Following what was for me a restless night – contaminated by visions of Tuscsan bread fried in virgin olive oil with pecorino cheese, ham and eggs – the day began uncommonly early. It is Boxing Day and predictably it will be a busy day throughout the Island. The lights of the greens keeper’s tractor shone on the golf course before the sun had risen. If the internet can be trusted Publix and Island Car Wash will open no later than 8:00 am.
I should have known when I encountered repeated difficulty checking out at Publix that my credit card was under assault. At least four times I applied the Publix App to pay my grocery bill. Each time the payment was accepted by the App but subsequently rejected by the credit card. Initially Nate (the Bag Boy/All Purpose Clerk who was so kindly helping me) and I imagined the problem was with the Publix App. We should have known better! Although when I applied the credit card directly to the payment for the groceries the charge went through without a further hitch, what I have subsequently learned is that in the background the bank was getting nervous about fraud related to a charge I had attempted yesterday on Christmas Day with a company in Austin, Texas. When I spoke with the bank late this afternoon after repeated problems with the card (including obstruction of a Pay Pal transaction) the bank assistant told me a voice mail had been left yesterday. I never received the voice mail. Nor is there a record on my iPhone of the bank having called.
The confusion surrounding my personal financial matters reverberated in my journey about the Island for my constitutional bicycle ride, a resonance I recall being denominated “Pathetic Fallacy“.
The phrase pathetic fallacy is a literary term for the attribution of human emotion and conduct to things found in nature that are not human. It is a kind of personification that occurs in poetic descriptions, when, for example, clouds seem sullen, when leaves dance, or when rocks seem indifferent. The British cultural critic John Ruskin coined the term in Volume 3 of his work, Modern Painters (1856).
The bike paths were terribly busy. I narrowly missed hitting a young girl who, instead of watching where she was going, had her eyes instead glued to the nearby tennis court. Other casualties were avoided with troops of parents and children who were cycling too fast to navigate the sharp curves of the paths.
Against my instinct I ventured close to the beach at Coligny Beach Park. My hesitation arose from having recalled the high tide was at 01:27 PM (a detail which coincidentally I overheard a woman utter as she examined her smartphone). At the moment I proposed to transition into the watery beach it was not long after noon. But that was only part of the dilemma. The multitudes swarmed! It was a misstep as far as Omicron goes but I chose to rely upon the moderate westerly wind to have cleared the air. Nobody – including myself – was wearing a mask. When at last I trekked in my crippled fashion along the plastic “boardwalk” covering the sand and got onto the beach, the crowds were rampant. There were youngsters and would-be surfers in the Ocean up to varying depths, seemingly surviving what I recall to have been the freezing temps of the North Atlantic Ocean.
Because of the high tide the pathway along the shore was narrow; and naturally the feasibility of travel was not its best. It was however in retrospect a welcome acquaintance with the limits of travel on the beach even when the tide is at its highest. It is not a habit I intend to repeat unnecessarily because I can imagine that if the wind were stronger, the narrow path of travel would be even further pared down. An additional restriction was that, unlike normal conditions, there were people along the entire strip of 5 kms from Coligny Beach Park to Sea Pines Beach Club where I was headed to achieve my exit from the beach. My enthusiasm for the ride – ideally directly into the sun and with the purgatory wind against me – was diminished by my misunderstanding of the trouble with the bank regarding my credit card. When I was at Coligny Beach Park the retailer in Austin, Texas advised that the card wasn’t working. I emailed her back, advising that I was exhausted by the confusion and to cancel the order.
Happily hours later, after communication with the bank and the retailer, all is well. Whew! In spite of it all, everything unfolded by curious deviations to the desired result. I have parenthetically just digested my fried Tuscan bread grâce à mon amour! The Sacrament of Heaven!