Sunday, June 24, 2007

Go slow or go fast?

This weekend I was back at the home break with all its humans and human effluvia. I witnessed Sis's kook magnet, but strangely, even with all the people in the line-up, I didn't have a problem and got my share of waves. Maybe part of it was my whole goal for Saturday was to NOT get my head in the water. It made me very picky about the sort of waves I took and it made me kick-out early. Not a drop of water went up my nose. Sunday I wasn't so lucky. My back-side kick-out is pretty much non-existent and I got dunked once.

Sunday also brought with it the joys of a sunny Saturday at the beach: trash floating in the water. I stuffed my wetsuit sleeves with floating bags, grabbed a wave all the way to shore, walked up to the trash bin and pulled out plastic bags like a hobo magician. I did this four times.

I was on my fifth paddle-out when a drowning moth floated over the surface of my board. Without thinking, I picked it out of the water and let it rest on my hand. Now I was stuck sitting on my board, responsible for a living thing, and no way to get to shore. I thought the best thing to do would be to kill it fast instead of letting it die slowly covered in salt water, unable to fly.

One of our loudest local guys agreed. He's a tough lookin' dude, so I held out my hand and asked him to kill it. "No way! I can't do that shit!"

Help came in the form of the biggest plastic bag of the day. It was thick plastic like something used to package products in the factory for shipping. I felt my feet get caught in it and I kicked it up to grab it with my left hand; the moth still in my right. Without thinking too long about it, I smashed my right hand into the plastic in my left and then crushed the whole thing up into a wad the size of a baseball. I stuffed it into the sleeve of my wetsuit and looked for a wave to take me to the trash can. I didn't have too much time to think about how we so conveniently use plastic to shield us from the ickiness of life (think about all that neatly shrink-wrapped meat at the grocery store). A wave came and I took my death package to shore.

My last bag of the day came from a Spanish language mercado. "El Super: Cuesta menos!" it read in bold colors. How appropriate. "Costs less!" It's our untiring consumption of cheap goods that is a major source of economic and class inequity as well as the more obvious pollution problem. I wondered if we were going slow or going fast. One of our biggest weaknesses is our inability to see how our actions affect life beyond our lifetimes. We live just long enough to begin to understand the consequences of our actions, but we also live short enough lives to be able to justify our selfish choices.

Sometimes it feels like a slow march to annihilation, but I wonder if maybe a giant hand might pick us up out of the water and decide that it's better if we go fast?

1 comment:

Patch said...

Nice post, way to bring it all around.