Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Morning Tide

One of my favorite lines from a movie is a one spoken by Tom Hank’s character, Chuck Noland, in “Castaway.” Any of you who saw that film might remember it. Noland, already years into his isolation, is on the beach and hears a noise. A large piece of plastic bangs against the rocks as it washes up on the beach. He checks it out and finds a piece of a ripped up Port-O-Let lying in the sand – and I remember Noland muttering the words “Bakersfield” as he read some stamped printing on the side of the plastic. Well, as the story goes, that piece of plastic becomes one of the major puzzle pieces leading to the big rescue. Noland puts together a timber raft using the plastic sheet as the sail.

Fast forward a bit. When Noland is back home working on his assimilation back into civilization, he's talking with his ex-fiance, played by Helen Hunt. And in talking about how he made it through what could only have been some of the most excruciatingly painful moments a person could ever experience, he said something along the lines of the following. I think this quote is word-for-word because when I heard the line, I remember running over to my laptop to peck out the words:
"...and that's when this feeling came over me like a warm blanket. I knew, somehow, that I had to stay alive. Somehow. I had to keep breathing. Even though there was no reason to hope … And I know what I have to do now. I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. And who knows what the tide could bring?..."
Well, I've never been stranded on a desert island. But I have my moments where … well … I can feel pretty down, doubting what I’m doing at any given moment. And this morning I was pretty much in the soup. I don’t know. Maybe the Mets losing eight out of nine had something to do with it. But I did what every person does when they get that way - I went to get a haircut. And almost as soon as I stepped into Plaza West (my new hair joint), my frown turned into a smile. (Snap) Just like that.

Enter: Frank. Forget about the fact that this gentleman gave me an A-1 haircut. (Michael, you’d be proud). It was the experience that proved to be the perfect salve. Frank and I talked about all kinds of things. Of course, at one point the conversation turned to our backgrounds, lives, etc..., which, of course, gave me a chance to tell him a bit about Eldercation. And then, within about fifteen seconds, Frank was creating a list of folks for possible interviews, even going so far as introducing me to people in the shop. And then, of course, there’s Frank, himself.

“You could interview me,” he laughed.

“I would lov…”

“No, No ….” He pushed his hands down, motioning that the idea was a silly one.

“What’s your age?” I asked.

“Over 70 but, I haven’t done mu….”

Okay. So I can not tell you how many people have fed me that same line; telling me how their lives aren’t all that interesting. But, if there's one thing I've learned over the years and on this trip, in particular, everyone .... I mean every single human being on the face of this good Earth - has a story to tell. And every one of those stories is interesting.

One thing is certain. I will be be heading back to Plaza West and not merely for a great haircut. I'll be heading back to talk baseball, American history and marinara sauce with Frank, (he’s Italian).

So, there you have it.

Look what the tide washed in this morning.


Becca said...

Looking forward to reading your book.

Hollis Baker said...

And Alice and I will second that notion also.


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