Monday, December 12, 2011

Random Law School Update 29

Current Location: Finals

Next Location: Winter Break

I was trying to learn how to surf once. My friends rented a surfboard from a shop at a remote beach outside of Kenting in the south of Taiwan. We took turns going out with it. See Random Travel Update 5, and surfboard pictures.

The beaches south of Kenting are known by professionals as being remote spots for catching some serious waves. I went out unencumbered by any direction or advice on how to properly manage a surfboard. And without a rash guard, no less. Luckily, it was truly quite remote.

I put the very large board beneath me and swam, and swam, and swam until I was about as far out as the small handful of experienced surfers in the area. Surprisingly far out. And then I would wait, facing shore, laying with my belly on my board. Eventually a wave would come. And I would swim, and swim, and swim and swim. Paddling my legs and arms furiously to keep up with the increasingly monstrous wave. But my efforts would amount to running in place and I would come to notice that the wave was now on top of me rather than beneath me. At which point I would take a split second to think “hmm” and to suck in a deep breath of air before an incredible force took me tumbling down under the water and I found myself suddenly moving quite quickly towards the shore, my board strapped to my leg, smashing into me over and over again. And then rocks. Sharp pointed sea objects all of which had presumably gone through this process before me. Washed up where the ocean meets the shore. And for a moment, I would be happy to just to feel something beneath me, to know that I wasn’t going to be pushed down into a bottomless ocean forever. But then, the force of the ocean would pull me back, and I would tumble again over and over and over again, for what could have been an eternity. Even now, I still remember it as if it had been an eternity.

I would spend the time in reflection. I would imagine that I was any other rock or shell or sea creature who did this every day. I would relax my body and give in to the ocean. It had convinced me that it was greater than me, and I thought it silly to spend much effort disagreeing. I would hold my breath until it was all over. I would think very clearly during this time. I would think about returning to the shore someday, and what it would be like to stand on land again. I would think about how I might get there. And devise strategies. I would keep my arms up in front of my face, to prevent my nose from breaking when my board smashed back into it. It was very painful being tossed onto shore, so after awhile I actually started to point myself away from shore and swam into the wave. I tried to stay under the water as much as possible, in order to prevent new waves from breaking over me. Eventually I found air. And then there I was, just swimming in the ocean again. Close to shore. My friends smiled and waved. I adjusted my top, regained control of my board and paddled slowly into shore. “That was fun,” I said when I got back. I proceeded to repeat the experience several times.

This is what law school is like.