking me over again.

Ouch. Blinding pain, followed by numbness, followed by more pain.

Jim asked me if I was okay, did it hurt. 'No' and 'yes', but for some reason, I couldn't stop giggling as I answered him. Did I want to go in and ice it? Not ready to get out of the water, I opted to catch a few more waves, knowing Jim would approve of my decision. It's a macho thing, if not necessarily a smart one.

I could feel my face start to swell at the point of impact, so I splashed cold sea water on it. By the time we went in, rinsed our boards and suits, and cleaned up, I looked like I was in the middle of a half-assed lycanthropic transformation, with my left cheekbone protruding about an inch further than the right. The skin around my eye was starting to discolor.

Cool, I thought.

Now when I was younger (much younger!), a disfiguring injury like this would have had me in hysterics. Or histrionics. Maybe both. I was, to put it mildly, very vain. Going out of the house without make-up was not a possibility. Any kind of blemish, imperfection or injury was an embarrassment (I thought a cold sore was the end of the world).

If I was bad, the combination of me and my best friend, Maureen, was a lethal dose of vanity. She and I went to Disneyland and wore, respectively, high heels and a cinch belt. We used to wear Danceskin leotards, matching white cotton skirts and ankle-strap sandals. We just assumed that the raised eyebrows we got from older women meant that they were jealous, not that we might look like a couple of slightly slutty idiot twins.

My mother, no doubt ready to dropkick us both, finally told me and Mo that one day we'd have to accept the fact that the only way we'd be able to stop traffic was to step in front of an oncoming truck. That's the kind of quote that sticks with a gal, and while neither Maureen nor I became wallflowers, we both developed well-needed senses of humor about ourselves and realized that just because a guy wasn't interested in us, it didn't necessarily mean he was gay.

I gradually developed the ability to leave the house without makeup and wearing clothes that weren't skintight. I learned the joys of sweats, yoga pants and tennis shoes. A cold sore was no longer reason to get me to a nunnery.

And my black eye? I was as proud of it as any macho teenage boy would have been ("hey, check out my cool black eye! Yeah, I got it surfing...") showing it off to friends and family, and monitoring the color changes and swelling in absolute fascination. I was tempted not to ice it just to see how much it would swell, but I wasn't that far gone in my reverse vanity. I was, however, disappointed when the last of the greenish yellow bruise faded from sight.

And I haven't stepped in front of that moving truck yet either.


  • At 11:05 PM, Anonymous A Male Admirer said…

    I am a male admirer and have seen both you and Maureen. Either of you can stop traffic even in sweats. The idea of both of you is mind boggling.

    Pictuers of cats are cute, but either more of you or more wine stories..

  • At 8:53 AM, Blogger zhadi said…

    Well, thank you for the compliment on behalf of both me and Mo!
    I'm finishing up the last chapter of the Wine Weekend and plan on doing more San Francisco/surfing/wine/etc. posts. The cats will still be included, but I'll try and keep ya happy!

    Now I have to figure out who you are, and I'm gonna guess...Jim? Wrong? Right?

  • At 9:27 AM, Blogger Other Lisa said…

    If you click on his name, you might be led to a clue...

  • At 10:27 AM, Blogger zhadi said…



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