Saturday, May 8, 2010

...this is the third post, but blogs are backwards.

After it fell apart with Sarah (my second wife- yes, I have fucked it up royally, or had a really good time, depending on how you look at it) I moved up the coast a bit to Carpenteria. It put me back in touch with the ocean and something that I felt that I had lost while being in Hollywood, something intangible. I saw the kids every weekend still. I usually picked them up on Saturday and then brought them home Sunday night. Truth is that I think that I chose Carp because it was an hour away and I couldn’t rationalize being any further from my girls. If I could have gotten further from LA I would have. I wanted to get as far as I could and in a way I succeeded. The little condo on the creek where I could hear the surf was a world away from Melrose. The drives to LA were the price I was willing to pay to stay in the girls lives and still stay sane.
It was rough at first. Kirra and Anise fought in the back seat. Sometimes it was sweltering hot. My car had no AC. They were tired. There had been a lot of drama because of the breakup and I wanted them to feel good about their Dad. I began to tell this story to them each week, making it up as I want along about a penguin named Haole. At first I began telling it to them whenever there was a dull moment or if they seemed tired, but after just a couple weeks they began asking for it and I had to start rationing it out. I would sometimes tell 45 minutes worth of the story on the way up from Pasadena to Carp and then another 45 minutes or so on the way back down with them on Sunday night constantly interrupting with questions asking all kinds of things. I started to do research so that I could tell them things like how the penguin’s feathers kept them warm. Here is how it started.
I think that I said, “This is the strange story of Haole, the most important and amazing penguin that has ever lived…
Think of the last time you were in the snow. Was it cold? Really cold? Did you feel like your nose was going to freeze? That is nothing compared to Antarctica. The Antarctic is the coldest place on earth. The coldest day in your home town is like a warm summer day in the Antarctic, down at the bottom of the world. So it seems insane, to say the least, that penguins, as a group, choose to spend their time pretty much evenly split between standing on the ice sheet in the freezing wind, and, of all things, swimming! Talk about cold! Talk about crazy! Birds like this must be prone to do wild and crazy things.
But, you see, that’s just it: they are not crazy at all. In fact, they are a little boring (not Haole, of course, but we’ll get to that in a bit). Penguins, like adult people, tend to concentrate on just one thing with a kind of dull single-mindedness. What is that one thing? Fish.

“Fish,” said Haole under his breath as he waddled his way back from the water just a few days before our story takes place. He was shaking his head and trying not to listen to the mindless penguin banter coming from the other penguins walking with him.
“What was that, Haole?” said the nearest older penguin, “did you say something about fish?” Haole winced. “No,” he said quickly, “I didn’t say anything.”
The older penguin acted as if he hadn’t heard him. “I was just telling Kami here about the silverfish today.”
“Hi, Haole.” Kami leaned his head around the older penguin and gave Haole a cheerful grin. “How’s fishing?”
“I was telling Kami,” continued the older penguin, “that there must have been a million silverfish out there today.”
“Two million,” corrected Kami with that same silly grin on his face.
“And mackerel,” added the older penguin.
“Mackerel are so delicious,” Kami was really trying to engage Haole in a conversation.
Haole winced again and slowed down to try and get the older penguin between them as he had been before.
The older penguin saw Haole’s expression as he did this. “Is there something wrong, Haole?” he asked.
Haole looked frustrated. “It’s just that all you ever talk about is fish,” Haole blurted out.
The older penguin cleared his throat as if he was going to argue with young Haole, but then he caught himself (after all, it was true). “And what’s wrong with that?” he asked.
“It’s just that it’s boring,” Haole offered.
“Boring?” They seemed shocked.
“It’s just that it’s the same thing every time. You chase the fish. You catch the fish. You eat the fish,” complained Haole.
Both of the other penguins stopped in their tracks. You see, just as people tend to get caught up and myopic about work and money, penguins do the same thing about fishing and fish. Boring, you say? Well, I agree with you. Haole agrees with you.
As soon as Haole had voiced his opinion both of the other penguins turned towards him and gave him an incredulous look of pity that was normally reserved for small penguins that had recently lost their mothers to killer whales.
“Haole, fish make the world go ‘round,” the older one stated in an emphatic, matter of fact voice.

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