Sunday, May 29, 2011

Life in the HC

We found ourselves at the Humboldt County Kinetic race today.  Found as in, went deliberately and then kept our children there despite tears and complaints of being cold.  This was the first I'd heard of the event and anything involving sculptures that have to be peddled and floated in a frigid ocean is a must see in my book.  I was especially eager after hearing that many of them sink almost immediately.  Not much better than costumed people bailing from a plaster, flower bedecked, twirling ball bike/boat.  A comedy of errors is great fun for the masses, it requires little other than watching 'sane' people flail through their trust in untested creation.

Not being from Humboldt I was amazed at the amount of people that came out for this and I have to say that one of the things I love about it here is the carefree, joy that escapes the majority.  Those making a statement, are a statement, the few who came to observe the spectacle, those who are the spectacle, the educated, the idiots and the massive amount of dogs.

Good times.

People pushing, getting wildly annoyed when touched, crowding beyond comfort zones, and me in there happily allowing my children to run through their legs.  Cries of 'I think it's going to sink' would cause a wave of people to grow and bend in the direction of the most recently launched spectacle.  We'd cram together to watch painted, spandex wearing 'originals' bale, then attempt to push their unmanned boat to the nearest dock.  Then we'd breathe a sigh and watch the next.   The MC would scold the crowd, mock the contestants and generally make a nuisance of themselves, but they had the microphone and as of yet a PhD does not seem to be required to wear thin the patience of the masses.

We finally found a grassy spot, near the lapping water, the wind whipping hard against our faces and the boats that survived softly floating past.  Avalyn had a moment in her element as she landed directly next to a very tired old dog who didn't seem to mind her constant pats and exclamations of 'cute doggy!!'.  Veterans of this event floated canoes, kayaks, crowded on ships to have a front row view.  A long haired woman in a boat lifted her wand and blew large, glistening bubbles over the crowd.  For a moment as wind broke, waves crested, people humming in shouts and conversation, boats bobbing, children running, hippies, yuppies, the old, the young milled in happy abandon to be.

 I was reminded of what brings America together.  That while we are divided between politics, religion, race, generation and belief for a moment we choose to be united in a common purpose.  Comedy merging life.

Before long we succumbed to the whining complaints of I'm freezing and can we go now?!?  We weaved through parents pushing strollers, pom pom twirling, the undead, men in orange jumpsuits, old women in woven hats, coffee drinking, dog leading, crowds milling together.

We landed at the line of 'ships' preparing to launch, next to a couple with two children and their dog.  All watching the crowd of people sing, chant, encourage, laugh and prepare to sink or swim.  Eventually my coffee ran out and as Avalyn enjoyed the last drops, Judah raced, Eric cursed and I blissfully captured the moment in my unskilled clicks of the camera.