surfer table

Sometimes I wonder if I have any business doing what I do.  Being where I am. Living where I live. Etc.

Midway through my college years, I transferred schools.

Northern Arizona University

I went from a state university to a small, private school.  I moved my educational life from the forested mountains of northern Arizona to the beach.  As in San Diego.  As in this:

Point Loma Nazarene University

These are two of the dorms at PLNU.  My senior year, my roommate and I had a view of the ocean.  I am confident I never will again from my living quarters.

One of the things I noticed early on about PLNU was the cafeteria situation.  At my former school, the cafeteria was large and I and my fellow diners ate wherever we chose for the particular day.  There was no real order or method to our choosing.  Well, at PLNU, there were a couple of tables I will refer to as the “surfer tables”.  Ironically to me, they were not near the wall of windows affording the ocean view, but nearest to the buffet line’s end.

The people that sat at these tables were surfers.  Mind you, when I say surfers, I mean actual surfers.  It didn’t take long to realize these folks were different than the rest of us.  They dressed differently, they talked differently, and for the most part, they seemed to stay to themselves.  It was a small school attendance wise, very similar in size to my high school.  Everyone knew who everyone was.  Not necessarily by name, but by association.  I don’t know how they came together so quickly, but from day one, the surfers knew to sit together at meals.

No one else sat at their tables.  Sure, there were other kids who knew how to surf, who owned a surf board, who kept one in their dorm room.  Others who occasionally went out on the water for an afternoon.  But these guys, these guys were the serious ones.  We actually had a surf team.  And they were actually quite good.  This clique, so to speak, was mainly males.  But there were a few females who were part of the group.  I’m not really sure how all the girls got in.  I know some of them could truly surf, but I’m not sure about all.

I’ve always been a bit of a sociology buff.  This type of group intrigues me.  There is very little chance another type of person, no matter how cool, exciting or popular was going to break into their pack.  They weren’t necessarily snotty or holier than thou.  Many of them were friendly enough.  They just had this small society thing going on. 

You can join most entourages.  Hang out enough and eventually, you’ll most likely become part of the group, provided you have beauty or money or something to offer.  If you can make the group better, they’ll let you in.  But eat at the surfer table?  No.  You had to be one of them. 

Despite my niceness, whether or not I taught myself to surf, how many Gidget episodes I watched as a girl, or how much time I put in researching the surfing life, I was not going to be invited to sit at their table.  I was not one of them.

There are days when I feel that way now.  I no longer have a minor obsession with surfers.  I got over that in 1988.  No, this has to do with what I am today. Some days, I feel like I’m trying to fit into something that I have no business in.

Kentucky is a hard place to move into.  Despite having lived here for 9 years [and this is the 3rd time I’ve lived here, making for a grand total of about 14 years], I often don’t feel totally at home.  Strong yet often misinformed opinions, low educational standards and the fact that Kentucky ranks 49th in happiness out of the 50 states doesn’t help.

Lately I question whether I am ridiculous for living in my neighborhood.  Do I have a clue?  Am I naive?  Can I possibly make a difference on a street which the police frequent with flashing lights?  Where do I begin?  I’m not here as part of a {missional} trend.  I’m not part of a group of people, except the three I live with.  We’re not here to represent a movement or a fad.  We’re here because we want to bring hope to a street that could use some.

Do I have to become a different person to bring hope?  Sometimes it seems that way.  Sure, I’ve changed through the years and grown.  But for the most part, I still like the same things I’ve always liked and have not developed into some pseudo personality.  
I’m sure most people have doubts and questions.  I realize that’s normal.  But lately I wonder.  I really wonder if I am a square peg, so to speak.
Or perhaps, I’m once again over analyzing everything.  I tend to do that. 

2 thoughts on “surfer table

  1. Classic blog entry. I was at the “surfer table” in the original caf (actually it was 2 tables, in the corner opposite the windows, as you mentioned… occasionally overflowing to a 3rd table at peak hours but that was very rare and the 3rd table generally had the fringe guys or new lower classes working their way in… but not there yet). Anyway, your observations made me laugh because they were so accurate. I was there from 1991-1996 (5 year plan, more surfing). I often wonder how the “new” PLNU caf dynamic works these days… is there still a surf crew? Do they have their own tables? These are critical issues that need research and reporting.

    Not sure how I ended up on your blog, I think I was looking at trying to find high res photos of Loma and PLNU and landed here and the article caught my attention…. grantee this was written years ago. Still, classic.

    -Brian Jellig

    1. Wow! That’s so cool you came across this entry. Interestingly, I am once again contemplating all of this…changing neighborhoods…finding a sense of true belonging, etc. You don’t hear much about surfers in KY (no surprise!) but I still think about the “surfer tables” every so often. And of course, I still miss the beach! Thanks for reading and commenting.

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