Friday, January 8, 2016

7658. BELOW THE WATER LINE (pt. 125)

(pt. 125)
The other memorable trek has to do with a 
different bunch of kids entirely. Boy Scout
friends, which were never very much nor
near as meaningful. Troop 73, the 'Catholic'
pact from the Catholic church. Unlike Troop
42, over at the Presbyterian church  -  which
troop was seasoned, rough and tumble, bold
and powerful, we were tenderfoots, (using a
Boy Scout lingo), just getting started and 
under the tutelage of wimps, so to speak. The
St. Andrew's troop was a squad of misfits
anyway  -  none of us quite knew what we were 
doing there, but only knew that we were in this
Troop 73 thing because of its ideological
connection to Papist goals. Our parents had
not let us cross the divide to Protestantism,
even for recreation or a form of wilderness
training. It was all so foolish. Years later, as
I learned about the Irish troubles and all
those internecine wars and killings and the
skirmishing between the IRA and the Loyalists
and Irish Nationalists and all that  -  bombings,
shoot-outs, killings and military actions  -  I'd
almost chuckle to see the intensity of idiots
split by religious quarrels and supposed
separations and differences. Even today, of 
course, the same stupid blood flows through the
same idiot brains of Islamists and other, fighting,
killing, and maiming over quarrels over whether
their 'Prophet' was left-handed or right. It's the
new equivalent of holy ignorance. Like killing
for peace, like any war, like all. It's definitely a
parent thing  -  for it had nothing to do with us.
But  - we had to go along. The Protestant church
troop would master camping trips, erect grand
bonfires, play with knives and hang with ropes
and knots. They ate bark if they had to. We did
nothing of the sort. In fact, we had to pray! Open a
meeting with a prayer, and probably close it too.
The open orbit of reality had been closed and
pinched in until it only revolved, small and useless,
around a few guiding principles and nothing more.
Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous...
all that Boy Scout Code crap. Help an old lady
cross the street? Like the boys in Troop Forty Two,
I'd have rather thrown her to see and measure how 
she bounced. That was scouting. Ours wasn't.
As I said, this second memorable trek involved Boy
Scout friends. I had somehow gotten this small coterie
of kids around me who looked to me for start-up, things
to do, ways to do them. I can't really remember names
 and stuff. Let's say there were 7 kids and me. Hugelmeyer,
Larry Walker, whoever they were. There was another
'Inman Avenue,' after ours  -  which was the new-cut
extension, sort of, of this other Inamn Avenue that
ran down from the Plainfield area to intersect at St.
George Ave./Rt. 35, and cross over into Leesville 
and the junkyards, where it basically had ended in the
wooded swamps  -  until, that is, our houses had been
built on the other side of Route One and the name, 
somehow and I guess with a reason, had been taken 
up again. So we were Inman Avenue, Avenel, but in
point of fact we bore some thin connection to Inman
Avenue, Colonia  -  even if only on maps. I had an
aunt who lived way up towards the other end of Inman
(the aunt and uncle I'd written of earlier, with all the
war memorabilia and Jap guns and knives on the wall),
and I decided that my friends and I would take a 'hike'
there. A sort of suburban quest, for nothingness, or
somesuch. We gathered some walking supplies, and on
an early hour of a Saturday, we lit out. The arrangement 
was that my aunt would feed us, approximating maybe
1pm for arrival  -  sandwiches and soda and all that. Then
we had to walk back. It all worked out  -  we made the
trek, perhaps 7 miles, and back, had our lunch, looked at
all the guns and junk on the walls (the Boy Scout 
connection I needed  -  even if it didn't actually 'fit' the
supposed Troop 73 character, which would have been
filed under 'W' for weak). But anyway, we walked and
had fun, cavorted and jammed around. At the corner
of St. George Ave., and Inman, in those days (it's all
now a big jumble of gas station and snack store) there
was a place called Sun Motors  - a really cool used-car
lot that had plenty of neat models. Whenever we caught 
the light there, in my father's car when going to or leaving 
from my aunt's house, I'd spend the time just gazing at
all the cars on the lot. There were clean, mid 1950's used
vehicles, with occasional surprises among them  -  things like
a Sunbeam Alpine, or a Citroen or Renault. A Metropolitan
or such sort of really different vehicle. We spent then,
along this hike, a good bunch of time inspecting cars and
just checking everything out at this car lot before we crossed
over into the last-end section of Rahway and then up through
the junkyards and beneath the highway and back to home. It
was pretty grand stuff.
In those days, in my mind, that Colonia section of Inman Ave.,
unlike the new section we lived on, was by contrast a 'grand
boulevard'. A Champs Elysee of large trees, (gone now), more
stately homes with legacy and tradition, nice set-backs, none
of the bland uniformity of the box-cutter street I lived on. It
did seem to go one forever -  a long walk, but we made it. In
an awesome influence of majesty and exploration, at ground
level to us kids, it was grand. We talked and we gestured,
looking at driveways and garages and windows  -  all the 
things we really just didn't have in our row of undecorated, 
construction crew, tract homes. There was a Boy Scout 
moment there to be sure. The next step after Boy Scouts
is the 'Explorer' level  - a sort of Boy Scouts for really
precise, almost anal, kids in their late teens. Why anyone 
would want to be that or go there in their late teens was
beyond me, but that was it nonetheless. It involved
initiative and self-thinking, following rules and coming
up with ideas to work out  - and of course all the other
Boy Scout junk -  which was all just probably a cover
for the gay-crap the Baden-Powell, the guy who started
the 'Boy' Scouts (yeah,we know what that means) wanted:
wilderness boys, camping, all alone in a distant forest, kept
dim and settled around the campfire by adult-male guides.
I mean, is it clear? Do I need to spell this out more for you?
The inherent vice of Boy Scouting was the latent tinge of
homosexuality that went with it. Back then, the world
pretended. Now the world knows  - and the funniest and
most paradoxical thing is how the Scouting movement now
fights off the obvious  -  by banning gay leaders and gay 
scouts. Why? Because that takes the lid off the secret 
boiling of the most secret kettle. Please don't let anyone 
fool you  -  or you'll get knots in your head.
We made it home alright. Everyone had a grand old time.
We talked about it for a day or so....and then it was all and
forever forgotten. I wonder if kids still do that stuff? Does
anyone now cut a limb and carve their own walking stick?

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