September 20 1998, Sunday
n our continued search for a new place to live, Kim and I returned to Pacific Beach this morning. First we hit a breakfast place in PB with the nauseating name "The Broken Yolk," a place where Kim would like to work. There was a bit of a mix-up while we waited in the front part of the restaurant for a table to open up. While I was distracted by the newspaper, Kim was led off to our table. (I was reading about a proposed new border crossing to Tijuana.) I sat there on the waiting bench, amid the pressing Broken Yolk crowd, wondering what had become of Kim, periodically resuming my reading. I thought maybe she went to the bathroom, but she was taking far too long. Suddenly I feared she'd pulled an evil trick on me, abandoning me at a restaurant called, of all things, "the Broken Yolk." Just the sound of the name of this restaurant makes me want to puke. It's not "broken egg," it's "broken yolk." What a horrible picture it forms in my mind! Remember, I have a deep-seated aversion to eggs, even the discussion of eggs. The only thing that made the wait worthwhile was the stunning beauty of the hostess.
Eventually I went on a search in the restaurant and found Kim at an obscure little table. After we went through our initial pissed-off, "but I thought you were..." conversation, we straightened things out and ordered & ate our pancakes. Kim knew she was in no position to eat eggs at this point.
Channel 5 teevee was interviewing various people in the Broken Yolk while we were there. I told Kim about the time in the 70s when the Dolphins played the Redskins. My family lived on Dolphin Road in the DC suburbs at the time, and some bright reporter decided to interview people on Dolphin Road about the upcoming game. My Dad told 'em to get the hell out of his yard, or something memorable like that.
After checking out a variety of Pacific Beach places, most of which didn't allow dogs, we decided to look around in the community to the south, Ocean Beach. We started out at a large studio apartment overlooking the harbour at the base of Point Loma. But the manager, an especially friendly Hispanic man, obviously had in mind an older man with lots more money. He kept asking me and Kim about our finances. Then he handed me the application, which he evidently wanted me to fill out right then and there. I haven't felt so completely put on the spot in a long time. The form wanted the names, addresses and phone numbers of my bank, complete with estimated account balances. It felt like a rectal exam for which I didn't even know the answers. For some reason Kim thought I should apply for this apartment as though only I wanted it, so all the pressure was on me. I felt like I was strangling. I seriously considered jumping up and running away. Finally I just said I didn't have all the necessary answers and we left.
We walked around through the neighborhoods of northwest Ocean Beach, admiring the earthy cluttered look, the meth heads and the prematurely-aged beach bums sitting around in yards and small darkly-lit bars, talking and laughing their Sunday away. It seemed like a much more likeable place without any of the over-the-top Baywatch stylishness of Pacific Beach. Rents are lower too.
e returned to the cabana and poured over the classifieds for places to live and (for me) jobs. I figured out how to send faxes from Kim's computer and faxed my resumé in response to a few ads. Then I felt like the world owed me a break, so I worked on getting my used monitor to work acceptably. Yet again I'm learning that I have to beware when I buy electronic devices, that they usually aren't any more reliable when I buy them than when I get them for free from a dumpster. The problem I'm experiencing is the following: the monitor starts up in focus, quickly goes out of focus, and then gradually comes back into focus over the course of an hour and remains in focus from then on. Does anyone know what's causing this? I thought maybe there was a problem of excessive heat and even installed a fan, but that didn't help at all.
o look at another possible place to live, Kim and I returned yet again to Ocean Beach. This time we were considering moving in with a guy fresh out of college. But he lived in a sadly souless cookie-cutter apartment complex and was paying far too much for it. He did tell us about Dog Beach, which I'd seen on the map. All he knew about it was that it was a beach where you could take your dog. Unfortunately, we'd left Sophie behind this time.
Having gone through so much frustrating aggravation in searching for a place to live, we decided to take a brief vacation and hit the beach. I wanted to see what Dog Beach was all about, and since it was the closest part of Ocean Beach, that was where we went.
Dog Beach marks the mouth of the San Diego River channel. Normally no water flows through here into the ocean and there's a wide swath of sandy beach. Perhaps because this beach is always under threat of being inundated by a suddenly-energized San Diego River, it's been sacrificed to the dogs. Dogs, mostly big dogs, are everywhere here; they run free, chase frizbees, even body surf in the ocean. One of the Dog Beach rules is that owners are supposed to clean up when their dogs defecate, but judging from the amount of dried poop in the sand, that rule wasn't being draconically enforced.
round a wall of rocks to the south, Dog Beach ends and Ocean Beach begins in earnest. It's a scruffy beach, with plenty of pebbles, seashells and huge clumps of seaweed. The sun bathers themselves are less than the ideal set in Pacific Beach: plumper, less tanned, and less stylish.
The air blowing off the ocean was cool, so cool in fact that sweat shirts were comfortable. But people were out in the surf having a great time. So I decided to join them with my boogie board. Kim didn't have her swimming clothes, so she stayed back on the beach.
I found my way far out into the surf. Surprisingly, the water was warmer than any I could remember from my experience with the Pacific Ocean. I'd suffered continually from today's ordeal of constant searching for a new home, but being in the water made it suddenly all seem worthwhile. I was thinking, "It's all about the beach." Back in the East, I'd certainly never thought I'd think that.
The shallows extended far from the beach, though the surface was irregular, with all kinds of hills and valleys of current-driven sand. When I'd made it out to where the waves were really big, where they punished with their power, I rode one in a trajectory towards the shore to the southeast and, when the ride was over, was alarmed to find I was in a place where I could no longer touch the bottom with my feet. Since I cannot swim strongly, I was forced to rely on my board to keep me afloat until the bottom returned. Briefly I feared the possible presence of sharks. I would have been utterly helpless.
I sat with Kim for awhile on the sand, watching the surfers out in the water. They stood in a line several hundred feet from shore, looking out into the ocean, awaiting the waves. Regularly a large one would come through, and they'd all try to catch it, sliding up on it from behind, climbing up on their boards and trying to stay up as long as possible as the waves roared behind them, its complex (to me as yet unknown) dynamics somehow propelling them. Most of them were outfitted in rubber body suits, which help preserve body heat in cold water.
I returned to the water and joined the surfers in facing the waves. My equipment was completely inadequate for waves of this size, though I was enjoying them despite my inability to ride them. Each was like a momentary natural disaster, a sublime twitch of nature to be endured (in some cases) only by the bold. We surfers were a mixed group of old and young, male and female, complete strangers but all wonderfully united in our cause: to test ourselves here in the conveniently available savage elements.
im and I went up Ingraham Street to Pacific Beach to maybe check out yet another possible place to live, but at the last minute the current tenant bailed on us because he was stoned & drunk, and besides (we were informed) the place would definitely be too small for two people. We ended up eating a small fast food dinner at a Pacific Beach Jack in the Box, our third experience eating out today.
one year ago
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