I’m finally feeling like a Californian.
Yesterday it was a million degrees* in Silicon Valley, so some friends from work invited us to go swimming in the ocean and escape the heat. She promised it would be cooler there, but all I could think about was burning hot sand and a scorching sun.
She was right. I was wrong.
First of all, I felt like a super badass going to the beach on a whim. “It’s 5:30 and we have no plans. Sure, let’s throw on a bathing suit and head over.” Wow. I live in California!
Second, we knew there would be traffic. Oh the constant traffic. People who live near the beach watch the changing tides; people everywhere in California watch the ebb and flow of traffic. Ceaseless. So we got on MBF’s motorcycle and wove our way** through a near-standstill on the Pacific Highway. About halfway there (we travelled a few miles down the road to a less-travelled beach than the Santa Cruz boardwalk we’re familiar with), we entered a fog bank curling around a stand of huge eucalyptus trees. The fog made their sweet scents even more pungent. Immediately, we lost the sun and about 15 ambient degrees. Our t-shirts were no longer appropriate wear, and we realized why everyone has sweaters handy year round.
Finally, after ducking under some pretty rough and tall waves that even the locals were avoiding (they called them “bully” waves), we receded to the parking lot, sticky with salt and sand. It was too cold for me to consider the return trip in a t-shirt, so like a fully-local Californian, I rode on the back of the motorcycle in my wetsuit.
After shucking off my suit and hosing the sand and salt from it, I realized just how much of the beach I’d inherited as part of my Californian indoctrination: roughly a metric shit-ton. My scalp, eyebrows, and ears were clogged with sand from the heavy surf. Somehow the sand had even been driven up into the ankles of my wetsuit.
I figure I’ll stop finding sand on the floor and upholstery in roughly October. My ears might never be free of the stuff.
*A million degrees in local currency is around 95 Farenheit. Aka “nice weather” in Texas.
**I can’t believe it’s legal for motorcycles to do that here. Encouraged, even. At one point, another motorcyclist rolled by us, sharing the lane with us CHiPs style. He pulled in close to us and gave us each a fist bump. Whoa. New experiences abound!