posted by Joe Anaya on July 23rd, 2012

Do you remember the scene in City Slickers, were Jack Palance’s character, Curly, tells Billy Crystal about a woman he once saw? The story is something like, he’s riding on the range and he sees a woman working the land, the sun is setting behind her, shining through her sundress. Billy’s character says, “You should have talked to her, she could have been the love of your life.” “She is,” was Palance’s reply. I had a similar experience.

My commute to work takes me along the Pacific Coast Highway for a long stretch. If you have to be in the car for an hour, cruising along the Pacific Ocean is not a bad way to spend it. I’ve seen pelicans swooping down filling their gullets, a pod of dolphins gliding through the waves, and seals cavorting around. Once I saw Gary Busey in a shouting match with a Highway Patrol officer. But mostly I see surfers, lots of surfers. Surfers catching waves. Surfers waiting for waves. Surfers changing into their wetsuits. Surfers changing out of their wetsuits, done for the day.

It was the latter that created a vision of loveliness I’ll never forget. As I came around a bend, there were the usual assortment of surfers standing outside their cars, towels around their waists pulling off their wetsuits and putting on some dry clothes.

In a gap among the parked cars along the shoulder, a young woman had just gotten out of the ocean. The sun was rising behind her, glistening droplets of seawater scattered across her figure. Her wetsuit was halfway off, unzipped from the back, the top half folded down at the widest part of her hips, effectively framing her derriere and accentuating her narrow waist. Wrapped in tight black neoprene, the perfect symmetry of her legs was revealed.

With my ¾ rear view, the strings of her green bikini top were the only things interrupting the flow of her smooth bronze back. Her figure was athletic, not Hollywood unhealthy thin, not Hollywood obsessively sinewy, nor Hollywood artificially inflated. Firm, but curvy in all the right places.

And then the moment happened, perfectly on cue. As my moving car changed my angle to a side view, she bent forward, pulled the shoulder length curls of auburn hair forward and flipped the wet tossle back in a manner worthy of any swimsuit model. Hair flying back like a lion’s mane, releasing an aura of watery diamonds.

And then it was over; I had to pay attention to the cars in front of me. Quick glances in my side and rearview mirrors were futile. My Surfer Girl was gone. Now, each time I drive down that stretch of highway, I scan the cars and surfers hoping to catch another glimpse of the dream girl. But she’s never there, and realistically never will be again. And like Curly, there was no conversation or even eye contact, and the moment lasted less than a few seconds but the impression will last a lot longer.

File Under Jack of all Trades