Smoothing out the Rougher Edges of the Culture Clash
11 Nov 2018
There is a slight haze on the horizon and it seems to reflect the fogginess in my head–the residual effects of a challenging week. I’m sitting on my couch and listening to Old Dominion on Spotify–“Life is Short, Make it Sweet…” Samson is sharing the cushion with me, chin on shin, and the house is empty.
We have unplanned, but very welcome company, and they’re across the street to catch the early Patriots game at Banditos. I’ll join them in a bit but for now I’m enjoying a few minutes of quiet to answer some emails and jot down some thoughts to share with you.
I’m a bit overwhelmed with the amount of life that’s passed in the last week. A national election happened that seems to have left hurt us more than healed us. Another tragic shooting in a country bar in Thousand Oaks left a bunch of college kids dead. And then that same community, just two days later, was evacuated under the threat of raging wildfires. I’ve been to that bar and several friends and friends-of-friends are dealing with the fires.
They’re in my thoughts, and my now much-more-frequent prayers.
At home we’ve dealt with our own small difficulties that seem inconsequential to write about in light of those larger tragedies. Our dear goldendoodle, Foxy, passed away on Wednesday after 2 weeks in the hospital fighting seizures and advanced kidney failure. We agonized, as all pet owners do, over the decision and whether we made it too soon, or too late. Now the house, and our daily lives. are noticeably emptier as we work through the grief of losing a beloved member of our family.
Thursday, our week turned around a little bit as we had dinner with the Sailing Totem family. They are cruisers whose boat, Totem, is in storage here in Penasco. Behan, Jamie and their 2 youngest kids Siobhan and Mairen joined us for dinner and music at Wrecked. They’ve sailed around the world on their 47 footer and are preparing her for another season in the Sea of Cortez and then a second Pacific crossing in 2020.
We had an opportunity to ask them about the cruising life, the challenges and joys they’ve experienced in their travels, and what it’s been like raising a family on a boat. They’re lovely people and we really enjoyed getting to know them. I hope that we’ll have the opportunity to see them again before they sail south to Puerto Vallarta for the holidays.
I suppose what struck me the most was how “normal” a family they were. The girls fell in love with Samson and were doggie babysitters all evening. They are so comfortable with new people and new places–the effects of a life spent moving from country to country. Their parents, in their mid 40’s, seemed so confident and happy in their own skins. They are content with the big life they live on a very small budget. And very proud, obviously, of their 3 kids–especially the success their oldest, Niall, is having in his first year of college in Oregon.
It’s also the annual Rocky Point Rally here in Penasco. It’s a three day Mexican Sturgis complete with thousands of bikers crowding the seaside bars and roaring up and down the street with their Not-Quite-Legal-in-the-States mufflers roaring day and night. Every bar and restaurant has live music and groups of participants move en masse in their various cliques. You can tell who belongs to whom based on the various patches on their black leathers.
In general, they are a gentle, but loud group. They’re here to “drink Mexico dry” and eat as many tacos as they can have without a heart attack. Once you’ve moved beyond the intimidating outfits of the guys, and the Put-It-All-Out-There tank tops of the ladies–of all sizes and ages–it becomes very entertaining to people watch and participate from the fringes.
No, I’ll never be a biker. I’m a sailor. And I don’t quite understand, or even like, the Harley culture. But as a traveler and an observer I appreciate that FUN comes in lots of different styles and I’m glad to get a little exposure–once a year–to this unique version of debauchery. It can be very entertaining for a couple of days. Sailors and Bikers together for one weekend….
Fortunately, today they’re packing up and getting ready for their desert caravan north to America. I’m ready for them to say Adios and Via Con Dios. It’ll be nice to be able to hear the waves again….
What’s been REALLY nice though is that we have company to enjoy it. Our dear friend Clayton, and his neighbor Carolyn, decided to take a last minute trip to join us for the weekend. Having company gets my mind off the Big List of Life and provides a much appreciated distraction.
I think that if you’re lucky in life, you come across a couple of people who seem to brighten every room they walk into. Clayton’s one of those guys and I am very fortunate to call him my friend. So I’m going to wrap up this blog post so I can go catch the second half of the game and figure out what harmless trouble we can get into this afternoon….