On and in the sand, and I close my eyes to listen. Bits and pieces of conversation are carried on the coastal winds. Audible words sporadically cut through the murmured din of voices that generally indicate good company and times. Rubber balls being served and returned by paddles with a woody and rounded clack. Laughter, shouts, and the powerful roar of the ocean, whose ebbs end in a rolling splash.
I believe we are meant to know our oceans. Bob said "If you know your history, then you know where you're coming from." We are to protect and cherish it.
Now I'm sitting in a corner restaurant near a pier. Two adjacent walls are made up mostly by windows, and a boardwalk outside has bodies coming and going. A server stacks empty chairs, preparing to vacuum the lunch rush sand from the dining room carpet. A younger man in a pull-over with a popped collar tells an older man in a safari hat that his properties are "making a killing." Apparently several corporate campuses moved in, and real estate values are exploding. He said it made him look like a genius. I don't think he looks like a genius. He's too well-coiffed. I think about my career for a minute, but then I decide to watch people walk by outside through all of those windows instead.
A rolling longboard crew. Heels that don't make sense on a boardwalk. Some are in coats, some are shirtless. I'm guessing the locals left their clothes at home. It's funny that although our bodies are all essentially the same temperature, some people are very warm, and others are so cold.
Now I'm sitting in a window booth at a Thai restaurant after a meltdown and a nap. I'm a block from the ocean, and several dates are taking place. I have one with a fine set of spring rolls and some Pad Thai, and I know I won't be stood up.
A beautiful redhead sits with a very happy Indian fellow. Her foot bounces a precariously balanced sandal, and she emotes great inflection into nearly every word between laughs. They seem to be excited about each other, and it's very nice.
The booth in front of me is taken up by two younger guys, who comment on nearly every girl that passes by on the sidewalk outside. Their tastes in women are pretty broad. Had I never been a guy in my early 20s, I'd be able to judge.
Out on the street, $100,000 cars driven by $100 haircuts carry sun-kissed social media models to their night's fate. I imagine VIP rooms, beach overlooks, and lost jewelry. In my cynical mind, I wonder if they'll fall asleep in embrace during the foggy morning hours, or take their rest together in the same place, but apart. Their mouths agape like baby birds, and bodies strewn across beds with too much space. It's hard to say.
A little girl dragging a purple jacket walks by the window one way, then the other, then again, looking at me through the glass. I'm guessing she spent the day at the San Diego Zoo, but hasn't seen enough animals. I make a face, she makes a face.
A seemingly mismatched couple passes by in silence, and I stare at the neon Black Pearl Tattoo Shop sign across the street and wonder what I would have etched on my skin, and where. When I knew it was almost over, but we were still finding those quiet moments of closeness, I took time in moments to absorb her, tracing her tattoos with my finger and attempting to memorize their colors, patterns, and textures. I'd done the same capturing thing at the end of another relationship, and in the end, it has once again proven to be more painful than it is an asset. Luckily, I have a terrible memory.
Just now, a girl in a long skirt walked by gracefully. I picture her as an artist, or maybe art itself. I box my mental images of that one girl's birds, and take them out with me. The one time I don't leave the leftovers on the restaurant table when I leave. Of course, these will make it home.
The ocean is powerful, and it knows it, but when it crashes on the shore, it makes a foamy comforter that fizzles at your skin, gentle as a bubble bath. It goes on to stretch out over the sand, only displacing what is beneath your feet. Only giving its shells and other possessions to the beach. But farther out, where the waves are born, the true strength resides. Out there, one should be careful. Farther still from land, the water can envelop and keep you. We're gonna need a bigger boat.
I closed the night out sitting by the beach in the dark, playing guitar. I found some guitar work for a new song, and a homeless guy yelled at me for making noise by his camp. I said god made the beach and he just claimed it. Then I thought, what the fuck am I talking about? I don't even believe in god. I wandered down the beach and found a better spot.
Tomorrow, I'll start my way up the Pacific Coast Highway, with no plan in mind except to see my friends in Sacramento and Garden Valley.