And the road goes on forever...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Meaning of Privilege (My Envy is Showing)

It annoys me when I take my walks along the harbor quay and don’t take my camera because those are always the days I find something interesting to shoot. Today was such a day. These photos are only filler; not the real thing as it happened.

It had been raining all morning when suddenly the sun appeared so I figured I’d better hurry so I could complete my walk without getting soaked. As I neared the end of the quay by the fuel dock there were two stunning beauties, pleasure craft, fueling up. “Kodiak”, home port Coos Bay and “Gaelforce”, home port Salem, each had to be over 45 feet in length; in fact I’m sure Kodiak pushed 60 feet and was easily at least a couple million dollar yacht. Each appeared to have about five men or so aboard, buzzing about making ready to shove off. After fueling they did a slow spin to gain the right direction and slowly motored out of the harbor. I continued walking, doing the turn-around in time to keep them in full view as they crossed the bay, obviously headed out.

Their speed continued to be so slow across the bay towards the bar as to nearly be meandering; showing off for all the world their glory; screaming “wealth, power, privilege”…and perhaps most of all, “freedom”.

I couldn’t let go of the feeling of wanting to be aboard, so once I could no longer see them due to the jutting headlands, I finished my walk and took off on the dirt road that leads to the top of the hill where the coast guard lookout station overlooks the jetty, bar area and open ocean. The gloating white phantoms were still moving slowly, making the right turn for a northerly heading. I sat in the car watching, fascinated, and thinking “Are they just headed out fishing? Are they headed up to Newport to indulge in some local brew at the Embarcadero and see the Oregon Coast Aquarium? Perhaps the San Juan Islands for some island hopping and hobnobbing with the wealthiest of the wealthy at Roche Harbor Resort. Maybe, just maybe, they were undergoing a more momentous voyage—north to Alaska. These boats looked capable of just about anything.

I’ll never know. I watched until they were mere white specks; until the white of the boats melded into the white of the distant swells and they were still on their way and I was left alone, a mere observer for a moment in time, into the fairytale life of privilege.