This time was different. It was bound to be different because I didn’t bring either my sunglasses or Ipod. These are big decisions. Executive decisions. Swear to God! You’d be surprised. Decisions that change outcomes. You’d have to walk barefoot a mile in what would normally be my shoes, to know exactly what I am trying to mean. Here’s the scoop:
For a handful of reasons, I could have easily skipped this evening beach session. I was tired and feeling a bit buzzed tranquilo. I had only consumed two beers and three swags of homemade Tequila over the course of say a four hour period, but hadn’t eaten much all day. I had surfed small waves on the wrong board in the morning, and much of the afternoon was spent on The Colotepec River studying PC and his like minded acquaintance.
Pretty soon it became 5:30pm. Routine lately has had me booked at the beach, so it was time to run through my checklist. My first thought went to earplugs. Always earplugs. Don’t leave a tree without em’. Earplugs before shoes. Crazy concept for me and/or anybody for that matter.
I then categorized sunglasses and Ipod into their own category called (valuables), and decided against them both this particular time. Heavy Duty Decision Making! It’s nice having these two valuable items, but they, along with cameras and the like, don’t do well with the 5 S’s; Soot, Sand, Salt, Sea, Sweat. So without them, the pressure is off, and it’s sort of like your own personal invite to dirty yourself up.
Me: Do I bring the ball?
Myself: For what?
I: I don’t know
It didn’t make much sense to bring the ball , which is why I decided to bring it. Besides, it’s my best prop going these days.
The journey to the sand from the treehouse is about 500 meters. It’s hilly. Hillier on the way back obviously. Before getting to the sand, there is always something interesting or two to observe. It’s different every time too. Sounds. Smells. Faces. Dogs. Roosters. Taxis. Tortilla makers. Crying babies. Old Indian Men & Women. I try and make this part of the walk to the sand with some style and some purpose. I’m trying to make Gringo art. I’m trying to change lives in the present. I’m trying to be the ball. Noonan!
I carry the ball in my hand. I palm it from time to time when I have to. I spin it on various fingers when I have to. I clap it with my other hand and make various whistle chirps when I have to. I volley it out of my hand against a cement wall when I have to. I stop under a shade tree and stretch with it when I have to.
On this particular evening, about half way down the final grooved cement hill that empties out to the sand, I heard a soccer game going on. This was my first time hearing it, and coincidentally it happened to be my first time not wearing headphones. Go figure. Lesson noted.
I had seen the rocky dirt field from a hotel room I was checking out a few weeks back. The Senorita showing me the room said that games were held there every Saturday. I assumed they were full field, full squad games. I also assumed that everybody or most everybody wore shoes of some sort.
I didn’t even bother to have a look. For all I knew, there could have been nine of them looking for a tenth, and somebody had brought small netted goals. I put a 2% chance of that being true. More likely was that there were 40 of them playing 20 aside with all sorts of other side shows like breast feeding mothers, coke drinking, and coconut splitting.
I fought the urge to check it out, and simply stayed my course. I felt I was letting a potential life changing experience pass before me, but you can say that about any course of action, and you can say it til you’re blue in the face. It just wasn’t meant to be. Plus I had been hitting the bottle a bit.
When I got to the bottom of the hill, where the cement meets the beginning of beach sand, I did exactly what I had done every other time I got to this very point. With my left hand, I carefully tossed the ball up in the air, stared it down like the target it is, and kicked it with my right bare foot as far onto the beach as I could. The idea here is to hit it square, and hit it straight.
I hit this one solid. The ball had cleared the tall grass and was now perched up perfectly on a mound of sand. As I approached the ball, I again fixed on it hard. Prior to reaching the ball, I hadn’t looked up for about 20 steps. I had my head down so that I wouldn’t trip or step on a rock or a thorn, or god forbid a piece of cactus.
Because the ball was sitting up so nicely, I approached it with a sort of slow motion confidence. Like a Tropical Waltz. I cracked it hard with my left foot on what would have been the laces had I been wearing shoes. The crowd went wild.(just kidding) The ball made it 3/4 of the way across the sand, maybe 100 feet from going into the ocean. It came to a stop.
What immediately happened next will have to wait til manana. Hint: Brees and Manning had their big dance on Sunday Night in Miami. Mine came Super unexpectedly on Saturday night in Puerto Escondido…