Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Beach Boy Chronicles

Culture Clash


 

Life indeed can be like a box of chocolates – as in – you never know what you’re going to get. Every day is as different as the people you meet, but for the Marco Beach Boys and Girls some days contain episodes in taste so diverse that disaster on the horizon is the only foreseeable forecast and outcome.

Sailing excursions attract all lifestyles from all over the world, but on some occasions a small catamaran with a skipper and six passengers can precipitate into a world-class disaster and place a Marco Beach Boy in a situation he would never want to be in again.

Like the box of chocolates, when the passengers arrive for sailing, the Beach Boy or Girl that’s driving the boat has no idea who will be climbing aboard, or what you’re going to get. But after this sailboat ride began, there was such an obvious culture clash that a growing fear began that no one was going to enjoy what was coming next.

The first to climb aboard was a very fit and fastidiously groomed older gentleman with a Rolex watch, perfectly trimmed gray hair, designer sunglasses, and upscale and pressed resort wear. His beautiful middle-aged wife stepped aboard next dripping in diamonds and designer everything. Her hair was perfect and so was her makeup. This couple looked like they stepped out of a photo shoot for Gulfstream private jet aircraft.

Immediately after the jet-set older couple claimed their half of the seating, a young family of four quickly took their places and sat down facing the others. It was now too late. The culture clash was opened and the Beach Boy driving the boat had no idea how to rewrap this package and put it back in the box.

The young family of four were dressed entirely in black. Dad was wearing a sleeveless black leather vest and ripped up jeans just like his teenage son. Both father and son had multiple eyebrow, nose, and lip piercings that could not possibly be counted without staring and taking note, but it appeared as if the older jetsetters were trying to do just that.

Mom and teenage daughter were wearing black leather halter tops along with their ripped-up acid washed jeans, and all four of the Gothic crew were covered in the most extravagant tattoos imaginable. There were snakes slithering through the eye sockets of skulls, there were daggers, dragons, and demons in chains. The graphic expressions of the brightly colored body art spoke more than a casual glance could ever comprehend.

At this point, with both sides of the boat staring at each other like their opposites were creatures from outer space, the Beach Boy that was freaking out about what was likely to be the outcome of this culture clash started explaining about the placement of life jackets, and all the other safety information required by maritime law.

When the catamaran was under sail, and the Beach Boy that was driving reluctantly turned off the auxiliary motor, silence descended as the evaluation of opposites continued.

After a small eternity and the staring contest between the two sides of the boat seemed to settle into a stalemate, the Gothic dad stroked his goatee and began the introductions.

“I’m Roy,” a raspy voice offered, “and this here is my wife, Wilma.” Wilma smiled with brilliant white teeth that looked sharp.

Roy tilted his head toward the teenagers, “This here is my boy and my girl. Dale and Trigger.”

There was no indication of which teenager was Trigger, but the Gothic adolescents seemed to regard any intrusion into the focus on their cell phones as extremely unwelcome.

Roy spoke again. “We’re from the panhandle and drove down for the weekend. We own a tattoo parlor and do a good business. We do body piercings and the best tattoos in the state. We even started doing some hot iron branding. We got some real artists working in the parlor. We all work there.”

“How old are your children?” the question came from the lady jet setter on the opposite side of the boat.

“They’re both 16,” Roy leaned forward in his seat. “You can’t do piercings and tatts in Florida on kids under 16.”

“They are twins?” the older jet setter spoke for the first time.

“No,” Roy answered and then shifted gears. “What about you?” he said. “We run a tattoo parlor. What do you do for a living?”

The unwavering silence after the question was painful for the Beach Boy driving the boat. Sailing was too quiet for this group. There were too many pointed questions. What was going to happen? Would the older couple demand to return to the dock? Would they call child services? Would Roy lash out? Would his wife attack and bite?

After another moment, the older jet setter seemed to relent. “I own several restaurants in the greater Washington D.C. area,” he offered. “I have interest in two major banks, and I sit on the board of directors for three separate multinationals.”

“Wow!” Roy seemed shocked. “That sounds like it pays pretty good. Does it?”

“Yes, it does,” the gray head nodded, “It pays very well indeed.”

“Damn!” Roy grinned and he suddenly looked like one of the colorful skulls on his arm. “Maybe you could get me on where you work?”

This is the point where the Beach Boy driving the boat thought about jumping off. After all, the beach was not that far away – a couple of miles at the most. Swimming through sharks would be less stressful than this. With Roy’s last question remaining unanswered, the artwork around Wilma’s leather halter was rising and falling. She was smiling again but clearly agitated. Her teeth were looking very sharp. The eyes on the snakes on her arms seemed to be watching.

Before the older gentleman could formulate a reply to Roy’s job request, the glamorous wife that was the jet setter took control. “You have to understand,” she explained. “We have been blessed. We started with nothing. My husband was in the army. We paid for his education with the help of the army and because of years and years of education, we now have a blessed life. We both studied very hard.”

She then looked at the Gothic teenagers. “Kids,” she began, “Education is the key to everything. The more you know, the more power you will have over the decisions in your life. Yes,” she finalized, “education is the key to success.”

Silence once again descended as the kind woman’s words were digested. With thankfully no further comments, a pod of dolphins arrived and began swimming in front of the boat. In no time, everyone onboard was captivated by the Marco dolphins at play and the most stressful culture clash ever was cancelled.

Tom Williams is a Marco Islander. He is the author of two books: Lost and Found and Surrounded by Thunder—the Story of Darrell Loan and the Rocket Men. Both books are available on Kindle and Nook. 

 


 

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