A Day at the Beach & The Feeling of Being Run Over By a Truck

Yesterday was Saturday, and I had promised Ms. MiniD that after a full week of looking at colleges, we would spend the day at the beach.

Like Ms. MiniD, Mr. MiniD’s girlfriend is a So Cal girl. Not by birth, but by adoption, for she was born on the other side of the world. She and my daughter share the love of the sun and the sand and the crowds. My son and I prefer the quiet solitude of the chilly beach in San Francisco. The beaches in southern California are lined with plenty of human-made amusements. I rather like the feeling of just me and my ocean, and even though San Francisco is a huge metropolitan area, you can get the impression of rugged wilderness walking Ocean Beach.

Venice Beach is another story altogether. As soon as you turn the corner onto the promenade, it’s a continual assault on the senses. It’s a freaky beach, where some people paint themselves silver and gold and others openly panhandle donations for 4-20. Some guy held a cardboard cut out of Fabio from a second story window and yelled that Fabio was God. Just as I was going to video it, he disappeared. There’s a real “Shul on the Beach” and a broken down piano played by a broken down person. Every few steps you’ll find a band or a one man band and they’re all good. My daughter was mobbed by hip-hop artists selling CDs. They provided free listening opportunities, and she said all were good. I saw more psychics than I even supposed were in existence. That’s how it is in the nut house that is southern California.

We walked to the end of the madness and then around the bike/people path that has been made famous by so many movies. Somewhere, I think really far away, was the actual beach and the ocean, so we walked down. You couldn’t hear the ocean until you got a lot closer. Venice seems to drown out everything else. There weren’t many people actually ON the beach – most of humanity were on the promenade.

While my kids lay out on the sand, I took a walk. I’m not much for tanning, and I don’t go in anything but pool water. My thing is walking next to the water. The sand at Venice Beach is pretty perfect, though. There weren’t any sand dollars to collect, not much sea weed or glass washing up. Eventually, I walked up to the Santa Monica pier, which is quite a distance. Then I turned around and walked back. While I like the ocean anywhere it is, I love the beach in San Francisco better. It’s a completely different feeling. I like the wild feeling. I like the birds there, and the refuse that the ocean heaves up every day. I even like the homeless people sleeping in the dunes.

It feels more like home to me.

Last night, we returned to the hotel and I went right to sleep, a deliciously deep sleep where nothing could wake me.

Then today I woke up feeling I as though I had been run over by a truck.


9 Responses

  1. Hope you’re feeling better now. I prefer the Northern Cal beaches myself. They’re rocky, loud, and full of wildlife, but I love it.

  2. I so envy you right now. A beach, anywhere, would be nice.

  3. Venice Beach is a world unto its own. I would not ever be caught there, not even dead. But if you’re 17 and from out of state, I guess that’s where you go.

    I like to look at the water, the waves. I like to watch them coming in and going back out with their constancy. I love the sound of the ocean. I don’t like beaches where you can’t sit and watch the ocean or walk along the water, dancing with the foam coming on shore. So yeah, I don’t really like a lot of the southern California beaches. And the weekend is the wrong time to go to the beach in southern California.

    I’m sure the young’un loved it, though!

  4. 17 is the best time of life to hit a beach like that.

    I love a quieter, wilder beach myself – not too hot and sunny either.

  5. This is a relief. I was thinking that our tastes in beaches didn’t agree at all and was feeling a bit shy about mentioning it. And then I find they do. Woooie! I so love you!

  6. A place like Venice Beach is nice to visit, but I wouldn’t want to make it a habit.

  7. I’m in Florida right now, and took a walk on the beach late this afternoon. I love the smell, and the sound of the waves and the birds…bliss!

  8. I wonder why it is that a day off after several days or weeks of stress often results in that truck-run-over feeling.

    That must be why I just don’t ever take time off. I can’t afford the side effects.

  9. Or maybe you should take your whole life off? That’s what I’m thinking.

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