Bridges

Knowing when to say goodbye can be the hardest thing you’ll ever have to figure out. Right after realizing that you need to. And it’s tough, especially when you’ve invested yourself fully into someone. Understanding what it means to be without them can be painful even when you consider the pain of being with them.

The old cliché Don’t burn bridges comes to mind. In general, I agree with the philosophy of it. There are those relationships however that, maybe don’t warrant a burning down of the bridge, but rather a decommissioning. Because bridges left unattended can become unstable and dangerous to walk on, eliminating trust. And trust is crucial in traversing a bridge because if the bridge fails, the fall can be disastrous.

New Shop

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Each day brings us closer and closer to our new shop being finished. Tommy 2 guns and my little redneck brother have been plugging away every day. The tree house is looking incredible. The murals are perfect, the two hundred year old wood salvaged from the bottom of the Pacific makes the walls utterly unique and the spirit of what we do in La Jolla’s Ecological Preserve is present in each board.

There’s so many things to be excited about with the new shop!

Three times the space, making our daily operations far easier and more comfortable for our guests.

Legitimate retail space to showcase our latest gear.

Beautiful craftsmanship to accent the amazing Avenida De La Playa in La Jolla Shores.

A flagship setup to inspire future stores.

And the best part is that my baby brother’s hands helped shape it. It’s been awesome having him out here. I needed to reconnect with family in a bad way. One thing that had always been an obstacle in trying to do so was work.

I’ve always committed myself 100% to my job and it’s demanded a certain amount of sacrifice, which has always been my family. Being able to work with my brother, doing something completely unique and compelling, has been one of the best things I’ve experienced. It’s truly amazing.

Memorial Day

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Memorial Day marks the beginning of our busy season Everyday California. From now until Labor Day we’re going to be busy busy busy taking out people from all over the world to explore the wonderful La Jolla Ecological Preserve. It’s a great day to kick off the season as it’s the day we as a nation give thanks and remember all those who have died in service to our country, allowing us to have the freedom to enjoy our nation’s wonders.

I’m very fortunate to work with many veterans at Everyday California. A few have made a huge impact in my life through the gift of friendship and the amazing experience of working with such an elite group. They’ve been trained superbly to work together as a unit and always have their brothers’ backs. Individually they are each a badass and together, they’re mind-blowingly capable of just about anything. They are my brothers.

So I want to say thanks to Nick Gomez, Chris Hodson, Alfredo Case and Ben Patterson for their service and to honor their fallen comrades. They are truly amazing humans and I count myself lucky to have worked and played with them.

 

Crawlspace

A tiny story:

Tucked away in the crawlspace she can hear them arguing.  The air is musty and her presence agitates the many small spiders whose home she’s invaded. Loose dirt, somewhat damp, lies beneath her stretched out form. The floor above muffles the sound of their heated voices, but she can still make out the words.

“I’m sick and tired of your lies!”

“I’m telling you the truth Irene.”

“I can smell the truth on you. You come home—“

“I come home after working my ass off all day while you blow all my hard-earned money on what Irene?  Tell me why the grocery store declined our card again today!”

The same fight. Every week has now become almost every night. Her mom wants to know why her pajamas have dirt on them all the time. All she can tell her is that it’s not her fault.

The floorboards thump and flex from their angry footsteps as the fight moves out of the kitchen. Alone now, her thoughts wander. In two years, she’ll be able to drive. In two years, she can try to emancipate away from her parents. In two years, the world will be her crawlspace and she’ll be alone.

Getting out of the crawlspace is so much harder than getting in. She hates the way her pajama pant legs bunch up around her knees. It takes her a few minutes to wiggle free.  Her toes find the oil drum beneath the entrance when her mother’s voice startles her. Her feet slip and the world turns over as she falls out of the crawlspace. The ground rises up to greet her and the last thing she sees after her head smacks the basement’s concrete floor is her mother’s slippers.

The sound of those slippers slapping the floor seems very far away. Her head is lifted and the wetness of her hair pulls her further away from the screams of her mom. The gentle rocking motion and the panicked cries feel like a warm blanket and she wishes she could see her mom’s face.

Holding her close, brushing aside bloody strands of auburn hair, her mother’s shoulders shake with her grief. She touches her freckled cheeks and nose and watches the light leave her daughter’s soft hazel eyes. Blood trickles down her forehead and down her dimpled cheeks. She wipes it away and traces the crescent-shaped scar under her small chin with a blood-stained finger.

Her dad rushes down the stairs and sees his little girl, her gangly long limbs limp and loose while her mother cradles her precious face and vacant eyes. He cries.

 

Jaded Poetry

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Poet loathing poet
Sneers at those others… Those poets
Heaving garbled noises, puked out
Sent out
and supposedly thought out.
Twisted concepts tweeted out through parrot beaks
Enlarged mouths quietly shouting:
LOOK HOW SMART MY WORDS SOUND!
Word of the day calendars, *gag*
Highfalutin pollution clogging his, my mind

Change and Acceptance

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Change is inevitable. It is constant. We grow from change and we sometimes decline. We can never truly know what good will come from it but it is a basic precept of life and some deal with it better than others.

For myself, I am ever changing and desperately seeking to adapt. In many areas of my life I do so quite well. And like many, there are those changes that I do not deal with gracefully. But change happens and we must accept it. Acceptance is not my bailiwick. Recognition and understanding, sure, I have no difficulties in that regard. But acceptance will get me. The emotional animal is a little too powerful in me.

I am lucky in that I possess a highly logical perception of the world and of the events that transpire around me, but the raw emotion of the human animal inside often hulks out and crushes that logical forebrain. If you know me, then you know I quite often wear my emotions on my sleeve. It is something I wish I could change, and while I can overcome it at times and am improving in not allowing my emotions to overcome my sense of reason, it is a constant battle. One which I often lose.

I think about this, this idea of acceptance and then coping. For myself, I can cope quite fine. It is the acceptance that I foolishly fight. And it is ironic because I am so very aware of this failure in others. It is glaringly obvious and laughable. And to be fair, it strikes me in others over the smaller things in life. Everyone is different, yet we are all so much the same. And one of the things I’ve noticed over the many years I’ve had with interacting with people through a transaction of some sort is that the word “no” when used in answer to an expectation will not get through immediately.

When someone has their mind set on something, and I mean really set in such a way that to them their expectation is as soon a truth as the sun rising the next day, they cannot accept reality when that expectation is not met.

I’ve seen this so many times it’s become something of an entertainment to me. I actually enjoy the process of reality sinking in, most of the time. At Starbucks and Nordstrom, we would unfortunately run out of things. It sucks, but it happens. And for most, it results in disappointing acceptance. But for some, it fails to hit home immediately. Their expectation is so strong, so certain, that when I’ve told them “no”, they rail against reality. The animal inside will refuse to accept the reality of the situation and become agitated, angry, annoyed and sometimes even downright belligerent. What do you mean you’re out? That’s simply not possible. I want it and I want it now. I’ve been anticipating it, I’ve been expecting it. You’re wrong, it must be here and you must give it to me or my whole day will be ruined.

And when you’re dealing with the human animal, all you can do is repeat the state of reality again and again until it is accepted. You must stay calm and it helps to be sympathetic to a degree, but you’re only course of action is to keep stating the truth: We are out.

This happens with my job now. We have regulations set forth by the city of San Diego and enforced by the lifeguards. These regulations have many logical reasons for safety and when you think about them for even a little bit, they make perfect sense. But the human animal does not care about logic, reason or sense. It wants, and that is all. And in this circumstance it wants to go kayaking.

Many people from all over the nation and all over the world come out and play with us in the water. They set aside time to do so, they even plan things around our activity. So they come to us with a hard set expectation. And some of them don’t plan far enough ahead; they do not realize just how popular kayaking in La Jolla is and they think they’ll be able to go whenever they want. But if they don’t book far enough in advance, it is unlikely they will be able to go.

Each tour can only be booked to a max number of 20 people, again this is for safety and is strictly enforced by the lifeguards. So when someone calls today and wants to take their family of five out at 2 p.m., which is the only time they have available because they’re from Wisconsin and are leaving the next day, I’ll look at the calendar and tell them that unfortunately the 2 p.m. tour is booked. This clashes hard against their rock hard expectation and they do not accept it. What do you mean it’s booked? I tell them again, I’m sorry but it is booked. There is no room on that tour and I’ll ask them if there is another time they can go. Acceptance is still far from reach at this point and they’ll tell me that 2 p.m. is the only time they can go. I’ll tell them again that I’m sorry but that tour is booked and I cannot put them on it.

“But we’re leaving tomorrow.”

“I’m sorry.”

“But can’t you just squeeze us in?”

“Unfortunately I cannot.”

“Why?”

“Because it is booked and we are not allowed to take out more than 20 people per tour.”

“But there’s just five of us.”

“I know and there is already 20 people booked on that tour.”

“You sure you can’t fit us in?”

And this is the long road to acceptance. I’ve told them already the reality of the situation, I’ll then tell the why of it and still it will not matter. Their expectation is huge and strong and does not want to bend or give. The human animal wants what it wants and it is hard to deter.

From here, it’s just a waiting game. I will stay calm and I will be sympathetic, but I will stand my ground, because it is the only ground to stand upon; it is reality. Most will eventually accept it and figure something else out. But there are a few among us that have let the human animal control their life to such a degree that when they are faced with the word “no”, they fight it tooth and nail to the bitter end. Unfortunately they see me as the culprit, as if I personally am not letting them have what they want. They will attack, sometimes viciously. I am not the culprit, I’m just the messenger.

And I’ve shot down my fair share of messengers. Not on the small things that are the result of rules or outages, but on the larger issues of life that don’t have a black and white set of regulations. I’ll silently rail against the truth of the matter and emotionally react in a way that is entirely irrational. The truth will sink in quickly, and I’ll know my only course of action is acceptance but the human animal in me will continue to rage against it.

I guess the first step is recognizing this truth and trying to change in accordance with reality. Curbing emotional reactions and guiding the animal within to the bitter waters of acceptance until it’s not so hard to swallow? Easier said than done. And who knows, maybe the little blue guardians on the planet Oa will bestow upon me a genuine Green Lantern ring. Then I’ll just shape reality to my liking.