Saturday, November 17, 2007

Coastal Zone


I saved this a ways back from a post off the OSP by Speelyei...winter's back in full force, so seemed time to resurrect...enjoy.
The mess in the garage was going nowhere. At this point, I was just shuffling things from one flat spot to another. As I looked out the door to see who was speeding down the street with all the little kids out, I kicked over a 5 gallon bucket full of old sawdust, sheetrock scraps, nails, debris, and other accumulated crap from a half dozen projects. "Fuck it!!", I said, as I knocked into the sawhorse that supported about 12 old spray paint cans (love that ozone!) and went into the house.

Stacked on the counter were enough bills for a lifetime. The Pentagon doesn’t have this much paperwork sitting on its collective counters. The kids were watching Jimmy Neutron. Oh my God, how I hate that show! But, at least they weren't pestering me.

Outside the wind rocks the tree tops and the mist blows through the leaves. Bright green leaves on new growth, the alders put on at least a foot this spring. Rain drips down between the fascia and the back of the gutter. No one put in a flashing strip when they built this house. You can practically hear the rafter tails rotting.

In the house, half finished projects; the bathroom with no sink, no counters, and no walls; the utility room with all the detritus for the oh-so necessary daily ablutions stacked around the 20 gallon wash basin I never bolted firmly to the wall.

Maybe the weather will let up? The rain falls steadily on the deck, the mist obscuring the ridges and clear cuts to the east. Out back, the dogs paw and tear at the soggy ground, shredding a $7 chew-man and crapping out their weight every day into the overgrown lawn.

I step out to fire up the gas grill. Another green 1 lb propane container that will slowly make its way into the landfill, the gutter, the recycling yard, or maybe be a 500 yard target in some clear cut. You're never really free of the trash you consume. I think of all the packaging in different forms that I buy, that I don’t really want. Who do I complain to?

As I fire up the grill I kick into a 10 pound plate from a weight lifting set that is slowly oxidizing and flaking into an orange stain on the untreated deck. A deck that was rotten when I purchased the house; if assuming 100k in debt is really "purchasing". Sliding the weight aside, it clunks with a hollow thud into my surfboard. Now probably bruised through its protective board bag and its petroleum byproduct layers.

I shut the lid on the Weber and go back into the house, sit down on the can and check to see if there’s paper before committing. I pick up a Surfing magazine, a gift subscription from my wife; picked because it was the cheapest and leaf through the ads. Every page is an ad; I look at people I share nothing in common with. Except maybe we're all bipeds. Jon Jon Florence stares back from a Vans ad; cut lip, boxing gloves. The thought that one of my daughters might some day meet someone like this brings out the primal instincts.

I put the magazine down, debating which is more appropriate for wiping…the glossy copy? Or the quilty soft? I’m tough, and some kid from San Diego shoots a curl he would never have imagined. I know it'll flush because I plumbed this John in myself, using oversized ABS. With two little kids the chances of a Pretty Pony or a handball taking the whirlpool to infinity are pretty high.

The sliding glass door slides like a piece of granite across an asphalt road. Through the smeared glass I see the dogs are shredding something paper. Probably a vehicle registration, or maybe an overdraft notice. I see the smoke from the grill wafting up, curling, languid, and serene; carried on the breeze that blows the mist through the alders. As it caresses the board bags in their rack, I think, “The only time those boards get wet is when it rains”.
There's a road sign up ahead…You have entered…The Coastal Zone


Juan T said...

thats good shit right there!

Anonymous said...


Doc, I'm honored!
funny, I'm having one of those days right now....

Anonymous said...

It could be a surfboard. Maybe a snow board or a fishing pole. 'Tis a shame that we can not always play the game we want when we want. It is at least nice know that we understand the rules and can go when we must.