Good day quarantine

August 24, 2020

Listen to “Good day Quarantine” on Spreaker.


The seal lay on its back, taking in the sights and sounds of the inlet, flippers lolling lazily out of the water, missing only a tiki drink by its side. Just ahead a dolphin frolicked in the inlet, breaching between the party cruisers and commercial boats offering their discounts for burials at sea, among other rental options. Just beyond the inlet, sailboats gathered, their masts bobbing in the gentle Pacific waves like cocktail sticks. On land, well mannered couples and small groups basked in the cooler ocean breezes, masked and socially distant, as if they had the new normal all safely figured out.

Little could occur that might threaten to diminish the serenity of this sun drenched early afternoon at historic Dana Point, named after the author of Two Years Before the Mast. The first time Carol and I spoke to each other by phone, she was sitting on a bench near where we were today, relieved to hear my speaking voice was not that of Tiny Tim. An historic and romantic spot playfully animated by basking seal and mirthful dolphin. It doesn’t get better than this, I considered tranquilly, filling as I was with the sweet milk of human kindness.

“Just beyond the inlet, sailboats gathered, their masts bobbing in the gentle Pacific waves like cocktail sticks.”

Then arrived on this blissful scene…let’s call them the Griswolds, a noisome family of five apparently in rented kayaks for the first time in their lives. The helicoptering mother of the brood remonstrated with her youngest, as if believing that repeating the same command more and more loudly would help the young urchin achieve a paddling skill he was never going to acquire. Later, aboard his sister’s paddle board, the entire family was shouting urgent instructions to the incorrigible youth to at least grip the paddle as if it weren’t a swizzle stick. The entire family wore life jackets, which eliminated the possibility of the fate I’d hope would befall all of them.

But even the thought of first responders, lights blaring and sirens wailing, not arriving on the scene of a family marine tragedy could not dampen my sanguine spirit on this fine day. My thoughts wandered playfully and my mood was buoyed, as in my mind, I replaced the dolphin with a great white shark and the seal with a giant moray eel, and considered how little help those life jackets would be in that situation.

I considered the life of that young child, and how what was happening on the water this day went on 24/7 back at home, and were he to ask me, I’d gladly let him borrow my great white and moray for the afternoon. My last image would be of him standing pensively beside the emergency vehicles, filling up with the remaining pieces of his former family that the responders and divers were able to recover.

Carol says I have to get out more, and I agree with her now. I think I’d like to go to a zoo next time, hang out by the tiger cage and wait for the Griswolds to saunter by, the unrelenting mother again stridently admonishing “little Jeffrey” (as I will now forever know him) to keep his fingers outside the cage.

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