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Zodiac Memories

rick monaco

Pull up the collar on my traveling coat
Sell that miserable pleasure boat
Johnny Cash, “I’m Leaving Now”

From what I’ve heard, the concept of a miserable pleasure boat isn’t as far-fetched as it may seem. It’s been said that the day a man buys his first boat is only surpassed in pleasure by the day he sells it. I wouldn’t know, having never been a boat owner. But I do relate to Johnny’s song, which has more to do with the act of leaving than it does nautical purchases.

The nice thing about leaving is the illusion that it goes a long way toward avoiding being left. It’s a decent illusion as illusions go, and is typically sustainable all the way up until one comes face to face with the Big Leave: getting away from oneself. Short of drastic measure, this is usually where the illusion ends.

Having grown up and lived most of my adult life in the San Francisco Bay Area, I was interested in seeing the David Fincher film “Zodiac” which follows the history of the serial killer’s reign, beginning in the late sixties. I thought it was quite a good film, particularly in its attention to detail for the time period. While watching, I found myself reflecting on an older, more distant San Francisco, and thinking “yeah .. that’s when the place was alright.” But of course this kind of thinking is a product of age and nostalgia, and I’ve heard similar sentiment from many of the people I’ve met in New York. While it’s a given that there have been substantial changes in the makeup of most large, metropolitan areas, I believe that many of the complaints people have about where they live can be traced to individual circumstances and relationships. (Although an argument could be made that even the most wonderful of lives is put to task in Cleveland or Boise.) As we age, a good general rule is to remember to pause before going into a rant on how much better things used to be, or are somewhere else. This same rule can also be applied to all boat transactions. (3/14/07)

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