Friday, October 6, 2023

Picture Imperfect

Remember those picture-perfect postcards of pristine beaches? The blue,sparkling waters and curved palm trees and fluffy-clouded blue sky? The kind that enticed you to pack your bags and have that vacation you’ve always dreamed of?


And then you arrive and discover one of the following things:


• That empty beach in the postcard is overcrowded with people who had the same dream as you.


• It rains every day,


• There are biting flies that they didn’t show in the picture. 




So on the second day of the San Francisco heat wave, I was enticed by the postcard picture in my mind of going down to Crissy Field and swimming in the Bay with stellar views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Changed to my bathing suit, packed my towel, brought a book and my wife and I headed down. The beach was not too crowded, there was actually a pleasant breeze and we found a spot in the shade to sit in the sand. So far so good.


And then they came. That annual shit-show called The Blue Angels, swooping their little jet planes overhead and in front of us over the waters. Truth be told, there is an impressive artistry in their daredevil choreographies that might have made it into the postcard photo. 

But what the photo doesn’t show is:


1) Ear-splitting sonic booming that felt like it was doing serious damage to my already compromised hearing. To the point where I wondered if I could sue them for eardrum assault and further hearing loss. Not to mention having to stand at the water’s edge with my hands over my ears. So much for swimming.


2) Excessive waste of fossil fuel at a time when we know resources are limited.


3) Triggering the traumas of any veterans within seeing and hearing distance, as well as immigrants from countries where planes like these brought actual death and destruction.


4) Frightening the wild creatures— birds, cats (our old cat Chester used to cower under the couch) and other living beings.


5) Making a spectacle of war’s machinery as if it’s something to celebrate.


And most, important—


It ruined my day at the beach.


So a middle-finger salute to the White Devils called the Blue Angels and shame on you, San Francisco, for continuing to invite them.

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