A short introduction, it seems, is in order . . .
My name is Jason McElroy, hereto referred to as Super Agent Hell Yeah! (for lack of spontaneous wit required at my seaside sunset accidental induction to have chosen another).
I was on a, please excuse the cliche as it certainly applies, life-changing anthropological and explorative journey around our country on my motorcycle when I encountered Andrea. I was about six thousand miles and one month into my journey by that time and had truly become a new person from total immersion in thought and relative isolation that comes from travelling long distances by yourself. I was not in such a great state of mind that day as I started to wonder just the what the hell was I doing spending so much time away from home and really having no plans even to return. I was truly living day to day, with no schedule and no rational plans for a return date, or to get a job, or to address any of the other things that I had spent so much time considering in the previous weeks.
I decided some simplification, some informal meditation (I wouldn't know how to do it any other way), some acknowledgement of the beauty before me was in order. How the hell could I not feel right riding up the coast of Big Sur on a machine that I crafted, on a spectacular journey, meeting incredible people at every stop? It was getting close to dusk and I pulled off onto a little dirt area overlooking the ocean. I climbed up on a large rock and watched and listened and smelled and felt . . . anxiety washed away. I heard what surely sounded like psychedelic soundtrack music, an ethereal combination of rhythm and echo and chorus, coming from the water line. It was so perfectly synchronized with the imagery. Perhaps I was going insane? Maybe I was the sole guest at concert performed just for me? I sat and listened as the sun seemed just inches, and seconds, from sinking into the ocean. I realized suddenly that the sound I was so engaged in was coming from a little cove off to my right, down by the shore. I took a quick walk along the bluff until I saw the source of the sound. There, perched amongst rocks and jetties and beach, playing as children do on the last minutes of summer nights before they have to be home, was what seemed like a million sea otters or sea lions. They were all singing in unison, guided by some instinct or invisible-to-me reason. The barking sounds were so similar, yet slightly different, that it was impossible to discern echoes of one bark from the barks of others. How incredible!
As I turned to walk back to my comfortable rock to catch the last bit of sunset, I saw a woman sitting on another rock, watching and listening as I was. We sat in silence for some time, although I felt we shared company somehow.
After a while we got to talking and decided to watch the last bits (I know I've been promising, but this sunset, which at first seemed just seconds away, was lingering and meandering and holding on 'til the moon forced it from the sky) of sundown together.
She recited to me a long eloquently posed question (spontaneously?) inquiring whether I was on a mission or was just a random traveller. She asked if I was the type of person that had identified some purpose and lived true to that purpose. I had never had anyone ask me that before. Many of my actions and habits occur to me to be random and varying, yet later I realize that I really do have an approach, a guiding principle or style. In fact, one of the thought-themes of my journey was the identification of those traits in me that have transcended time and place and situation, truly comprising my core. So I thought for a moment and said "Hell Yeah!"
So, some of my mission objectives are:
1) I am an ambassador of goodwill and kind humanity. I want to spread love and respect and compassion and an explorative and inquisitive mindset through example. I don't believe in "society" as it commonly used, often as an excuse for lack of personal striving or adherence to personal ethics. I have never met a "society". I have met individuals. I believe groups and populations are only mathematical summarizations or averages of the actions of individuals. Make change by changing yourself.
2) I am a perpetuator of oral history. I love to meet people, hear their stories, debate their passions, share my own, and tell those tales down the road to new folks I meet on my journey. Watching the news, listening to the radio, and reading the newspaper would all have you believe that humankind is fucked irreversibly. I believe these media are just sowing fear as a control mechanism. People who rely solely on them are losing the ability and the propensity for engaging each other directly, to their great detriment. Whenever, and I mean almost universally, I meet and engage real people - regardless of appearance, ideology, religion, economic position - I find that they all want the same thing: They want human interaction, they have pride in their homes, in their friends, in their accomplishments, they want to be free to pursue their aims with as little interference as possible. They are kind and generous naturally, save for cases where something or someone has caused them pain and unnatural bitterness.
3) I am a contagion by example. I have delved into and considered so many aspects of my person, of life, of civil discourse, of social dynamics. I have determined my personal ethics and rules and try my best to live them. I frequently fail, and try to admit it freely to myself and others. I constantly re-evaluate and consider new information in my quest for understanding and quality. My interest in debate and exploration with others is in no way an effort to align them with any of my beliefs or morals, but rather, to get them to identify and explore their own if they haven't already done so.
There you have it.
jason - July, 2004