Saturday, August 20, 2016

Flesh and Water: More Water Park Observations

Before we get too far away from our day at the water park, let me record some additional observations:

--I was amazed by what people tattooed on their bodies--so amazed that I wrote a whole post about it on my theology blog.  I saw Bible verses and other religious themes, like the man who had these words tattooed across his larger than usual stomach:  "Only God can judge me."  Was that about his body?  Just a reminder of whose judgment is important?

--Those of you who have seen me know that I am not a skinny woman.  But I was one of the thinner women at the water park on Thursday.  Not the thinnest, by any measure--there were still plenty of women who looked downright scrawny and teens who still had the benefit of youth on their side.  But the majority of park attendees were carrying at least 50 extra pounds on their bodies, and many of them carrying substantially more.

--I thought of the people in the wave pool.  We paid roughly $40 a ticket to be in a wave pool just a few miles away from the ocean, a free wave pool.

--Of course, most people weren't interested in the wave pool.  We were there for the thrills.

--Or were most people there hoping for a hook-up?  I noticed a few teenagers involved in deep kissing.  Granted, those lines could be long and boring--but there were children present.  Yes, I am officially old.  I was also profoundly uncomfortable being around so much exposed flesh.  Yes, I am officially very old.

--My very old self was pleased to be back in a land without cell phones--most people left them far away from all the water.  Did we all talk more?  Yes, I think we did.

--We spent the day surrounded by water, and I confess that at first I spent more time thinking about Physics than about water.  How could we be sure that we wouldn't get airborne and sail off the slide?  What actually happened in that vortex?  Could the raft really get that high?  How much did we all weigh and how should we space ourselves in the inner tube built for 4?

--Later in the day, I thought about all the water we sloshed through the park--how we moved it on our bodies, how it dripped off the rides only to evaporate, how it got cleaned and recycled.  I thought about third world citizens who would be amazed at this wealth of water, and I thought about how few of us really seemed to appreciate it.  I also thought about how thirsty I was as we trooped from slide to slide.  I didn't want to pay the hefty price for a park drink, and there were no water fountains for drinking.

Yesterday, we went to the beach, which was a much calmer scene:  fewer people, more space between us all, no lines.  I was also struck by the contrast between the natural beauty of the beach and the concrete wasteland of the water park--and as I write, I know it's too harsh.  At the beach, we were blown away by the ramshackle house of apartments that had been torn down to make room for a behemoth of a house.  At the water park, I was impressed by the technology that surrounded us, and there's a kind of beauty in that too.

The issue of sea level rise is never far from my mind--who would build such a house right next to the hungry ocean?  Will the water park make a great artificial reef when it becomes submerged?

I have no pithy way to end this post, no enduring insight, just lots of strands that may or may not be weaving themselves into something larger.

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