30 July 2008

A Day at the Beach


I went to Ocean Beach in San Francisco today.

Make the ten minute walk from home to Rockridge BART. Only four minutes until the San Francisco train arrives (BART always makes me yearn for European rapid transit systems). Get off at Embarcadero and catch the N Judah to the end of the line. By the time we hit the avenues the sunny day is enveloped in gorgeous San Francisco fog. The temperature drop and I'm in heaven.

Quick dash across the great highway to the beach.

The ocean.

Waves pounding. Call the wife, she could hear the waves and wind clearly in the background. Ocean always makes me feel minuscule yet powerful. Why don't I live by the ocean?

Not many people about. Some joggers. Some surfers. Some fisherman. See a tiny Asian fellow reel in a tiny fish. People walking by each other always exchange hellos, nods, smiles or all three. I guess people are friendlier at the beach in deference to the ocean.

Lots of birds. Skittish gulls and menacing crows. I'm always worried they'll suddenly develop a taste for fresh human eyeball. I'm not positive but I believe I'd have these thoughts even if I'd never seen Hitchcock's Birds (1963).

The surf does not provide an ideal locale for skipping rocks. Lakes or slow moving rivers are best. After a few tries I get a stone to five or six skips.

I find the perfect shell. It's coming home with me.

Something bobbing in the waves a few hundred yards out. Seal or person? If it's a person I reckon he or she's in trouble. But what could I do? Turns out to be human, but this surfer is in no peril.

Stop to eat. Brought a lunch. The walking and sea air make me hungry. Or is it just that's lunch time?

See a crow picking at a fallen comrade. Cannibal.

Legs getting weary. Shouldn't have come for a walk on the beach the day after a heavy work out. Cross the highway again and stop at a place called Java Beach. Someone of another generation might call it charming. I have a coffee and muffin and read my book. A French au pair who's with her young charge is being hit on by a guy five-ten years too old for her. She's devastatingly beautiful and combined with the accent I can see why the young man would waive the age difference.

I head back home the same way I came. Plop down at the computer. i surf the web. Only surfing I do all day.

Nobody told me explicitly too, but I "had a nice day."

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