Perspective The West Is The Best Smoking Man On An East Coast Beach In New York Scott Richard 2003


THE WEST IS THE BEST -- SMOKING man on an east coast beach in new york, scott richard 2003

posted by alias torbakhopper on Saturday 13th of January 2018 11:19:45 AM

PRESS PLAY the end the doors ************ funny story here. it was a hot summer in manhattan that year. a blazing july in 2003. late in the day, the 27th day of july, and quite out of the blue, some friends decided that we should go to the beach. i was curious about east coast beaches, though i'm not really a beach person. my ears don't "perk up" when someone says, "hey, let's go to the beach!" probably because i grew up in san diego and while i really enjoyed surfing and the sea-play and water submersion, i'm not a fan of the blazing sun or the gritty sand of beaches. or, if i'm being honest, the people who inhabit beaches. it's a strange social setting that we used to pass through as surfers when we were young. after we got our own cars, we were at the beach at dawn or dusk and the beach people were never there at those times. they are there for the sun and the water. and then a bunch of them are there to be seen by others. i was there for the waves and the water. surfers are pretty directed. and there are many beaches on the coastline of san diego county, so surfers could use the call lines and surf reports to target waves based on swells and conditions predicted. radio stations like kgb101.5 and 91x had great surf reports on the hour for dawn and dusk patrol listeners. the seas are calmer at these times and the waves generally have better form and power. offshore winds can also pick up the pulse. the presence of the sun has a radical affect on the waves. and the winds. from this perspective the worship of the bright afternoon and late morning sun with all the sitting around seemed a lazy occupation of time to us, in the same way that people who "resort vacation" in tropical places still seem lazy to me. i get how sun worship works when you live somewhere cold and dark. but why go somewhere to sit in the sun when you already live in the sun? for example, going to hawai'i when you live in san diego makes sense to see island life. they are different places and the whole scape is radically different. but sitting in the sun in your backyard versus sitting in the sun several miles away at a beach is sort of missing the point that diogenes made -- if you're sitting in the sun, don't let someone block your light. you have to maintain the connection. he supposedly sat in a tub of warm water in the full sun. there is a fun anecdote about how alexander the great stumbles onto him and says, "you're the smartest man in existence. what do you have to tell me now that i've conquered the known world?" and diogenes says back in the joke, "well, maybe you could move a little to the right and not block the sun?" in philosophical translations, this could mean that if you can sit in the sun in your backyard, all other attempts to sit in the sun somewhere else are a form of temptation and mystery and promise. you have to "get there" to be there which is an abandonment of where you are where there is already sunshine. make a sand pit in your back yard and keep the damn cats out of it! problem solved. so in these BEACHGOERS' lifestyle scenario this "wish" for sunshine is being deviated by all manner of other things which are literal -- packing and unpacking issues; transport/travel issues that involve transport fees, plus transport risks & responsibilities; human interaction scenarios & expenses incurred -- anything from buying a bottle of water to being involved in a parking dispute for a space. even a potential fender bender on a traffic jammed freeway could fall into the scenario of "getting there." and these are the unanticipated variables for travel and spending. you can't know them in advance, but they do happen sometimes. but fundamentally, all of those other things exist ELSEWHERE and are a form of SHADOW. they are not real, but because they can be realized, they can replace the actual SUNSHINE. and they do. and socrates has warned of us these shadow shows where we are tricked into the dark picture houses and forced to be batteries for a master slave race of aliens controlled by dominant machine power assistance. personally, i think sitting around in the sun day-drinking is even worse. it's a heightened form of self-sabotage that has never appealed to me. when i see tv scenarios that dive into this escapism with the bikini clad women and the flashing sunglasses of the bright poolside lifestyle, i yawn and look for shade. the idea that so many personality types FKING revere these brightly colored cocktails and the shots and the beers and the white wines of the daylight world of drinking is beyond me. the idea of trying to intentionally swell your brain from the inside on an already externally hot day is absurd. it's so stupid as to FINGERPOINT blatantly at the individuals who engage in such physically abusive behavior. and this is the majority?!?! really? that's too bad. but good music always helps the scene. to me, the west coast beach scene was literally only something that one had to pass through on the way to something -- we wanted waves, there was a parking lot and a beach to pass through to get there. and i realize in rereading that sentence that i should say the SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA beach scene, not the west coast. that is not fair to homogenize the north west and the central coast. they are distinctly different from the southern california coast line. if you want better "year around" rideable waves, southern california is much more accommodating than anywhere else. not only in the number of beaches and spots for surfing, but also in the number of breaks and reefs. and it's warmer most of the time. but it is the weather differences between these regions that has shaped the cultural idea of what beaches in california even mean. for example, northern california has very unsocial beaches. unless it's mercilessly hot and then the beaches are populated and feel like beaches. otherwise, they are driftwood and chill winds. you could hibernate inside an old man's lit pipe on any given beach day in northern california. even in the summer. in southern california the beaches are more heavily occupied because the weather affords a social life with less clothing. it is casual board short land. so many things are born here in this freedom. or, through early adaption, many things get a life they couldn't have elsewhere -- skating, surfing, punk rock, roller coasters and boardwalks, dudes & chicks, etc. later when i lived in santa barbara, one learns, the beaches of the central coast are rarely occupied. and i loved that. an empty beach is a beautiful thing to experience alone. even in montecito you could be in a blissful state of aloneliness for ages before being aware of the presence of another beachgoer also locked into their joyful aloneliness but way back in the 80s, surfing was an activity for me, while the art of "going to the beach" was more nebulous. people carried chairs and balls and nets and games and toys to justify it as an activity. then they would hang out for hours and pretend like they had stepped back into a time similar to cave people emerging and seeing other humans for the first time. they would stake out their space with towels and lounge chairs that almost scraped the sand -- personal hammocks for the beach. the smell of top brand sun lotions -- coppertone with its bikini-baby-child ad and the little dog pulling her bikini down as one of the only mechanized billboards that popped up in california. as surfers, we had mr. zog's sex wax. and from their creation of racy surf board wax, a myriad of offspring were born. but the original smells of mr. zog's surf wax is fused with beach life for me. the wax was applied to the boards for better foot traction in the water against the fiberglassed surface of the board. each time before paddling out you rough up the top coat and add a fresh new layer of wax. pineapple was one of the flavors. the others were as intriguing but less distinct. and mr. zog's came in a couple of colors to match the fragrance names. but the waxes would eventually age down to dirty whites or dirty yellows or dirty reds. obviously, at one point or another, the bar of wax would get so small that a surfer would part with it. usually in a parking lot or the shoreline. on a hot summer day the parking lots would bake with the sun's heat and the scent of these bits and pieces of waxes scattered around would give the parking lot a heavenly quality of smell and sensation. it was otherworldly. candy shop. we'd show up later when the bubble gum haze of the smell had converged and the sun was setting. we did dawn or dusk patrol. if you showed up for dawn, these abandoned waxes were hard and cold and fused to the asphalt, clinging to it. dawn patrol was like an east coast sunset in my mind. it was cold and crisp, the sun rising up over land, fighting the shadows of resistance. but i figured that it would be a worthy trip to experience the sun setting behind me on the east coast land, me on the edge of the water, somehow the further thing east at the moment. granted, i was a bit terrified. i knew that this experience would probably depress me and that i would have "soaked" feelings. even though this would be a first for me, i was childishly worried that my vulnerabilities to these things was at risk -- how i knew i would feel might affect the outcome. but, like dead jim morrisson said, everyone knows the west is the best. as we drove out of the city and headed into the fray, traffic came to a halt. and then it was stop-and-go for a bit and then it was a bit more go-than-stop but with sharp stops. that went on for awhile and the man in this photo started to get a bit tense. behind the wheel of the car we were all in was a funny lawyer guy. it should be noted that he was also an aries. and if you know much about astrology, driving with aries or pisces is like asking to be in an accident. and they incidentally have the highest accidents rates to back this up. go have a look yourself. it's literally documented info. so my "friend" pictured in this photo, a man that i've written a bit about here and there -- when i did my actual first production of plays that i'd written in 1988, he was one of the actors that i had used for one of the performance and that's how we'd met -- who himself is a deep and brooding and narcissistically sunken sort of guy of the SCORPIO persuasion, started to tense up and get snappy. from where i was sitting, it was this snappiness that ended up propelling our vehicle into the vehicle in front of us. the tension and expectation of trauma literally appeared to give life to it. it was like this one person's thoughts and hopes became instantly manifest and literally shoved our car into the back end of the car in front of us. and it was just a tap. it was a bump. it wasn't anything crazy or insane or even damaging. it was just a fuck up. so i was kind of pissed that said SCORPIO had done this -- he'd genuinely scared the poor aries driver with some poorly placed criticisms that lanced the dude and now we had bumper kissed a the car in front of us during rush hour ON THE WAY TO THE BEACH. fk! who does that!!! anyway, inside the car an argument ensues -- SHOULD WE STOP! and this is hilarious. scorpio argues that we shouldn't. he says it's no big deal, "no harm no foul" and we should keep driving. but the car in front of us is signaling to pull over. so the fight breaks out. and honestly, i thought i was going to have pull the car over myself for awhile. such asshoes there are in this world. my logic was simple -- you hit someone, you have to solve it. you can't run away. and, it wasn't a big deal, just pull over and be absolved. don't be a DITCH. it's pretty easy to force people to do the right thing when you're willing to take everyone on and see something through to the end. righteousness isn't easy to talk back to when it's serious. so we pulled over and our driver talked to their driver and they actually had a very friendly moment and the man was able to forgive us for the bumper tap and we all got back on our way. at least, back into the stop-and-go traffic. you see, our plan had a major flaw in it -- it was already too late in the day to really have a day at the beach. when we got to the beach it was windy and already cooling down. the footprint indentations into the sand were the chill blue gray color of wet and darkness, the promise of day's end. and of course, there was the creepy setting of the sun behind us as i stared to the horizon. i'd gone through this same experience standing on the hudson river shores and looking out toward jersey. but somehow that is just fine by me. it doesn't depress me to see the sun set on society or earthy landscapes. but standing there staring out at the horizon and feeling the sun's faraway touch on my back was sad. i had spent my whole life watching the glorious sun fall into the sea. that's how it was for me. that's all i really knew. i'd never seen the sea go silently dark as the horizon line is slowly eaten by the latent dusty light of the fading glow of animate objects giving up their hold on the sun as it sets 180 degrees behind me. the sea settled into the same darkness. there was no winking farewell of the sun's last ray. there was no sun's last ray. it was a diminishment, a whimper without a bang. there would never be an argument on the east coast about whether there was a brief flash of blinding green light right before the sun disappeared. but know this, the color called white exists right in between yellow and green. and white is not a people. it never could be. like a setting sun on land, there are no true last rays. indeed, the illusion of a setting sun is only that anyway -- an idea we hold onto. and like my good friend from pennsylvania points out, you can argue about whether or not there is a green flash of light as the sun rises. so it all works out in the end. the end? like my parents' neighbors in their high-end san diego lifestyle. going full speed until one day their own son shows up, fkt up on MEDZ and other NOT legal drugs with a spoon in his right hand. and by a spoon, i mean a dining utensil with which he intended to scoop his father's eyes out of his skull. hly fk!! payback!!!! cuz "this is the end, my only friend, the end." it's an introduction. and then the cops arrive and the scene dissembles, parents and child forever split by a dining spoon. is that where it all begins and ends? is this a way of saying, "soggy setting sun, the saturated bone marrow. this is the end."


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