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Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
North County Times
January 16, 2001


Last week I caught myself doing something completely out of character. This was something I swore I would never do, as it is ethically offensive to everything I believe in, but there I was responding to peer pressure in the most hypocritical of ways.

I won't go so far as to say I enjoyed this little lapse, but it didn't kill me. I figured as long as I write about it I can justify the experience.

Picture if you will Bob, that's me, Mr. Rain on Everyone's Parade piloting a pleasure craft through Oceanside harbor. I kid you not. When my friend Tracy said we were going to the Harbor to play for an hour, I thought she meant we would spend the time walking around the tawdry little Cape Cod Village making fun of the tourists. Little did I know I was expected to behave like a tourist myself. Oh the indignity.

Tracy had family in from France, one of which was a six year old boy complete with a Cowboy hat just purchased from Disneyland the day before, and an excitement reserved only for 6 year old boys. At first I refused to take part in anything, that had to do with this man-made tourist trap, other than derision. I have my reputation as a world class curmudgeon to worry about. And frolicking around a dirty harbor in a pedal kayak is not my idea of a healthy good time.

Because my mood was as dark as the incoming storm, my friend would not take no for an answer. Yes ladies gentlemen we took kayaks out into the mouth of the Oceanside harbor as last week's big storm was moving in. It was a scene straight out of the Gilligan's Island theme song. I'm glad to say this little experience did not improve my mood, although I did receive a great lower body workout.

I will admit that I saw the Harbor from a completely new angle. Looking up from the small kayak, I found the crowded development around it's edges as oppressive as the porcelain walls of a toilet. And believe me that analogy comes easily to mind when you are bobbing along with discarded trash, and chemical spills of unknown origin.

What really disturbed me however was the new hotel being wrapped around the east end of the Harbor. Let's face it folks the harbor is ugly enough without piling on another layer of humanity. As my friends fed wonder bread to the seagulls, all I could do was feel sorry for both them and the seagulls. The pelicans, on the other hand, had an obvious disdain for the silly monkeys scrambling for a photo opt. I like pelicans.

Plans are underway to re-dredge the harbor, as it is once again filling up with sand. My advice to all involved is let nature take it's course. The money being spent on this fool's errand can be used to purchase open space on dry land. I believe North County would be the better for it.

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