Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday Morning in Santa Monica

At the end of May, Tim announced that he wanted to reinstate the rather short-lived tradition we started 10 years ago, when we spent several Sunday mornings at the beach, reading the newspaper and generally enjoying the scenery before the crowds descended.

I agreed. But despite my enthusiasm, Tim didn’t mention the beach again until this morning, the last day of my five-day “staycation” (i.e., stay-at-home vacation). I was just starting to wake up when he whispered in my ear.

“Let’s go to the beach!” It was 7:10AM.

“What does it look like outside?” I mumbled.

“Sunny. Do you want to take a shower or just go as is?” he asked, hopping out of bed.

I looked at my hair in the mirror. Not too bad. “I’ll shower when we get back.”

Tim fetched the beach chairs I bought for $5 at a summer close-out several years ago, while I threw a bottle of water and two books into the perpetually-packed picnic bag we lug to the stadium, Hollywood Bowl, and anywhere else that might have a sticky or dirty floor.

We pulled into the Santa Monica parking lot at 7:40AM. It now costs $7 to park at the beach, but it’s free if you get there before 8AM. Well, it’s not really free, but since there’s no parking attendant on duty before 8AM. . . You get the idea.

Although the lot was about a third full, very few people were actually on the beach. Instead, everyone was either riding or walking along the bike path or attempting to surf, even though the waves looked pretty flat. An older couple waved their metal-detectors over the sand, hoping, no doubt, to find precious items left behind by yesterday’s beach-goers.

We grabbed our stuff and started the long walk toward the water. It was sunny, but still not hot enough to fry the sand. We set-up our chairs on a shallow rise overlooking the ocean. I immediately started to read.

“Yikes! These chairs are horrible,” Tim complained.

“What do you want for $5?” I said, ignoring the annoying bar cutting across my back. “I’ll buy better chairs if we decide to come back next week.” I then returned to my book.

I’m currently on a dystopia reading jag, finishing up the third volume of an Arthurian post-apocalyptic trilogy for kids. The first two volumes were inspired, but the long-awaited third, not so much. I read the ending and quickly picked up the second book I brought, “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy. More post-nuclear holocaust. At the end of each page, I looked up at the ocean to reassure myself that we were not actually in the middle of a nuclear winter.

After about an hour, a European couple walked by and set-up their camp in front of us, but a little to the left, so we could still see the water. Then a surf instructor and his student arrived. More people started coming. We left at 9:30AM as a line of cars waited to pay the attendant.

From the beach, we drove up Main St. to the farmer’s market that’s held every Sunday in the Ocean Park section of Santa Monica. It was a mob scene, as usual.

Not as good as the Hollywood farmer’s market, which I’ve written about elsewhere, this one does have its charms and is quite the happenin’ spot for old hippies (we often see former state senator Tom Hayden there) as well as Santa Monica’s trendier hipsters. Johnnie, an old guy who I’m sure used to be homeless, now runs a booming dog-watching business on the sidewalk, while a man in an orange reflecting-jacket valet-parks shoppers’ bicycles. We scooted past the pony rides and the Neil Young sound-alike band and headed straight for our favorite fruit and vegetable stands.

“Don’t buy any fruit without tasting it first,” I warned Tim, as we by-passed the vendors that don’t offer free samples.

After loading up on peaches, nectarines and tomatoes, we made our way over to the hot food. Even though I wasn’t all that hungry, I can never resist the chicken taquitos at the Mexican food stand, and so ordered a lunch plate while Tim wolfed down a sausage dog. It wasn’t even 10AM yet, but the food and atmosphere were heavenly. Plus no one cared that we hadn't taken a shower.

For the first time all week, I felt like I was truly on vacation. Too bad it’s back to the grind tomorrow. . .

1 comment:

Ginny said...

Just another day in paradise.