Why I Hate Douglas Coupland

Photo by CBC
Photo by CBC
It was pointed out to me this morning that it’s been awhile since I wrote something inspirational, which is true. I have several reasons.

Last week I rescued a woman in her sixties, who was caught in a rip current alongside her adult son and his young daughter. My lifeguard partner brought in the other two. As we stood by the lookout tower getting statistical info for our records, the father’s eyes still glassy and confused at how quickly it all happened, I thought of the young father we didn’t save just two weeks prior. He drowned a kilometer further up the beach by the rocky point, too far for us to get to in time.

The areola on my left breast is white. It appears to be vitiligo (vit-el-eye-go), ‘a condition in which the pigment is lost from areas of the skin, causing whitish patches, often with no clear cause.’ Based on my clear medical history it seems that the cause in my case includes a combination of skin irritation (specifically too much sun), an over acidic diet (including wheat, which I normally avoid) and that old battle-axe, stress. I don’t want to have a condition.

Since three is the magic number and not 42 as suggested in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (another Douglas by the way), I’ll add one more. Four years ago in Toronto I met a fun, sharp, positive, energetic and beautiful Venezuelan girl whom I dated for three months before her visa expired and she reluctantly returned home. We kept in touch and recently decided to try again here in Costa Rica. Just minutes into the drive from the airport (I live four hours away), she remarked how much it reminded her of the country she was escaping. She’s in Miami now.

There is a common thread to these events. A driving factor that leads me to seek out and participate in these situations and one that advises how I reflect on them: my longing desire for intimacy.

In his 1991 book, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, Douglas Coupland wrote: “Starved for affection, terrified of abandonment, I began to wonder if sex was really just an excuse to look deeply into another human being’s eyes.”

Coupland had me pegged then and now and, as a representative of my generation, I resent him for it.