Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I need an iPod, I thought as I pressed my hands against the tapestry chair and righted myself. I walked toward the door as I considered the songs I might feed the palm sized device. Surely it would take the drudgery out of my exercise. All I needed to do was make a run to Costco and pick up the latest version.  
 I  walked down my front steps, headed toward the beach and checked my starting time. My mind began to spin with the details. Once the I Pod was in hand, I needed to select the songs and download them. Yet sorting through six decades of my favorite songs might take considerable time. I could begin with the disheveled pile of CD’s stored in my closet. But WAIT! How does one download songs? How much time would it take to learn that? UGH! It can’t be too hard. I’m sure I can figure it out. And so my obsession kept spinning.

While engrossed in this self imposed mind static, I realized I passed a quarter mile of houses and gardens without even noticing. I turned around and glanced at the tree lined street. Then my attention shifted to the soft cushion of the sole of my shoe bearing down upon an inflexible concrete. I took a deep breath and continued my walk

Once I arrived at Ocean Avenue a decision presented itself.  I could stay on the street side and attend to the turn of the century homes and landscaping. Or I could cross now and take the sidewalk along the bluff’s edge and enjoy the view of the ocean. Maybe I should wait for the light to turn and head for the closest stairway. Then I could walk across the sand and actually stroll along the water’s edge. The last option seemed the most appealing.

Down the long stretch of steps that lay before me, my enthusiasm waned a bit. Everything has its price, I speculated “One must return from where one came.” Yet I pressed on. Once at the bottom, the sand gently receded with each step as I approached the water.

The slow rhythm of the oceans pull upon the shore was my reward. The contrast of enormous man made vessels waiting to be docked and unloaded buoyed by an expanse of water seemed remarkable. I looked toward the pier encircled by seagulls. Then I continued my walk dodging the debris washed upon the shore. At the same time, I searched for small treasures. Drift wood, bits of plastic, broken glass, tangled seaweed…

I glanced up. A man with a scrambled head of hair and disheveled clothes was approaching. He’s probably homeless, I imagined. My mood shifted. A certain sense of powerlessness overcomes me when I encounter the apparent suffering of those on the fringe. He was getting closer. I cringed. As he started to get closer, I heard a voice. Panic set in. Then he pointed his  finger at me animatedly saying. “Did you notice what a marvelous day it is? We’re lucky. They’re all marvelous” I broke out in a grin. “You’re right”, I replied. And he was gone at a pace much lighter and quicker than mine.

With his disappearance, my search for hidden treasures evaporated as I left the oceanside and headed home. Two joggers approached me on the right passing me by. Both were plugged in to their…yep….i Pods. I wondered if they had encountered the same man. And if they had, could they have heard him? I think not.
And what other pleasures would I have missed if I had been plugged in…the sound of the waves pulling against the shore, seagulls crying overhead and the voice of one seemingly lost soul pointing out the miracle of a  day…

Although I had the funds to purchase an i Pod upon my return, was it worth the price?