Saturday, June 28, 2008

Curse of the kiteboard

So, this yellow kiteboard has been an issue for over three years. I finally got rid of the thing, but with a terrible expense. So, kiteboard recap...

About three years ago, I was co-teaching a windsurf clinic somewhere on the cape, which ran simultaneously with a competition called freestyle frenzy. During my break, I went to one of the tents and bought a raffle ticket for a bunch of sweet windsurfing prizes, and won this bright yellow kiteboard. At the time, windsurfing and kiteboarding were polar opposites. You either did one or the other. So, it didn't make sense to give a kiteboard away at a windsurfing event. I tried selling this thing on ebay, iwindsurf, and ikiteboard, but because this was a board from a small company that no one had heard of, no one wanted it. I drove this kiteboard to New Hampshire at the only kiteboard shop in New England. It was on consignment for like 6 months, and one guy said he was gonna buy it and then didn't show up. Andrew, the shop owner, offered to ship it back to my house, because he no longer wanted it in his shop. So, this year, I decide to sell all of my windsurf gear to make room for the big move to Manhattan. Some of my gear sells, and the rest, including that damn kiteboard gets shipped to Community Boating. No one told me exactly what was being sent to Boston, so I didn't find out that the kiteboard ended up back in Boston, until I found out the trouble that the kiteboard had brought with it.

So Community Boating is a great place, but sometimes the kids that work there (including me, when I was working there)... just do stupid shit. We're talking tying one end of a rope to a tree on an island, and the other to a motorboat and throttling the engine to see if you can pull the tree out of the ground. We're talking throwing a top gun can (bathroom cleaner spray) to the ground and watching it explode near the gas lockers. We're talking going full speed down the river in the fog, standing at the bow, while remotely driving the boat with a broken tiller extension duct-taped to the suicide knob, while drunk. Stupid shit. So, I shouldn't have been surprised when the arrival of this kiteboard widened the eyes of the next generation of thrill-seeking sailing instructors. Three of them saw a brand new wakeboard, waiting to be pulled by the fastest motor boat in the fleet. And of course just being pulled was nothing, unless you had a wake made by another fast boat, which weaved in and out of the tow line. They would have been fired, except two other kids got in a fight with each other and got themselves fired earlier that week, and you can't fire 5 people in one week, so they're on some kind of probation. (Correct me if I'm wrong, I heard this from ten different people)

I decided to visit CBI, unaware of the trouble my donation has caused. Actually, unaware that the kiteboard had made it back at all, and discovered the truth when told "So, you're the one who gave us the wakeboard." Wakeboard? They didn't have to say any more. I already knew the drill. 8 years ago, I would have done the same thing.

What made me angry was that I felt like I was in trouble too. As if I should have known that this was gonna happen. So, I asked if I should take the kiteboard back. I really didn't want it. I left it behind.

--switch switch--

I was so excited that my essays were being published that I got overconfident and decided to submit my stuff to the Atlantic Monthly. Then I found out that there are 18,000 submissions for 15 spots in every issue. I'm still going to submit, but I'm also looking into other publications. I recently came upon www.hitotoki.com which has a publication based in New York, and the rules entail that your submission be under 500 words and about New York. The word count thing is a little annoying, but I have some material that applies, so I'm excited to submit. My next essay is not based in New York and well over 500 words, which poses a problem, but I'm happy with my options.

--what what--

I'm still trying to think positive and take on projects that benefit others, but I've run into a few snags, which may lead me to put a caveat on my altruism. I'm trying to help this one kid get a job, and he's not showing up to anything I set up for him. He's like I need to get a job, and I want one in Boston accessible by subway. So, I called up a few people who I know that work in retail, two responded back and said yeah just tell him to stop by. He seemed excited, and thanked me multiple times, maybe he didn't want to hurt my feelings, because he was too proud to work at the GAP, but he didn't show up and I haven't been able to reach him. So, I stopped putting in the effort. Why should I if he won't? I still want to help others, but only if they want to be helped.

Maybe this is the mark, where I'm starting to not understand these kids. The gap is just too wide now. I have already outgrown this street credit crap. I think they have too, but they play along with it, because others haven't. It's one big game of chicken, and it has Boston on a tight leash.

And this whole mind game has taken hold of my sister, an architecture grad student, a very smart kid. When she feels threatened in Boston, she snaps back, and people leave her alone. But a recent trip to New York had this aggressive kid wound up like a toy. With every shove on the street, rude look, shrug comment, bus door closing early, cab cutoff on a walk sign, led her to complete frustration, which ended in disaster at a Starbucks, when her giftcard was accidently deleted. A breakdown, a swing, a breakdown. Is this how Boston has taught us how to act?

Don't get me wrong, I miss my hometown and friendly people and the clean subway, but I've learned to not be threatened when a cab cuts me off several times in one stroll. There are a million battles here, and it's not worth it to pick even one.



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