Salon Dialogue / Mind Monologue: The Spill
Categories: living, nature

By: Michelina Docimo

Mention “The Spill” in any conversation and buried feelings of anger, shock, and despair erupt from the center of one’s being – gushing.  At least that’s what I thought because that’s what I felt.  It’s painful to see the devastation to the birds, fish, shores, and people – the people who relied on these waters for sustenance, their livelihoods lost.  Now, many of them are driven by a heroic force to rescue something, something greater than their own livelihood, but are so overwhelmed by the herculean task, they take their own lives.  A sense of hopelessness seeping into the minds of those who lived by the promise of these waters, like sacred words.  Imagine the severity.  It reminds me of 9/11 and how people trapped in the fires escaped by jumping into death.  Except this oil is drowning lives slowly.  And quickly.  Suicides, depression, anxiety, and silence – broken spirits.  Somber and sobering, how do we console each other and reconcile with ourselves (because we are all responsible)?  Could it be through humor?

Someone sent me a link to BP Spills Coffee (  I clicked, watched, and chuckled for a few and then became quiet, my face paralyzed with fear.  This is really happening, I thought.  I found the parody amusing and appalling at the same time.  Maybe I missed something.  Maybe I had missed some breaking news report that the well had been fixed and we could start laughing again.  I watched the video once and it was enough.  I wanted to know other people’s reactions and sent it to a few friends – some environmentalists and master gardeners.  I received an email back from someone I thought would have a witty comeback or something biting towards BP.  Rather it bit me – “Not funny.  This spill is serious and I’m offended that someone would have wasted their time conceiving this and making it.”  I apologized and we exchanged a few philosophical quips to make things right and finally I felt ok when he was back to his joking self.  He’s laughing again, I thought, everything will be fine.

I can’t walk by a river, beach, any body of water without thinking, it’s here too.  Inside.

A few days ago, at a new salon with a stylist I had met once before, I was ready for a new cut.  There was something profound about the stylist (I’ll call him D.R.).  We exchanged some familiar chatter – what had I been up to and what do I do and I asked for a glass of water.  I consolidated my answer and told him about the sustainability class and my blog.  I mentioned art and he says, “I’m an artist.  I work with my hands – whether it’s hair, painting or sculpture,” flipping his camera to show me some of his works.  ”That’s great,” I said, “maybe I can write about you.”

D.R.: Do you like to talk?

Me: No, not at all.  I want to look different.  Give me a good cut.

D.R.: That’s funny because you’re talking a lot now.  You have a great voice.

I sat quiet for a minute, then asked, “Will my hair go to the oil spill?”

D.R.: Yes, there’s a box in the back.  We’re collecting the hair and sending it off.

Me: You are? (I jumped ecstatically).  That’s great.  Don’t you feel sad about The Spill?

D.R.: Not really.

Me: What?!?!

D.R.: Well, it’s not affecting me.  I’m far from it.

Me: But animals and people are dying.  People that live on the water are becoming depressed and committing suicide.  There’s no value…

D.R.: They’ll take care of themselves – the animals.  The birds and fish will adapt.  We’re the ones putting an emotional value on this.

Me: No.  This is NOT a gradual change in evolution.  This is an invasion of their habitat.  Pollution has no boundaries.  The world is complex and you’re oversimplifying.  Did you feel sad when the terrorists attacked on 9/11?

D.R.: Honestly, no.  No doubt it was devastating.  But why torture yourself feeling sad over something you can’t control.  This is the cycle of life.

Silence.  I remember feeling sick for days (longer), even though I didn’t know anyone.  I just remember the images, the smoke, the collapse.  When we deny an inherent connection to nature, to each other, to community, we are denying ourselves, and disrespecting how the cycle of life works.

Me: So when you create art, don’t you try to empathize and respect the natural cycle of life?

D.R.: No.  I create what I feel.  (Snipping away strands of my hair.)

Me: But that’s wrong (oops that just came out not realizing I was telling him his work had no value and that that is not how art is created).

D.R.: Why is it wrong?  We’re all wrong then?

Me: You’re right.

D.R.: What are you doing this week-end?  (Safely changing the subject.)

Me: I have a wedding.  Will you still give me a good haircut?

D.R.: The best.

He turned the hair dryer on and I laughed.  He shut it off.

D.R.: Are you ok?

Me: Yeah.

He switched it on again and I laughed.  He shut it off again.

D.R.: Something funny?

Me: No.

Laughing is healing and cleansing.  And maybe he didn’t realize it, but his art, at least the cut, was exactly what I was feeling.

Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers.  And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.  Bill Cosby

Watch the video, click here: BP Spills Coffee

By: Michelina Docimo


4 Comments to “Salon Dialogue / Mind Monologue: The Spill”

  1. Archie Biley says:

    bp is dreadful! we should all not buy their gas!

  2. The Biter says:

    Well thought of, well done, simple and deep… Once again you manage to bring emotions to life and this a gift I am glad you are sharing.

    A few comments on the stylist’s point of view:
    - How many like us feel impotent to the Gulf man-made disaster? Not many, especially those that are far and away from the area: they are sympathetic but it is not their problem.
    - Most people blame BP, a lot blame the Government but very few blame the system, the monster that makes us want more, produce more, consume more and… waste more without considering that there is always a price to be paid also in terms of priceless environmental tresures valueless money cannot buy or replace.
    - The real culprit? Greed once again! The same greed that recently destabilized the financial markets and the global economy; the greed that makes people in foreign countries manufacture poisonous toys, medicines, food products, garments then sold here in the US and worldwide. Greed that is dictating the new business rules: do more (work) with less (resources=costs) to generate higher profits to the benefit of the few at the expense of the many by so doing killing the spirit, the hopes, the enthusiasm of the younger generations that already feel trapped in the “routine cage” where there is no time for oneself, true friendship, social life, just work long hours, get home stressed and tired, go to sleep until the alarm goes off to start another day just like the one before and the one before that… Am I pessimistic? No just realistic though still working for a better world.

  3. Irwin Gammel says:

    The impact of the gulf ouil spill will not be measured for years to come. It really breaks my heart to see the pictures of the animals in pain because of us and our greed.

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  4. mdocimo says:

    Hi Biter! I hear ya! There seems to be this bottomless pit within so many people. I appreciate you comment and for taking the time to share your thoughts.

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