Flashing montage of spectral voices describing everything that is wrong with an air and water show. Flashy waste of military funds. Mass hypnosis with the machines of war acting like circus animals. Images of me cringing in my apartment everytime a jet screams by. Stereo knobs being turned up. Time lapse clouds and thunder storms. Me giving puppy dog looks out the window at the crappy weather like the boy trapped inside practicing the violin while his peers run wild in the streets.
Shot opens on a sunny day, my friend Charles and I bicycling slowly on the lakefront path.
Charles is new to biking, and I am repressing my usual speed to let him set a comfortable pace for himself. I had never taken the time to enjoy a leisurely ride. I get on my bike and zoom. I'm off. This was pleasant. It was a pretty day. The breeze was mild, the sun was out.
And so were the crowds. By the time we hit the contruction before North Avenue Beach, the memory of the scheduled events came back to me. Families wlking four abreast on the path, dragging coolers. Children erratically cutting in front of our bikes. Other cyclists and joggers miffed at the ruining of their pace.
So we slowed down, and crept through. This was fine. Serenity still in place. Occassionally, we slowed too much to maintain balance. We then set foor to ground and walked our bikes, taking advantage of any opportunity to begin peddling again. If man were meant to walk, God wouldn't have given us bicycles!
As we crawled through the loose masses congregating on North Avenue Beach, the loud speakers were proclaiming some marvel of water skiing occurring off the shore. When I could, I stole glances out to sea (lake?).
I have always wanted to water ski. Never have, and probably never will. Still, this sport fascinates me. I have no idea why. I picture myself hanging on for dear life, somewhere between the vintage sports commercials and a Go-Gos video. Only a lot less pretty.
As I steal glances eastward, simultaneously stopping and starting my bike to avoid crushing small children and scraping the heels of the more procreative members of our society, all I see out in the water is a couple of boats here and there. They are all far enough out to really be matchbox car size.
All you could see were small (perspective) boats zooming this way and that. If this was to be a water show as advertised, there wasn't much show going on. I could barely see anything going on. Silhouetted against the morning sun, the boats were small grey blobs moving about far enough off shore to be completely featureless. If there was a water skiing exhibition going on, the skiers either too far off to be recognizably independent of the boats and the horizon, or they were so bad as to not stay up long enough to exhibit any admirable water skiing prowess.
Tommy Bartlett's this was not. I remember as a kid being mesmerized by the water show at the Wisconsin Dells. The bleacher seats close enough to the shore to see the action. Skiiers flying off ramps and racing around the river on one foot.
Here, on the shores of Lake Michigan...nothing. Just droves of spectators spectating at nothing.
Surprisingly, Charles and I made it downtown in decent time, depsite the slow going. Strange, the day was still quite lovely.