Saturday, May 19, 2007

If It's Wednesday,
It Must BeGarbage!
My interest in rituals includes urban behavior and regimentation. It all looks to me like the young people of most generations who express their desire to be independent by dressing exactly like all their peers. As adults, we fall into patterns of behavior like little soldier ants. The bugle sounds, and we wake up and get on the freeway to work.
The assigned day arrives, and we pay our taxes. The social convenes, and we say our proper lines (which, in turn, are determined by to whom we are speaking...but I digress). Some one dies, and we have words for that. We lose the game, and there are proper things to say so as to be gracious in defeat. There are rules, and we obey.
Starting late Tuesday evening and peaking early Wednesday, the parade of garbage cans happens. Every other week (rule #1) it is garbage only. Every other opposite week (rule #2) it is garbage and recyclables (most of which actually never get recycled....but I digress...again).
There is comfort in rituals. There is comfort (for some) in knowing what they are supposed to do and, then, doing it. The reward is acceptance into the army of drones (read: society). It keeps them in the comfort zone. They get to be 'part of' something. After all, without all this there would be chaos. People would drive on what ever side of the road that fancied them at the moment. Worst yet, people would put out trash on a week that is designated for garbage only.
On the water, on the other hand, ritual ensures that all the equipment is there. It engenders a safe environment. It makes each of our behaviors more predictable, and we become safer as a group. Ironically, this adherence to our rules results in the very freedom we enjoy out there. We can, in fact, "drive" on what ever side of the water we wish. Any way, we pick up our garbage every day.
(off to staff Paddle Fest. Back Monday)
Paddle safe...

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