There was a time when those numbers used to scare me.
Now I’ve grown accustomed to seeing that time blinking on the alarm clock as I bottle-feed the baby in the morning. So last week, when I decided to go surfing at 4:30 AM (leaving my wife with our infant until noon), I actually looked forward that ungodly hour. As a matter of fact, I woke up at 3:30 in anticipation of perfect waves peeling in the half-light of dawn.
The forecast promised epic conditions: 7 feet at 14 seconds with mild offshores. My surf buddy arrived right on time in his veggie-oil rig and we departed at quarter-to-five, leaving the smell of fried wontons in our wake. On the ride along empty freeways, over the oily river, past the drowsy city, and through the dark woods, we joked about our daily lives”the ups and downs of fatherhood (me), dating (him), and of course the surf we’d be enjoying soon.
The ocean obviously hadn’t read the report. We were the first ones in the water, but the waves were bumpy and crossed up. We surfed for a few hours, milking as much fun from the session as possible, but in the end only caught a handful of waves each.
A quick change and hike back to the car and we were on the road again, talking about the waves we got, the week ahead, and our next corn-oil-powered dawn patrol.
My wife asked me if it was worth it as I stumbled through the front door at noon with my surfboard under one arm and a dripping wetsuit over my shoulder. I smiled and she rolled her eyes. Would I do 4:30 again? Maybe 5:30, considering the time change.