An Eventful American Independence Night.

Yesterday night, July fourth, American Independence Day, around 8:30 pm, I was out of the Santa Cruz harbor in my humble and felicitously stable 26-foot boat. With me, an immigrant, were three immigrants and one of their offspring plus one college-educated Oakie. (Oakies who can’t find a job raising beagles and who are too lazy to trim trees will go to college, contrary to widespread opinion.) The immigrant offspring is only three and we were offshore trying to catch as many outlawed fireworks as we could for her. All the immigrants were legal but, for two of them, it had not always been so. I don’t know the third immigrant well enough to ask him.

We were meandering slowly when one of us spotted an overturned kayak in the distance. There were two people in the water trying in vain to get back on. I hurried there slowly, as in the books. My mostly inexperienced crew did a great, calm job of retrieving the kayakers and even their kayak. The Oakie did a stellar job although his proximate ancestors got no closer to the water than when noodling catfish. All the retrieved kayak gear seemed to me fairly new and expensive. One of the kayakers, a woman, obstinately tried to recover all her equipment from the cold water. To my experienced free diver’s eyes and ears, she was showing the first signs of delirious disorientation from cold exposure. Nevertheless, we got both of them aboard as well as most of their stuff.

The rescued kayakers smelled of beer, as you have already guessed. And it’s not that easy to smell of beer after you have been in the water for a while. They used foul language as soon as they were safely on my boat, in front of the three-year old: “Fucking this, fucking that!” Before that, while she was still in the cold water, the woman had yelled at me to “turn off you fucking motor.” (The fucking motor was in neutral, of course; the propeller was not turning. I have a foreign accent, not a low IQ, as I keep saying.) The man kayaker was about fiftiysh, the woman was in her forties.

Now, with seven adults aboard, I thought we were dangerously overloaded. As I we were motoring slowly, cautiously back to the harbor mouth, one of my crew called Vessel Assist which, incredibly, referred her to the Coast Guard in San Francisco, sixty miles away. From the Coast Guard, we got what I thought was a disappointing and irresponsible answer.  (This is a separate topic that I may address later.) When she overheard us, the lady redneck (ah, ah, good one, Jacques! Hi-five!) yelled out, “Fucking country; it can’t do anything right.”

At that point, this immigrant, an American patriot through and through, considered seriously pushing the rednecks and their kayak back into the ocean to fend for themselves in the dark. I wasn’t sure my boaters would agree so that, eventually we merely unloaded the rednecks, their kayak, and their pricey gear on a dock. Then I declined their invitation to attend their forthcoming wedding.

This is both an American story and a Santa Cruz story. In this town, rednecks kayak, and they may have left-wing views of their country; immigrants have boats, even those who originate in countries where few people have even seen a boat. And an organization that provides commercially a service to save boaters seems to be closed on the single night when there are the most boats out on the water.

Update:  I am told that Vessel Assist to which I subscribe, is not an emergency service but merely a towing service. Point well taken but the person on duty there did not direct us to the proper emergency service. The Coast Guard supplied the right number but then, brushed us off. When I remonstrated with her in vigorous but polite language, the Coast Guard person on duty hanged up one me. She called back a few minutes later to explain that she was dealing with several cases at once. I felt for her but this is is not re-assuring for this ordinary tax-payer. The Coast Guard has plenty of personnel to intercept cannabis importers but it leaves a single woman to deal with the nautical safety a large area on an extremely busy night.

Once upon a time, a time I remember, every boater loved the Coast Guard because it was squarely in the business of saving their lives. Not anymore, Nowadays, it’s also (also) heavily involved in harassment.

And, in case you are wondering, I don’t use cannabis. I would like to try if as a remedy for my various pains  but it’s too expensive, courtesy of our federal government.

There is a Part Two to this report on Independence Day, an alarming one, that I will write if I have time.

About jacquesdelacroix

I am a sociologist, a short-story writer, and a blogger (Facts Matter and Notes On Liberty) in Santa Cruz, California.
This entry was posted in Socio-Political Essays, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to An Eventful American Independence Night.

  1. Bruce says:

    I enjoyed reading this story about dependence on Independence Day. One of the first things about kayaking I was taught was how to right the kayak if you capsized, they must have skipped that part of the lesson. There is nothing that can prepare us for the lack of gratitude that some people show. I think it goes deeper than just being rude and crude. It’s like there’s a dependence mentality that has been combined with a culture of entitlement. It’s a terrible mix. They don’t just depend on you for things, they think you owe them. You’re not the Good Samaritan, at best you’re a just another service provider. Maybe I’m reading more into this than I should, but I strongly believe people who have been conditioned to think this way could give Obama four more years.
    Here’s a little something that might help explain what I mean:

    The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is actually proud of the fact it is distributing the greatest amount of free meals and food stamps ever.

    Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us to “Please Do Not Feed the Animals.” Their stated reason for the policy is because the animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves.

  2. Terry Amburgey says:

    Hi Bruce. What alternative do you propose for the recipients of food stamps and free meals [I assume you’re referring to those freeloading children in the national school lunch program]? Shall they go grazing with the herbivores in the national parks? Or do you subscribe to Jonathan Swift’s modest proposal?

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Hi, Terry. I am not Bruce, yet: It may be the case that food stamps are necessary. One would have to explain though why the federal government is rewarding formally those who make fresh proposals to increase food stamps use! It seems to me that first aid shouldn’t be deliberately made to be habit forming for a large segment of society. Do you disagree with this simple idea?

  3. Bruce says:

    It would be great if we could start the pendulum swinging back in the direction of individual responsibility. We used to rely on our families and friends to help out during rough times. Dependency was not a lifestyle encouraged by ever-expanding big government social welfare programs. I’m sure you would agree there is a lot more to raising children than feeding them. I am grateful to have had parents who loved and taught me values. I’m not saying one political party is entirely to blame either. There is a whole infrastructure built around dependency and it’s profitable. It’s not just welfare mothers either. There’s a guy in my office who says he’s a far right republican. He likes the part of Obamacare that says he can keep his kids insured on his policy until they’re 26. The otherwise republican farmers line have no problem cashing their government checks. I’m not trying to put the blame on a particular group, it’s a disease we all need to cure.
    I read “A Modest Proposal” in high school. I think they put it into practice in China due to government restrictions on the number of children you’re permitted to have. They don’t eat them though, just abort them after the sonogram shows it’s one of those lesser value female versions. In a similar vein, my Green Peace friends might like this one:
    “Save the whales…eat a Japanese baby!”

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Miraculously, the pendulum does swing back. It has in my lifetime in spite of our big corruptibility well illustrated by your friend’s wish to keep his huge “child” on his health insurance by the force of government.

  4. Pingback: An Eventful American Independence Night « Notes On Liberty

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