Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Naked Lunch

“There is only one thing a writer can write about: what is in front of his senses at the moment of writing... I am a recording instrument...” -William S. Burroughs “Naked Lunch”

I know I must record what I am seeing…  

It is a 78 degree, gorgeous day on a Saturday in September. The sun is hot but there is a fresh feel to the air that comes in the fall.

The water is surprisingly warm and a flock of children play beneath me in the sea. The waves crash and are spotted with surfers in bright colored wet suits, gliding on boards like a magic carpet ride.

I sit high on this vantage point where I can see it all, taking the place of NO LIFEGUARD ON DUTY.

Some of the older kids are still riding the waves on this majestic day in southern Cali, while the smaller ones have retreated to the tide pools that have revealed themselves as the tide makes its way out to sea. There is a scurry of activity as they are busy investigating sea slugs and starfish and bright red fighting crabs.

The air is growing colder as the sun hides behind the hills. Right on cue, I smell the start of a bonfire being built below me in the sand. I hear a child crying about the clothes his mother packed for him to change into. She doesn’t want to argue (I can relate) and tells him he doesn’t have to wear them, so he takes this quite literally and happily runs off in his birthday suit. Minutes later he returns with a few of the flock that had been frolicking earlier, they too are now naked.

I should mention that these kids are between the ages of 1 to 6, just as a precursor to what happens next.

The fire is keeping them warm, when a little girl around 4 announces that she is hungry, and gathers them all. The mom begins to pull out snacks as the kids swarm her like a bunch of starving seagulls. She whistles, they are at attention; she asks them to all sit down as she prepares the food.

A couple approaches the bonfire and tells the Mother that she should put clothes on the kids… I may add that there are now approximately 9 children all sitting around the fire (a few of my kids included) in various stages of undress...

The mother is taken by surprise and answers, “I don’t think that is any of your business…” and continues passing out snacks.

The couple does not budge and continues about how it is not appropriate… The Mother turns to them and without a beat removes her sweatshirt, uncovering a bathing suit and says, “this is a private beach…” as she removes her top.

Her son looks up and says, “Look everyone Mommy is joining our Naked Lunch…”

I laugh out loud for so many reasons and give my friend a thumbs up from above.

The couple, now speechless, shook their heads and continued their walk down the beach.

I stand high on my perch, taking it all in… My friend looks up and smiles as she quickly puts her sweatshirt back on, its now 4:30 and getting cold. The kids are never cold as they sit unphased and continue their snack time aka geniously proclaimed “naked lunch”.

I give my friend a round of applause that is joined by a few others who saw what had occurred.

I am so inspired by my friends’ bold choice in this situation. It’s such a great reminder that no matter what the situation, we choose our reaction. Every moment we are presented with situations that allow us to make choices. It is all a matter of perception and we all view the world through individual filters. We each have the ability to choose how we perceive any event in our life. It is up to us to exercise this power of choice in every circumstance, every day of our life.

I see in this moment so clearly the difference between the people who "get it" and have a strategy to create the results they want - and those like the couple, who don't and just complain and are stuck in their own way.

The big kids are now all out of the water and have taken refuge by the fire. I climb down off my rock to join them and am overcome with a feeling of freedom. Is it the sea…  or this spot? Really I think it’s the affect of my friend’s bold move. Like Robert Frost said, “Freedom lies in being bold.”