Every morning at 5:00 a.m., before my player rises, I go down to the beach for a run. Sugary white sand clings to my toes so it looks like I’m running on a bunch of mini- churros. Hued like faded-denim, at 82 degrees the Caribbean licks the shore the way puppy’s kiss.
But in the midst of all this beauty, there is clutter – the exo-skeletal remains of a beach chair, shredded soda cans, a weather-worn pair of sandals, an eco-unfriendly diaper, a working lighter.
When I was younger, I believed a stranded man would die of scurvy or exposure or boredom. I assumed the only connection to civilization would come from opening a corked bottle to read the note within. I thought foreign beaches only housed things like coconuts and pirate treasure. Today though, pollution has corrupted the clarity of the waters and sands.
I think there’s a certain symbolism here, one that gets to the heart of competition.
As youths, our palettes are clean, untainted by the distresses of defeat and the thrills of triumph. We view each match through the prism of pleasure and indulgence. But like the beaches, garbage invades our shores and our minds become cluttered with expectations and potentials and hopes. What was once pristine, is now a landscape littered with mental pollution.
When I was running today, I picked up a few bottles and placed them back in the water. Some might say I’ve done nothing to improve the circumstance, however, I disagree. For a moment, I’ve removed the garbage from my view and sent it into purgatory, trapped between freedom and forsaken. It may return, but perhaps the beach will develop a sand dune or bay to protect itself. Or maybe it will embrace the foreign object and bury it beneath its weight, never to be seen again. Whatever happens, it is no longer my burden.
It’s kind of like my morning run, cleansing, purifying, returning me back to my pristine palette so I can live divested of worry.
For those who’ve been following my rather troubling Caribbean resort sagas, today I tried the following: I took a room towel and put it on my table in the buffet dining room, and hid behind the buffet table to watch. With joy, I saw the busboy stop at my table and stare at the towel, uncertain. He called a friend over, and then another. I imagine the internal conversation was something like:
“When the patron gets up, we’re supposed to clear the table, but then, any towel not placed on the floor is to remain where it is.”
I think I’ve found the vortex of hotel regulations and brought these little bastards to their altruistic knees. For two minutes, I hovered just outside their purview. And then they called the supervisor over, who promptly folded the towel and placed it on my chair. I sulked out of the dining room and spent the afternoon a beaten man.
New word of the day: Poutclassed (def) when the level of service brings you to tears