Picking back up....
The Swiss man lived, swam, learned, and paid. Speedily, intentionally, I left the beach. My youngest sister and I have recently embarked on a mission to find deeper spirituality - it's more of a quest than anything. WIthout any specific knowledge on where one finds said spirituality, we thought the most logical place to start would be a yoga studio. Yoga began at 9:30. We breathed deeply. We did. We closed our eyes. We did everything they asked of us. The results are inconclusive - we'll have to go back to truly know if the answers we seek are in that small, steamy yoga studio. Parts of me hope the answers are there, but other parts know they're not. And there are even other parts that doubt whether it (Spirituality) exists, at all. Spirituality cannot be taught in a room - albeit, I will eat my kale and swim in the ocean and dream while standing up and sleep while sitting down and drink tall, organic glasses of sunshine....I'll do it all! But I'm certain my spirituality, the thrilling, sword-fighting, whiskey guzzling, knife throwing kind of spirituality I'm after is not found in a sweaty yoga room.
Feeling fresh, exhilarated, pseudo-infused with life, I climbed onto the bicycle that is responsible for it all. The two-wheeled roller belongs to my father. It's a townie, a cross between a mountain bike and a cruiser. With seven gears, three of which are obsolete, I road it to a gas station. Around back, I dropped the kickstand with my closed-toe right shoe and filled the tires with its pressure air. The tires now filled and strong, almost bouncing off the asphalt with each spin of the wheel, each crank of my leg - and four wonderful gears, do not forget the four wonderful gears! - i continued to a local sushi house to meet my mother for lunch. Yellow Tail and Miso Soup. That's the order. It doesn't change. Maybe a fancy roll every once in a while or a quail egg, maybe some salmon, or some eel...I like the Dragon Roll, too, and the salad with that good dressing, I like that, as well. Albacore, sometimes. I've even let Jack, the Chef, just throw together whatever he wants - chef's choice! But, other than that, my order is always the same. We conversed over our meal and a beer, the topics were varied and volatile, but enjoyable. My mother drove away. I left on bicycle in search of a boom box because, as I mentioned before, I have a Walter Mitty cassette tape I've been wanting to listen to for some time, now.
The cassette tape sitting snugly in my pocket, I cranked the wheels of my father's bicycle (Costco Special) to several stores. I thought one of the stores might carry the devices I needed, still need, am needing, but I found no such machines, no such sound boxes, no such boom. This is where my story cheats on normality, and begins to french kiss, arguably getting to second with Abnormality. However, and it pains me to do this....my hunger has returned, and this time with the unease & restless fervor of several thousand Syrian Rebel Soldiers. My stomach is behaving much like the regime of Bashar-al Assad, collectively unwilling, selfishly unable to relinquish any sort of power or control....now, I, the brains of this operation, the speaking portion of my mind. Although, my parts, together, make me who I am, it is my mind that burns the words onto this digital page and so, as the mastermind, the puppeteer, I must act as such and supply the Rebel Soldiers in my belly with ammunitions. The Ammunitions on tonight's Late Menu: Turkey Sandwich, Leftover Fettucini Alfredo, a handful of blueberries, several strawberries, a few blackberries and a chocolate chip cookie. !Viva La Revolucion! Tomorrow we tackle A PHONE CALL & (finally) THE
None of this would have happened if I had just found a Boom-box. I have a cassette tape of the '09-'11 Discography for Walter Mitty and His Makeshift Orchestra. For weeks, I've desperately tried to locate a compatible playing device. My luck has been dull and uninterested. Today was no different.
The morning began with an early dip into the Pacific Ocean. Its waters were brisk, its tides turning, its currents sweeping. In the middle of summer, a time when temperatures usually fail to dictate actions, I was forced to cover my body with a suit made of rubber, one that could withstand the cold, wet personality of the ocean - a wet suit. My reason for entering the Pacific on this early morning was not for pleasure. My path to the ocean was laid by education. More specifically, the education of water safety. I care not to go into it any further for it would only serve to pull me further off topic, but before I abandon my tangential ways, once and for all, let me tell you a funny thing that happened this morning. A Swiss man accompanied by four children - 3 of his own and a friend of his youngest son. In the sand, the man attempted to dress in his wetsuit, a towel wrapped around his waist covering his nude bottom half. As the man needed a lesson in ocean safety, it is fair to say he did not possess a great deal of balance. Wobbling, the rubber of the suit stretching and tangling around his feet, the man toppled over, falling into the sand. His towel, rebellious in the commotion of the fall, was now draped over his head and no longer covering his bottom half. The man's johnson was staring all of us in the face. Turning away, startled with laughter, I then heard the voice of a disgruntled, irritated child, "Cover it up, dude!" Which brave child had the nerve to say this to such an unbalanced man? I thought surely it was one of his children, but NAY! It was the friend. The friend was the one! The man was neither embarrassed nor upset, he simply got to his feet and continued to change. An admirable display of perseverance. A rare show of bravery and straightforward slander. Today, we are so used to such roundabout, backwards incidents of informational transactions. The directness was refreshing.
I want to keep writing this but I'm afraid the short, little story i have told has done more than I had estimated to whip me off course. My mood has suddenly changed, and I fear it could have horrible ramifications. Please understand my mood has not soured because of you, in anyway. No, my mood has been splintered and blown up by the uncontrollable, throbbing pain of hunger. The pit appears to be in an alleyway knife fight with my gut. The hunger is horrendous and I am cursed with extreme bouts of anger and violence. All of which, are induced by my hunger. To protect myself and you...I have decided to put my story on pause. Tomorrow, we'll pick back up....it will involve YOGA, SUSHI, and a BICYCLE RIDE. Tune in to hear how it all ends - the story, that is. The hunger ends now.
Last week I was talking on my cell phone while stopped at a red light. A cop pulled up to the same light across the intersection. As he rolled to a stop, I let the phone drop from my hand like a ton of bricks. Glaring, the cop was visibly upset at my attempted deception. The green of the streetlight was joined by the red and blue of the copper's dazzling lanterns - a symbol of his power, his patriotism.
The pig got me. He had me on the side of the road right where he wanted me, but I wasn't going down without a fight. I have an intrinsic propensity for doing whatever I can to get out of trouble - outsmarting police officers falls at the top of that list. The cop exited his vehicle with the cool that comes with years and years of too much power - or, at least, the illusion of such power in his tiny, ill-conceived mind. My window was rolled down, I watched his awkward, finicky approach in my side-view mirror. There was nothing routine about this man, it seemed he was out to prove a point or show off or just abuse his power for the sake of it. Stopping at my rear brake light, his hand hovered over his gun. He yelled, "Sir, roll down your back window and unlock your doors so I can search your backseat!"
Poking my head out the window like a confused turtle, I responded, "What!?"
The officer continued, "Sir! Please roll down your back window and unlock your doors!"
He thought I didn't understand, so he said it louder, more aggressively. I responded for a second time, "No. Why?"
Uninterested in offering any sort of answer, he repeated himself again, "Sir, roll down your back window and unlock your car doors!"
The volume and anger in his voice, although convincing, failed to sway me away from my original response. I decided to elaborate. "I'm not doing any of that until you tell me why. What am I suspected of?"
"Roll down your back window and unlock your car doors, sir!" Clearly, he had not understood my question. His hand now resting on his pistol, he was clearly flustered.
"No," I said, once again. This time, I didn't offer any elaboration - I thought, maybe, simplicity was the key to navigating this tricky situation.
It appeared as if the man had exhausted his knowledge of the policeman's handbook. Stammering and confused, he peeked through my back window, using his hands like blinders on a racing horse. What he found: a surfboard. He then came to my window, which, mind you, had been rolled down the entire time. With difficulty he said, "I've never had someone not listen to me like that." The man felt defeated, I almost felt sorry for him, but I wasn't about to let up.
"Well, then there are alot of people who don't know their rights."
Not the answer he was looking for. "When a police officer tells you to do something, you need to do it," he said sternly, trying to intimidate, attempting to strike fear in me - the defenseless societal lamb that I am.
"No. That's not true. You can't just pull me over and try to search my vehicle without telling me what I'm suspected of. Are you familiar with the fourth amendment?"
He squared his shoulders, hands resting on his thick leather belt. An air of smug confidence descended over him. "The right to a public trial? What does that have to do with anything going on here?"
"Actually, you're confusing the fourth amendment with the sixth amendment, sir. The fourth amendment protects me from unreasonable, illegal searches and seizures...which is exactly what you just attempted to do."
Embarrassed, vulnerable, he dealt with it like a cop - loudly and aggressively. If at first you fail, try, try again. "Do you know what I pulled you over for?" He asked, trying to get me to admit guilt.
Another answer that wasn't in the Policeman's Handbook. "Wha...do...ss...yes, you do."
Unwilling to give in, I continued, "No, I don't."
"Ah! Okay...well....then i'll tell you. You were talking on your phone."
The tables had turned. The side of the road was no longer his safe place, his sacred arena - now, it was mine. "No I wasn't," I said.
"Can you please take off your sunglasses sir?" He said, a tactic learned in Chapter 3 of the handbook.
This was almost laughable and I was unable to keep the smile from my face. He was reaching and he knew it - he knew that I knew it, too. "No."
"Okay. So you weren't talking on the phone?"
"Nope. I was checking my messages."
"I saw your lips moving for five to ten seconds!"
"I was checking my messages," I answered. If he knew the law, he would have known that it doesn't matter what I was doing on the phone. It's illegal to even touch your phone while driving. He didn't know the law - any law, really.
"License and registration, sir," he barked. The one thing he knew I had to obey.
Searching through my scattered papers, I could only find my license. He marched back to his vehicle to run my id - desperately hoping I was a fugitive. 30 seconds later, I found my registration and waved it out the window. Catching his attention, he got out of his car and snatched it from my grips. "Ahhh," he grumbled, retreating back to his car.
30 seconds after that, I found my insurance card. Laughing, I waved it out the window. Exiting his car for the third time, he yelled, "Are you serious?!"
He approached, trying to kill me with his glare. "I'm not doing this on purpose," I said, laughing. "You gotta admit, it's pretty funny," I said, trying to lighten the mood. He was not amused, nor did it ever admit the comedy of the situation.
Trudging back to his car, he slammed the door and did his calculations. Ten minutes passed before he reemerged.
"I don't know why I'm doing this but I'm giving you a warning," he said, expecting me to be obsessively thankful for his mercy.
"Okay," I said plainly.
"I believe you were talking on your cell phone." He wanted to get the last word.
" I believe!" he yelled, gesturing to himself, slapping his palm against his bulletproofed chest. "I BELIEVE you were talking on your cell phone."
Unsure what to say, I waited for him to continue. Nothing. "Okay."
One final stare-down, then, with awkward, big steps, he stomped back to his vehicle. I threw a peace sign out the window as I pulled away.
Know your rights - because cops don't.