Yesterday I had the pleasure of driving around Pasadena in the first warm weather of March. I stopped by at the canyon park I love so much to go hike a little bit and enjoy inhaling the green supplied by the surroundings. Upon parking and grabbing my backpack to head in I noticed a fly fisherman at the casting pond splashing about with his line. As I exhaled into the sun a man jogged by. I knelt by and watched a shallow yet wide creek I discovered was flowing again after recent rains. It flowed rapidly and made the most beautiful little song, yet I couldn’t help but think about what I had seen earlier.
It slowly crept over me, the realization that this fly fisherman had absolutely no idea what he was doing. Forget the fishing gear! Let’s start with his clothing choices. He had on a classic long bill hat with flaps for his neck and face protection and wore a polo shirt, shorts and low rain boots. His boots had about an inch to two inches clearance above the water. I almost asked him how the water felt. “is it cold? I bet it’s getting warm splashing around in your boots!”
I am fortunate that I grew up with a family and most notably a father who loves the outdoors. I grew up camping, hiking, backpacking and fly fishing amongst many, many other activities and while not being condescending in a know-it-all fashion, yet, I had to check in with this fellow simply to reassert my own abilities in this skill I very rarely now use. Did I mention to learn what he is attempting to do that he does not need to be in the water?
I headed back and watched for a while. Trying not to laugh I would distract myself with simple activities like reading the carvings in the picnic table I was seated at, so as not to be noticed watching him. I thought about offering him help, but let me be honest. The thrashing this man was making looked more akin to the motions a toddler makes while trying to throw a cat and forgetting to let go. I saw more water go into his rain boots because of his rod tip than anything else. This poor sucker was in no position to be helped. Even me! I read a little on the subject before I went out to practice for the first few times. I was nine.
Further down my the trail of my daily travels I stopped at a café and then an eatery where they also serve good beer and wine with a free supply of internet. At the café I decided to order Avocado Toast and a cold brew coffee as I like the lower acidity level it typically has. Anyways, a couple next to me did absolutely nothing but complain and employ simple vulgarities to express their trivial mediocrity. I heard three separate stories about traffic issues that made the man seated essentially across from me want to “kill these fucking idiots.” The avocado toast had freshly sprouted bread, organic locally sourced avocado mashed and spread over with homemade pesto sauce and a homemade pickled cabbage. The pesto and avocado gets all over my face when I eat it.
Suddenly as if realizing how they sound, i.e., exactly like the “whiny” individuals in the first story being told by the female at the table. The two massive stomachs arose to their feet as they must have known they were exactly what they were complaining about only moments ago. They clambered into their oversized beige SUV and drove off. It was then I noticed their table left littered with the plates, glasses and detritus of their meal. This café is place where customers self-bus their used wares and condiments. I reached over to their table and grabbed the absolutely delicious homemade hot sauce and topped off the last three bites of my meal. Now have both red and green on my face. “Mmmmmmmm.”
I think before she said, “let’s not be those people. Let’s get the fuck outta here before we sound whiny too,” the large tattooed man with a red beard declared, “I’m just so sick of how people are so fucking stupid. Everyone is just lazy fucking idiots!” I laughed and shook my head about this now unfortunate memory I have just as an old, black Toyota Tacoma rounded the corner. It’s bed loaded with random items slowing as if to stop with it’s pink eye shadowed eyes looking at me. I smiled. Wait! Pink eye shadow?
As the playful Toyota Tacoma rounded the residential street corner stopping in the middle of a major street I noticed it’s driver. This pale man had black devil horns on his head. He reverse nodded his head to me as if to say something while turning his metal music down. He looked somewhat sickly. “Hey, you know where Hollywood is?” I gave him the directions he desired all while smiling behind my Maui Jim’s Wayfarers. “You wanna sell your soul?” I laughed and replied “Nope. I don’t have one anymore, but thank you for yours.” Just then a trash truck rounded the corner and forced the oddity further down the lane yelling back none sense I couldn’t hear. It was the almost three-inch long sharp fangs he had in his mouth that I couldn’t get out of my head. I looked over to see him slowing to a stop far down the road. I immediately got up and moved to my car, opened it and drove off.
I had an uneasy feeling from all the negativity around me. I headed to the eatery with good beer and wine. Upon arrival I immediately ordered an IPA as they had no Rosé. I sat with my laptop in the back patio covered over with grapes hanging form a treelike trellis. As the sun lowered in the sky towards the horizon for a few hours. It was splendid. I wrote on my fiction and slowly sipped my beer taking in the chirping birds, hustle and bustle echoing out towards me from within. I was alone in my element surrounded by beauty and drinking a delicious beer to boot.
Upon finishing my writing, my beer and my my time under that truly beautiful trellis, I packed up my laptop, put on my backpack and bussed my table. I headed through the restaurant and thanked my server who smiled his lovely smile as I exited smiling. I thought about that flailing fishermans wet feet inside of rain boots and it made me feel kinda queasy. I reflected on the hypocrisy of our own incensed misgivings. How misguided we can be with others therefor completely missing seeing ourselves because of simply living through anger.
It becomes us, literally. Consuming all that can be beautiful and all that which can bring discovery. How then, when we put our own unchecked agenda, driven by unfounded truths we literally become a vampiric-trash-demon pushed and shoved along by the very trash system itself, can we ever transform?
That’s when I saw a man approach his beautiful electrically powered Tesla automobile discover a parking ticket on it’s windshield. I smirked thinking of how if I were him I would giggle knowing that this parking ticket, although my silly mistake was easily taken care of. I can afford the hundred-thousand dollar automobile. I smiled and got in my Honda and fired it up. I glanced over and that’s when I saw the unforgivable transgression that on any other day I would have not let stand. I would have felt obligated to speak up, to say something, do something, but instead sat deeply within myself, ruminating in the knowledge that I simply cannot help everyone. I can’t fix everything. I can’t fix anyone. That little asian man who picked up a parking ticket off his Teslas windshield and threw that same parking ticket into the street with no remorse is not me. As he entered his Tesla he got on his phone, started up his ride and silently drove off, whispering along slowly, silently sort of jerkily down the road, obviously distracted within his own world.
I have and take NO moral high ground here, but I will say this: