I went down to the beach this afternoon. I find that just chilling there helps clear my mind and helps me focus on what’s important. The only thing more relaxing is maybe spending the day in front of a TV screen watching a cricket match – but you need to be wired a certain way to get that.
I now live just down the road from Salthill beach so it was a short walk to my destination. I had my iPod in pocket and sat on a bench, watching the waves crashing against the shore. I felt very self conscious though. I was alone, and as far as I could tell, I was the only black guy there today. I quickly started wishing that I had a pair of sun glasses to hide behind. The iPod was cool, but sunglasses would have helped make my vanishing act complete. Tucked away in my little cocoon of sound and light, or lack thereof!
A few months ago, I still had a company car. It was a beautiful Audi A4 and it has been my favourite cocoon of all. I felt truly safe and well hidden in it. So much so that on my days off work I would drive down to the beach whenever possible and just sit in the car. I’d try park somewhere where I could still see the waves, open my window, and enjoy the tranquillity.
What’s with all the hiding? It’s a fear of scrutiny I guess. I don’t even know if ‘fear’ is the right word. Let me try and put it another way. When I was young, my old man had two cars – a fancy one and a very simple one. More often than not, he drove around in the simple one on his days off work. He’d go on about wanting to be ‘inconspicuous.’ He just wanted to fit in and didn’t enjoy sticking out. Honestly, I thought he was just being silly. Now though, I can really relate. I miss being able to walk down the street and be totally unnoticed. No judgement, no rejection or approval for that matter, just there. I could just go about my business anonymously.
I can’t do that here. So I hide. I know that people can see me behind the shades, iPod, and even in the car (I miss that car). But that’s the best I can do. I can only pretend they can’t see me, just as they pretend they aren’t looking.