So, I’ll give you a quick update of stuff to come and then talk about what I really want to post about.
- Our Blog is 1 month old! Shit yeah!
- We’ve had a little over 500 views in one month and will hopefully gain more.
- Still need to post about the Oakland Zoo. I’m kind of expecting Megan to do that.
- Megan’s going to Australia and New Zealand.
- Went to the Museum of Comic History and got to see some really neat things (Usagi Yojimbo, Watchmen, Animation, Eisner, Herriman).
- Went to Santa Cruz today.
So, Santa Cruz is what I want to talk about. It was pretty fun going on the Giant Dipper which is a primarily wood roller coaster about 85 years old. Putting aside it being a giant tourist trap, it was neat as long as you could recognize the gimmicks.
The two parts that really bothered me in Santa Cruz, however, were: 1. Seeing Urbanization’s effect on a defenseless seal and 2. Seeing my first (allegedly) Iraq War Veteran homeless.
So, Megan and I decided to take a break from the boardwalk and go onto the beach because I hadn’t been on a nice, sandy, warm beach since my family trip to Maui 3.5 years ago; Puget Sound beaches really just don’t cut it for me. There was a nice area towards the end of a boardwalk where there was a little cove, a river running into the ocean, and a bit of an escape from the craziness going on at the boardwalk.
Megan and I soon saw a sign warning us to not bother the seals along with your typical no dogs aloud sign. We joked that a seal probably wouldn’t dare come up this close to the insane sounds and lights of the boardwalk. Moments later, we were proven wrong when I looked up the river and proclaimed “Look, a Seal” in my monotone voice. Being the curious individuals (humans) that we are, we wanted to get in for a closer look. However, we are both very respectful of nature and came only within about 20 ft. from the seal so it wouldn’t be bothered by us. We were briefly enjoying this moment of wildlife so close to civilization when Megan looked up and saw a man with his dog off the leash; she quickly prophesized “that dog’s going to go after that seal.” Sure enough, the dog ran after the seal passing a dead seagul along the way, and the dog snapped at the seal’s back flippers as it smoothly disappeared into the water. The owner clearly saw the seal minutes before the ordeal and his one attempt at stopping the unleashed dog consisted of loosely mumbling under his breath “stop.” Megan was incredibly angry, and I found myself rather embelished with an inconsistent sense of emotion as well but for different reasons.
These types of events happen probably weekly in this area and probably all over the world… so, I was angry more because that the seal was so used to it that it instinctually cleared its sandy spot on the beach before the dog got there. I was angry that here this seal was enjoying its time… in an area next to a half-assed amusement park, poorly managed beach with incosiderent people on their vacations, and buildings standing atop the mini cliff overlooking the river. The seal was making due with what it had, but it should have never been put into this situation in the first place. The seal’s trying to survive while the humans are merely trying to entertain, and that, in my opinion, grants the seal full entitlement to the area. We, as humans, are the ones who should be clearing the area for our fellow creatures rather than them having to put up with our habits (smoking, drinking, littering) and clear lack of respect for them.
That’s what angered me beyond anything… the underlying cause as to why a seal has to briskly escape a nuisance remains our distinct desire to conquer and urbanize.
While driving away from Santa Cruz to get on to 17N, I spotted a homeless man at a stoplight from a bit of a distance because he was a semi street down from us. He looked relatively young, probably in his 30s, with few posessions, and bearded. His sign read, “Please help, Iraq War Veteran.” Now, obviously, I can’t trust the sign because he could be lying… but that lack in faith is probably why Vietnam War Veterans are the largest number of people who are homeless because some cynical person might not believe their sign.
I didn’t consider the implications that he was lying at the time and he was too far away to give anything to. Honestly, I’ve never given anything to anyone who’s homeless. My parents have set an example of giving their leftover sandwiches to bums and my Mom and sister have occasionally worked at homeless shelters. Megan has also done some work at the shelter in Tacoma and we’re probably both going to volunteer next year if we have a car. I suppose I’m just a bit too disenchanted with homelessness because my Uncle’s been on-again off-again homeless. Nevertheless, it’s a big problem, and I feel we’re all obligated to do something even if it’s just giving someone who’s homeless someone to talk to.
I guess the big thing, for me, at seeing that man today was it possibly signifying a new era for my generation. Will we be defined as the “Iraq” generation like the “Vietnam” generation has been deemed? Will this man be the first of many people to scrape on our streets for a living after serving oversees? Has the American government righted its wrongs of Vietnam for the Iraqi/Afghanistan/Middle East Veterans/The Armed Services servicepeople? Sure, I don’t have full faith in the Armed services because they’d rather enlist convicts than able gay men and women, but I hope that they will continue to provide benefits for those who have served. I hope that the American people have recognized our mistake of cursing Vietnam Vets and will still support Iraq Vets even if its another war we don’t believe in.
Ultimately, I believe that a wars a war. War has its consequences, but one of them doesn’t have to be the lives on the homefront of the people who fight it. You don’t have to support the war to support the troops. Even if the troops themselves may have a sore spot here and there (Abu Gharib), it doesn’t reflect the whole.