Friday, September 21, 2007

Pittstown Point, Crooked Island, Bahamas

0 nm
Wind: E 10 knots, showers and thunderstorms around noon

We went over to Frenchie’s again for dinner tonight, with the neighbors from next door, for a delicious meal of authentic Cajun andouille sausage gumbo, accompanied by potato salad, cracked conch, fried fish, and a delicious red wine. We haven’t spent much time socializing with the Finleys, the neighbors from next door, and it was good to have a chance to talk to them. Of anyone out here, they’re living the kind of life I would want to live here--they spend half the year here, have a flourishing garden with basil and chives, and keep pretty much to themselves. They, like Frenchie, are from Louisiana and had a wooden powerboat from the 1950s destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, as well as the roof of their house. Also like Frenchie, they’re pilots with their own plane, which they use to fly back and forth to the States.

It’s a whole different way of looking at the world when you have your own plane. Frenchie zipped over to Long Island this morning to go shopping. I heard the plane fly overhead, but didn’t think anything of it, until he told me tonight. He just hops into the plane the way we’d hop into the car to run by the supermarket. The Finleys were planning to go visit Mayaguana tomorrow and asked us if we wanted to go--it’d be fun to take off and visit another island that would take us three days of hard sailing to get to.

As always when we visit Frenchie’s, I’m both concussed and entranced by the television set. Tonight we watched 20/20, one of those news shows I can barely sit through when we’re in the States, but tonight I watched it as if hypnotized. Either TV’s improved significantly since we left the US, or we’re no longer immune to its incantory spell. The strangest thing we saw was the story in the local news right before we left--a University of Florida student who was arrested and tazed for asking a question to Senator John Kerry at a public forum. I hear things like that and I wonder, first, what our country is coming to, and second, if this is major news all over the States or just a side note in Florida news. The funniest part was the protest afterwards, where a student carried a giant homemade cardboard sign that said “Don’t Taze Me, Bro.”

It could be the motto for our generation--the 60s had “Make Love Not War,” and we have “Don’t Taze Me, Bro.” What I love is the casual “bro” at the end. This generation is all about being casual and all about not getting hurt themselves. Forget giant civil rights rallies or psychedelic pro-peace demonstrations, no, we just don’t want to get tazed. Maybe I’m feeling a little distant from this next generation, the Y generation, the kids of MySpace and YouTube and PlayStation. (Does it mean something that they can’t punctuate? Or is that all the net has done for us? Take the spaces from our thought?) I feel like my generation, the one just before, believed in something, or pretended to. Remember grunge and Nirvana and the crazy early nineties environmentalists who camped on platforms in old-growth trees and wore flannel? All the kids who felt purposeless and went home to live with their parents? I guess we’re still poster children for that generation. We’re the next step up as we round the corner into our thirties: bouncing around the world, refusing to give up our ideals, living a life outside of the status quo, refusing to pursue standard careers. Not a bad thing in my book, but I suppose it could be in somebody’s.

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