Memory is a strange old thing, really….
Taking a ridiculously late walk to Asda my mind wandered off into a familiar territory of guilt in regards to neglecting my blog. The content is all there, ready to be written…. Musings, rants, memories, single life posts, the full works. But that spark is surrounded by damp as opposed to powder kegs, heck even anything flammable would do right now.
Then, almost out of nowhere my memory piped up, almost tourette like with a solemn reminder.
“Your dog died, like nearly 11 years ago to this day!”
Shit, so she did.
15th June 2006.
I remember three particular things happened. I had to sit a History GCSE exam about Native Americans.
England played and beat Trinidad and Tobago 3-1 in the World Cup.
My fat Rottweiler, Tiny died.
This all led to me hanging out on the waterfront with my friends. The same group, the same location. 2006 was my Summer of bliss which is still something I intend to write about. In fact, this particular post was suppose to come afterwards, but hey the timing is right….
This memory, triggered another just one year later!
Getting home at 3am. Dejected, and suffering from an epiphany of sorts… I wrote in my blog……My Myspace blog. (I remember because I wrote about the fact that it had been a year since my dog died, and of course the events I’m about to reveal!).
Our story takes us to exactly ten years ago.
15th June 2007.
2007 was a fucking blur of a year for me. I had transitioned from 16 year old shy Dan, to party Dan. There wasn’t even a stepping stone of ‘social on occasions Dan’. I had just thrown myself into the deep end of a social life.
It wasn’t unusual back then for ‘Party Dan’ to have his day completely derailed by a random invite to a house party. However with the time of year beach parties had become high on my list of frequencies.
The weather was poor, the UK as a whole was getting battered by storms and floods. Yet somehow, Plymouth had a nice subdue evening ahead of itself. I was online, surfing MSN. I was confident in the fact that I had nothing on tonight.
A random knock on my door. I answer. It’s Ollie.
Ollie, was pretty much an every day cast member in the show that was my life from 2004-2008. He pretty much plays a pivotal role in a lot of blog entries which include me drunk. Fuck, he’s already made an appearance in ‘That Time We Went Out On Valentines Night
He had not long received word that there was a beach party happening a mere matter of hours from now, and wanted to know if I wanted in.
Course I fucking did.
I dress myself in a summery casual attire, throw in a tee shirt to swim in should I have fancied it. Bought a 10 pack of VK’s (A poor man’s WKD if such a thing should even exist). And we made our way.
A good two hours later and we arrive. “Dan-zoooooooo!” I hear as I run into a sea of people I only really knew after one too many beverages. Hugs a plenty. It was the buzz that made the two hour trek worth it.
Tucked away from the rest of the world, we sat on our beach drinking disgusting ciders and spirits. Despite the rest of the UK being destroyed by mother nature, you wouldn’t have thought for a singular second that poor weather could exist on this night.
Going back to my opening blog statement, memory is a weird thing. You can forget where your keys are, the names of loved ones, and even meeting them. But some memories, even if they are inane at the time will stick with you…Seemingly forever.
Breaking off from the crowd, me and my friend Allan dither off to skim some stones because we had honestly never tried it in our lives. This attracted about three, maybe four other people to do it. All I really remember about them is that they were hippy-ish girls, and one was called Alice. Afterwards we sat on a large rock to just watch the sunset.
It was a beautiful moment, shared with predominantly strangers, using the knee of someone who I just met five minutes prior as a headrest. I occasionally ponder if that memory sticks out to them as well.
The night rolled on, until eventually it hit the one or two in the morning mark.
Alcohol now controlling most of my poor life choices, I decide to go for a swim. (I know…)
Like I previously stated, it was stormy in the UK, and just because we had gotten off lightly, it doesn’t mean the sea did.
The waves were fast and choppy, but Drunk Dan saw this as more fun, swimming into the waves and ‘taking them on’. Fuck knows how long I kept this up for.
Eventually, boredom set in and I figure it’s a good time to swim back to shore. We had a little bonfire on the beach. This bonfire to me was now the size of a marble.
“Whoops, swam out farther than I anticipated” I thought to myself as I casually began to swim back.
Everything was going well, until I notice myself get heavily drawn back by the sea as a wave sailed over me.
I shrug it off and continue my swim.
Again, I’m dragged back and twatted by a wave.
A third time’s going to be a charm…I swim, this time with a bit more power behind my arms.
The third time, clearly not the charm as I’m dragged even further back.
I was now worst off than when I started swimming back.
There was an obvious panic setting in now as I’m just unsure how on earth I’m going to make it back to shore. To make things worst, the waves were becoming much more unforgiving in their assault on me, this time dragging me under the surface.
I love the sea. It’s probably why I related to Moana so much, I’ve lived 10 minutes away from it for my entire life. A lot of my time is spent just sat next to it. It’s a romance that’ll probably never fade.
But fuck me sideways, being alone in the middle of it in the dead of night is an experience I’m not exactly looking to repeat. Especially when you’re under water, and not even knowing what’s up or down.
My best efforts to battle the tide had failed, the best I could do was just stay afloat for now.
Thankfully, the waves had calmed down a little bit, but not enough for me to successfully make any progress in swimming back. I decided to just tread water.
At two in the morning, surrounded by water, darkness and under a sea of stars. I figure this is the perfect time to be reflective on my life.
“I’m probably going to die” I thought to myself.
“I did not see it ending like this. Not really a dignified way for me to go…Is it? I wonder if they’ll make something up to make me sound better”. I shit you not was my actual worry at that time.
Hell, if I wasn’t faced with my own potential demise it probably would have been an incredibly tranquil experience.
Another wave comes charging towards me.
“Oh fuck off” I think to myself as I boost myself at the right time to swim over the wave.
Said wave had given me a little lift a metre of so forward.
The darkness surrounding me was lit up by a light bulb above my head at this point in time.
Another wave came, I kick myself up, and voilà! Carried a few feet further once more. Mother Nature, the same bitch who five minutes ago tried to murder me had just thrown me a lifeline.
It was a slow, tactical, and eventually quite boring bid for survival. Treading water, facing away from the shore and towards the faint lines of waves, I wait, boost and repeat.
After what felt like an eternity my toes flirted with the sand, but not enough to get a steady footing, I figure impatience will kill me so I still try and remain disciplined enough to keep up this winning tactic.
But, soon enough I get a footing! I’m able to walk! I make my way back to the shoreline, and collapse exhausted.
I’ve no clue how long I was there for, but a couple (Who I don’t even think were at the party) woke me up under the assumption that I was a corpse that had floated ashore. I tell them my miraculous tale of survival, pretty sure they didn’t care but I’ll be damned if they didn’t hear this heroes tale (though I left out the part of how I got there).
Reunited with my pals, who had spent a while looking for me before assuming I had just went home, the party continued for a little bit, before we attempted to get home.
As you’re aware it took us two hours to get to the beach. This was fine! It was a nice evening, and more importantly….It was daylight.
Three in the morning, the ten remaining drunk teenagers traversing narrow country roads in almost the pitch black. This was actually in the days before most phones had built in flash lights, too.
The odd car drove past, and I can’t even imagine how fucked up that scene must have looked to the driver.
The ten slowly dwindled down to just me and some Scottish guy, who walked through a supposed haunted woodland area. Once we left the woods it was just me to continue the remaining hour journey, soaked, sobering and questioning his life choices.
I went to a beach party about a week later so clearly I learned fuck all in this experience.