Triple Water

Dear J-

The common knowledge is that if you don’t have some training in rescue swimming, trying to save a person in the process of drowning can be hazardous to both of you, as the panicky thrashing could overwhelm your ability to keep both afloat. Your altruism could potentially be your downfall, in other words. I think about this sometimes when we talk about lending a hand, whether literally or figuratively through money or other means. Do I do what’s safe? Or do I do what’s necessary? It’s not always a binary calculus, either; how much do I give up versus the chances of saving someone else? In the end it comes down to that sort of cold-blooded regard, of weighing consequence and conscience.

There are pivot points in our past, decisions made or not made that affect our todays. Lately it’s almost always been regrets of inaction than action: I should have … parked my bike and gone into Fenway. Taken advantage of living that close to the city. Spent more time off. Been more aggressive about … whatever. There is always something to regret in the past, though, and that’s an easy way to drown yourself in misery born of self-pity, how much wiser we are when judging our pasts, right? When I was traveling before I did not regret a single minute spent out of the hotel room, which I used to do more work (ugh, writing until late hours of the night) or sleep and shower. I need to remember that.

If we are the sum of our experiences, I need to tell you about the beach. Before Calcifer whenever figgy was sick I’d call in ill and take the day off work; more often than not I’d take her to the beach because no matter how miserable you feel or how gray the day was there’s something healing about the beach: I favored the sands of La Jolla Cove, but Coronado was nice, too. Something about walking on sidewalks with sand-encrusted feet screams vacation to your mind from past associations and if you get to track some into your car, well, there’s nothing more amazing than running your feet over that idly and knowing bare feet are free, attitudes are up, and the time you spend in the water is forever. Immersion and wading, not drowning and despair, conquer colds and grim attitudes.

Mike

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