My one day in Ocean Beach


Most of my day was defined by this photograph

Saturday, April 7

After sleeping late this morning, a rare occurrence lately for me, I finally got up, put on my game face, pulled on some jeans and a hoodie, and joined my partner. We walked up the street to the Old Townhouse restaurant for breakfast. We had been there once before on a previous trip and found it cheap and good, a fortunate combination when one is traveling!

We got a booth right up front and I enjoyed watching the morning street scene unfold outside the big window across the aisle. When we arrived, there were a lot of open parking spots on the street, another rare occurrence, especially in this town. Soon, however, the spaces filled in as people woke up and came out. A black Mercedes pulled in and I noted his plate, “IAMCYBORG.” The driver probably is some computer genius who makes a lot of money. He’d have to in order to live in California, even here.

Hair salon across the street from the breakfast restaurant

I also noticed how loud it was in the restaurant, due in large part to a group of five guys sitting diagonal to us. Why does everyone have to be so loud?? A bunch of women behind us was ridiculously loud as well, but the men had them beat this time. Everything was ‘Blah blah blah HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!” at an ear-splitting volume. At least they weren’t saying the “f word” every five seconds as large groups of men usually do, but they were just as obnoxious. After they finally left I commented to the waitress that they better have left her a $100 tip for having to deal with them. If I were her, I wouldn’t have liked being called “sweetheart” by a group of low-class, annoying men who were obviously on some kind of uppers, or maybe just too much caffeine. I watched them as they continued to crow outside, and wondered why it’s always the old fat guy who takes off his shirt????

After we left Old Townhouse, we went to Starbucks. Now, you might think this behavior parallels bar-hopping, going from coffee place to coffee place, but the reason was to hook into the free Wi-Fi offered kindly by Starbucks. I bought another cup of coffee there because I really did want one, but I had brought my laptop so I could post to my blog. I connected easily, unlike at the hotel, and spent about an hour finishing up yesterday’s post and uploading a photo. Outside the window, I saw some young musicians setting up across the street, the girl was a violinist and the guy I think was playing a banjo, although I couldn’t see him clearly as his back was toward me. They moved a couple of times, and then he came in to get his phone, which was plugged in behind me at the same outlet I was using. I wanted to go out and listen to them, but by the time we finished, they were nowhere to be found.

We walked along the sidewalk back to the hotel to drop off some things, then went to the beach. I was amazed at how many people seemed to be drifters, obviously sleeping rough, some older people who were disabled, and some young people who were out to experience life. The hopeful faces of the young people seemed trained on some distant goal, or maybe a distant dream. It tore at my heart, wondering what their lives were like, and what they would or could be like if their dreams became real. I suppose because I work with kids that I am interested in the young adults that I see, what life events brought them here to live on the beach, be transient, live an uncertain existence that depends on the few dollars and coins thrown their way by passers-by.

Everyone was enjoying the perfect day at the beach

My day, however, was wonderful as I sat on the beach for three hours. I watched the surfers, listened to the waves and the cries of the seagulls, dug my bare feet in the sand, and put on layer after layer of sunscreen. I already know from experience what happens to the tops of my feet if I forget to put sunscreen there! Fortunately, no sunburn today, and happily, my hair seemed to lighten a shade or two. I watched a young woman play with a hula hoop, only she was really good, as if she had done it as part of some entertainment act. She shimmied and spun, all the while keeping the hoop in complete control. Everyone around her was mesmerized by her movements, and she was just doing them un-self-consciously as she watched her young son. The father of the boy showed up later and he was a real character. His hair was fixed into a spiky Mohawk about 8 inches high! I wondered what kind of job he had that would allow him to be able to have that appearance! I can’t even wear jeans to my job without a complaint, much less have purple hair like I want to. sigh  More evidence of my “mis-fittedness.”

I thought idly, I want to be that surfer for a day, I want to be that young boy with the guitar on his back, wearing a leather jacket, not knowing where I will sleep tonight. I want to be that musician busking on the street corner, watching the faces of the tourists, some sympathetic, some appreciative, some contemptuous, as they pass. Just for a day, not forever, but enough to feel their emotions and lives as they do.

Eventually, I had to move my temporarily lazy self, and then we walked slowly down the beach to a stone jetty. We saw kids, adults, dogs, and birds playing in the water and sand. It was a perfect day, the sun was shining and it was not too hot, not too cool, and the beach was alive with people enjoying the day.

Kelp spaghetti

Three bird buddies enjoying the surf and sand

Retreating water leaves a million lights glittering in its wake

Later, I went shopping. It was one of the main purposes of this trip to go to The Closet, a store with cheap tank tops, t-shirts, and other fashion trinkets. I got some tank tops there on the last trip to Ocean Beach at least a year and a half ago, and since then have wanted to come back and get more. I found many treasures in that store, only a few of which I actually bought. My riding partner and I laughed because it was obvious who their clientele was: skinny young girls who could fit between the closely-packed racks of clothing! Well, I fit between them too, but found many things that were not age-appropriate for me. I enjoyed looking at the fun clothing anyway.

I loved this display in another store

We walked up and down the main street, checking out all the shops, enjoying a laid-back Saturday among the joyful beach goers and tourists. At the end of the afternoon, we walked out on Ocean Beach pier to shoot photos of the surfers, the waves crashing into the rocks, the seagulls, the fishermen, the distant lights coming on as twilight deepened.

Pigeons on pier

Endless rolling surf

I wore some of my new clothes to dinner. We went to Shades, downstairs from the restaurant we’d gone to last night. We’d never been there, and it turned out to be a great find! We had an excellent meal for a reasonable price, and we both felt satisfied when we were done. We will definitely go back the next time we are here.

Sunset shot. I never get tired of watching the sun sink into the Pacific Ocean.

After dinner, we made our way up the street once again, squeezing through the crowd of Saturday night revelers. The bars spilled over, and there was a long line at Hodad’s, a place with a reputation for great hamburgers. I am not much of a beef eater so it doesn’t appeal to me, but it seems to be very popular judging by the amount of people always lined up in front of it.

Street lights on as a day in Ocean Beach draws to a close

Where did our day go? I soon asked myself. I knew today would be fast, but it is incredible how it flew by. Now I have to get myself organized and halfway packed for the morning when I will load up the bike once again and head home. It’s never enough time for me when I am on the road, but three days really isn’t enough to totally relax when two of the days are spent traveling. I wish I had one more day here, another day to be here morning through evening, but then that’s always the way. No matter how much time I have at a place, I always want “one more day.”

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One thought on “My one day in Ocean Beach

  1. POTD: I wanted to go with the streetlight. Its funny shape appeals to my inner child. However, I have to stay with the sunset. Wow, that is a nice shot.
    PhraseOTD: “Retreating water leaves a million lights glittering in its wake”
    I do notice that you did not say you wanted to be Mohawk Man. What’s up with that?

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