Several Palm Sundays ago I woke with an urge to see the ocean. It was a sunny day. The Hamptons were too far away for a day trip, however Rockaway Beach was close. When I told my roommate about the excursion, Vladmar laughed at me, "Rockaway Beach not ocean. It is song from Ramones."
"It's enough of the ocean for me." Sea gulls and waves and a greasy green sea. "You want to come?"
"For what? To see garbage float in water." Vladmar lit a cigarette and went out on the deck.
"See you later." I walked to the subway stop and caught the L train to Broadway Junction.
Less than an hour after leaving Graham Avenue the A train crossed the Broad Channel.
Several fishing boats were trawling at the bridge.
I got off at the next stop and strolled down a desolate street to the beach. A young man was flying a kite. Seagulls flirted with the string. The wind was from the west. The sea was cordoroyed with gentle swells.
I could feel the chill in the water and turned my face to the sun.
Sun, sea, wind, and earth.
The four elements.
The horizon was slabbed with low-lying fuel tankers. A single surfer rode the waves. A black object bobbed in the water. At first I thought it was a large piece of flotsam ie floating debris versus jetsam, something which has been jettisoned by a ship's crew.
The object dipped under a wave and then reappeared fifty feet away. This flotsam was moving fast and had a small fin. Too small to be a shark.
Thar she blows.
A whale in New York City.
I watched the cetacean for several minutes. No one else on the beach seemed to notice its passage. They were busy on their cellphone or texting SMS. I called Vladmar.
"I saw a whale."
"No way you see a whale."
"Yes, I swear I did."
Vladmar hung up on me and later several other friends said I must have been hallucinating about Moby Dick. I can't remember ever reading Melville tome, even though I can recall the first line.
"Call me Ishmail."
A whale on a flashback. I wasn't sure of what I had seen, but on Wednesday the NY Times confirmed that a humpback whale had been wandering the waters off the Verrazano Narrows. Vladmar apologized and asked, "You have picture?"
"No." The whale had been too far off shore and my camera is a cheap Cannon. "I only have it in my head."
And that's where it will stay.
Moby What the Fuck.