Tuesday, July 24, 2018

awash in pleasure

I had an Air Force friend from Minnesota who claimed Californians looked so young because they have no seasons. There is nothing like an extreme winter to harden the face and the arteries -- all enhanced with gobs of Lutheran binder.

If Jon's theory is correct, the people of my village should qualify as extras in the next Shangri-La remake. One warm tropical day lolls into the next.

But, that would be a wrong conclusion -- if only because we do have seasons here. We are so dependent on the kindness of strangers and tourists, our seasons come stamped with visitor labels.
Summer Vacation II opened last week with bumper-to-bumper traffic clogging our main highway. During most of the year, I can zip out on the road without even hesitating at the decorative stop sign. Not this week. I often have waited up to five minutes (along with my far-more-patient neighbors) to find a gap in the spawning mass.

Five weeks ago, the first summer vacation wave hit when the high schools and universities closed for summer vacation. The latest surge arose from the closure of the other schools.

All of the cars have come to a rest at the curb on our streets. And the occupants have come to rest on the beach, walking in the streets, thronging the taco tables, or buying the odd shell that could just as easily be picked up on the beach where, of course, people have come to rest -- just as I told you.

I am not certain "rest" is the correct word. In July, the Pacific Ocean does not live up to its Quaker name. Instead, it puts on its warrior face. As if Neptune had a lucha libre grudge match to settle.

The last two nights, while enjoying my hand-crafted salad at Papa Gallo's, the ocean put on quite a floor show. The waves have come rushing in so fast that tables, umbrellas, dogs, and beach enthusiasts have all been swept back and forth. Think of a tsunami -- but only if produced by Disney. This is not your granddaughter's Caribbean.

The local businesspeople who make a living off of the Mexicans drawn to the summer sea need to make their sales quickly, When August fades into September, the siren call of school will entice the tourists away from the beach. And a long visitor desert will set in. With the exception of the welcome weekend trade, merchants will be reduced to a subsistence existence.

Then, a new season will roll around in November when the geese start their flocking way south.

Like Hugh Conway in Lost Horizon, I sit here waiting for the waves of tourists and the Pacific to wash over me. And each wave passes unnoticed -- very much unlike a Minnesota winter.

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