22 July 2016

Guests and Fish and California

Guests and fish and California. They all begin to stink after three days. Three days in Santa Monica was exactly right. My hotel, the Shangri La, was right next to the ocean. Three nights here was more than my house payment, but at least my room was small and uncomfortable. When I wasn’t at the conference, I was typically walking the promenade along 3rd street.

Four times in three days I ate at Stefano’s Pizza at the corner of Arizona and 3rd. I always ate the same thing—stuffed lasagna. It wasn’t really lasagna, it was pizza, thick pizza with meatballs and ricotta and mozzarella and parmesan. Oh, and lest I forget it came with a small plastic cup of tomato sauce with basil, fresh and distinct. The pizza was good; the sauce was sublime.

After I ordered my pizza, I sat facing the promenade to people watch. California people come in all shapes and sizes. To my left, there was a large silver man standing still. He wasn’t actually silver, he was black, but painted silver to look like a statue. Everyone noticed. Some even pointed. Few gave him any money.

Across the way, the Hare Krishna’s were recruiting. They were performing a dance number in unison to music I had never heard. I didn’t know that Hare Krishna’s danced. I guess I don’t know much about them.

On opposing sides of the promenade stood two men, each accosting passersby. They were drumming up support for a charity, something about children. I silently wondered if their idea of what is charitable to children and my ideas were similar. Either way, I made a mental note to avoid them when I left. Avert the eyes. Walk fast. Don’t acknowledge.

The more I sat there, I realized that one could sit and watch and never see the same thing. Human uniqueness abounds. But I was also reminded that what I longed for was the familiarity of home. 

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