Saturday, June 27, 2009

Floating along...




Back in the land of the busy consumers, trying to readjust. I am looking out at another cool and rainy "summer" day in Rhode Island. (Photo of cold spring runoff still running off over the dam in Maine last week.) When our plane landed three weeks ago it seemed like only the portion of me that had fully arrived was the part that had her passport stamped. Slowly, slowly, the rest of me is starting to show up. But all seems a bit tilted. Walking the familiar sands of Second Beach which I have known and loved for over 40 years even seems a bit off. The color green dominates the landscape but it is not the same luscious green my eyes are used to watching explode in the tropical heat. The sky is blue and the clouds are white but neither are as brilliantly so. The color of the sand is brown-ish, definitely not the white shelly sand of Conchal or even the browner shades of Tamarindo. These sands have been formed by a different breed of elements tumbled smooth and tiny by the Atlantic, which is of a colder hue itself and feels less friendly to my bare feet. The shells I scan as I walk along are jingle shells, scallops and moon snails, not the puca shells, olives or screw augers I have perused on my beach walks in the previous months of this year. (Photo of moon jelly in much warmer waters.)
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I got in my Japanese-made mini van and gave thanks to the God of Craigs List that we were unable to sell it last year before we left, try as we did. Backing out of my brother's paved driveway for the first time onto a smooth road I said to the kids, "It feels like we are floating!" I count my blessings every time I get in it and scan the back-up camera, glancing at the kids in my rear view mirror with their alien head sets, silently tuning in to a movie. I adjust the lumbar support in my leather seat and think I could happily live in its heated and air conditioned comfort forever. This one vehicle offers more comfort and features than our whole house in Costa Rica. Arigato Toyota.
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Pressing "agree", I searched through the radio options and re-programmed my favorites on my car computer where they conveniently reside under the GPS map. Recalling how a radio search in Costa Rica often led to not even one station stop, I bid a fond farewell to Radio Doce and all those blasts from my past - it's National Public Radio from here on out for my brain stimulation as I float along oblivious to even the price of gas. As happy as I am to hear the familiar voices of Tom Ashcroft and Terry Gross providing intellectual fodder, I did have to pause and wonder at the all-to familiar commercial heard hourly - what exactly is the Herman Miller Aeron chair they are still incessantly advertising anyway? So I looked it up.
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Apparently it is the best office chair. Ever. It comes in your choice of nine fancy names for black and 13 fabric styles. You can swivel in luxurious ergonomic comfort on its sturdy graphite base, having just spent hundreds more dollars on your office chair than the average Nicaraguan makes in one year. Fabulous. I am getting one. Maybe two. It is difficult, after all, to decide between carbon or hematite. The website claims the name is synonymous with social responsibility so perhaps I can use the free shipping option to send the extra one to some poor Nico struggling to sit under his zinc roof at the Managua dump, Casa Dolce Casa, in the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. I can even order it in Espanol. Who knew there was a website called Sit4Less where the fabulously low "right" price is only $649?
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I might get the foot rest with built-in massage balls while I am at it. All that lower back support will eliminate my need for stomach muscles, which are hard enough to come by at my age with my overtaxed uterus which has been fully inflated seven times. We all know how a balloon looks after you blow it up repeatedly... And those massage balls will conveniently replace my need to actually get out of my fancy chair and take a real walk, say barefoot - on a beach. I could probably hang a picture of seashells above my desk or a verdant tropical scene, sprinkle some sand between my toes, and really get my money's worth. I could sit all day in virtual peace with true comfort only one of 103 revolutions of "geometrical tilt tension based on natural human body linkages" away. Wow. Finally a real life use of geometry. I knew I should have paid closer attention in tenth grade.
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Anyway, for now I will enjoy the lower back support of my heated leather minivan seat instead. It may not have a lightweight and breathable Pellicle fabric back to it but it does have arm rests. And it cost me over 60 times as much as that designer chair anyway.
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K3
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P.S. Okay history buffs, pay attention. Here's a newsflash from here in the smallest state with the maybe soon-to-be-shortened longest name.
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How many of you know that the Ocean State was granted its charter by King Charles II in 1663 to become the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations? Or that the latter portion of this auspicious title bears reference to the large land holdings on the mainland across the water from this fair island on which I now sit and type? Or that this island upon which I write is the original "Rhode Island" referred to in said charter? It was named the Island of Rhodes upon discovery by the Italian explorer Verrazzano Island 500 years ago because it reminded him of its namesake island back home in the Mediterranean. Roger Williams saw fit to change it to the Island of Rodes, dropping the "h" in reference to the Greek word meaning "roses" which he must have found here in abundance as Rosa rugosa, beach rose, still thrives here and sweetens our salty air. This island is now commonly called Aquidneck Island to avoid the inevitable confusion folks from afar understandably have regarding whether or not our little state is an island.
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Well, it seems some people are offended by the reference to the word "plantations" in our State's title. They consider it a throwback to slavery. And while little Rhody was indeed a major player in the slave trade and efforts are currently underway to make reparations for the vast fortunes amassed on that historic front by families like the Browns and DeWolfs, the word in this instance is actually innocent of all such connotations. However, our venerable leaders have voted to put the State-formerly-known-as ballot measure before us citizens re said moniker for next year's election. They propose we agree to become quite simply, the State of Rhode Island. Period. And the originator of the legislation has stated, "It's got nothing to do with Barack Obama." As if. While I am all for simplification, I do think this is taking things a bit far. Our little State has been well served by our big name for hundreds of years. I see no need to change that.

3 comments:

  1. I'd love to hear how you and your family deal with "reverse" culture shock. Sueprmarkets are wonderful, paved roads, cars, air-conditioning, oh yes. However ... what I have trouble with is the consumerism and the infinite number of choices for everything and the sense of entitlement some people have. And other people saying, thinking they are poor.

    Your kids will be going back to school in the summer. It will be an adjustment for them, I assume!

    Enjoy the car, the roads, the supermarkets -- and write your book!

    Cheers,

    Miss Footloose
    www.lifeintheexpatlane.blogspot.com

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  3. It’s really amazing that spend vacation at destination like there is natural beauty & no modern facilities so much like cities have. It’s an amazing experience.

    Tulsa City Guide

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