Burnt Rubber


Perhaps it is a difference of time, perhaps it is one of space, but I feel when I was growing up in the 1980’s going to the beach on Key Biscayne the only thing my parents had to worry about me grabbing was a washed up jellyfish.

Taking my daughter in the present day to South Beach there are a whole list of concerns sitting on the sand I do not want her to touch, yet still find their way into her grasp. There are the cigarette butts, the empty bag of Swisher Sweets, the Doritos bag, and the beer can. Most disconcerting of all that had me washing her hands until the skin was peeling off was the opened, empty condom wrapper.

As I cursed the hedonism rampant in today’s world and more specifically my neighborhood, I used the wipies to clean off each of her fingers. She was crying as she was not used to me taking any part in improving her hygiene. Finally I got her back in her stroller and walked back disappointed in the world. Pushing her around town is the one time she allows me to reflect and meditate besides nap time and a memory came to me that was a reminder that maybe even back in my day things weren’t so clean and innocent.

I remembered a sunny morning when I was ten or eleven standing in the field waiting for school to start. There was a circle of kids I walked over and saw what had their attention.

A condom laying on the grass.

Through the fog of time I can’t remember if it was filled with bodily fluid or not, but I do remember half the kids were laughing and the other half were learning what that greasy object was and what it was used for. There were dares to grab it and I believe there was a search for a stick to pick it up and throw it at the girls.

The bell rang and an hour or two  later when we returned to the field for PE it was gone.


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