The owls are not what they seem

When I was in college I watched Twin Peaksfor the first time. The pilot episode was loaned to me by my David Lynch godfather (i.e. the person who took personal responsibility for making me watch as much Lynch as possible, which in retrospect sounds faintly threatening, but wasn’t), and I watched the entire first season with my friend Kate in a short period of time. Then she left town, I think. Anyway.

After the first season I was good and well addicted, to the point that I felt it necessary to go ahead and watch the second season by myself. I had some trouble tracking it down, but eventually located the DVDs at Scarecrow Video in Seattle. This is the type of video store that makes you put down a $300 deposit on anything you take out, because so much of their stuff is rare and expensive. I was happy to oblige.

I think that I started out moderate with this, watching a few episodes with my dad and brother. But we quickly realized that one-a-days or two-a-days was not going to cut it, because the rental was only three days long (or so. I’m estimating). So I proceeded to do the only logical thing: I stayed up all night – all night – watching Season 2 of Twin Peaks.

If you’ve never seen the show, this might not mean much to you. Sure, it sounds a bit compulsive, but you haven’t any idea the psychological condition it inflicts. Season 1 is fun and strange and that’s where you fall in love with Agent Cooper. Season 2 is where everything falls apart and you lose your grasp on reality. Season 1 is slick haircuts and prophetic dreams. Season 2 is a very bad date with peyote.

So it’s 6am, and I have punished my brain in this way all night long. It is thrilling, and now it is over. But what to do? I’m exhausted, bleary-eyed, my head is full of milk, but I can’t quite go to sleep. For one thing I would mess up my circadian rhythm in a way that might take weeks to make right, and for another thing I would probably be stepping into an epic nightmare. Not very appealing. Instead, as I often had done in high school whether it was late at night or in the bright light of day, I decided to watch to the beach.

This walk takes about an hour from my house, down a series of very long hills. To get to the actual beach you have to descend several tall flights of wooden stairs, through a patch of blackberries the size of Rhode Island. I picked blackberries and ate them for breakfast. No one else was around.

On the beach there was the most remarkable low tide. I lived near this particular beach for my entire childhood, age 0 – 18, and I’d never seen the water at quite this level. For ages and ages it stayed at just-below-knee level and was perfectly clear, not clouded by kelp or driftwood or sea scum. And there were crabs. So remarkably many crabs, enormous crabs, the size of small dogs. Long-legged crabs, squat scuttling crabs. They looked like sea spiders, but not scary, not threatening. I went swimming in my clothes, and then I walked back home up all those hills, barefoot, shoes in hand.

Because I can’t eat seafood anymore (possible allergy; it’s own long story), this is what I always think about when I think about crustaceans.