Sunday, March 29, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Almost five years ago my sister and I came to visit California for the first time. After my parents dropped the "We're moving 3,000 miles away" bomb, I felt a twinge of excitement, but also skepticism. My sister was just plain mad; she was graduating high school and would have to leave her friends behind. There was, however, one thing that convinced us both that San Diego was a perfectly acceptable place to move: Surfers.
Picture this: It was mid-January; we had left a freezing cold small town where at the moment everyone was wearing at least three layers; a place where you could count the number of "hot" guys on one hand...make that one finger. Six hours later, we landed in a place that felt a million degrees warmer and the guys were a million times hotter. I have never seen so many of them (San Diego is one of the few cities that statistically has more men than women) and I was instantly mesmerized by the flocks of surfers bobbing in the waves like birds (in fact, from a distance I thought they were birds— I swear that's why I was staring).
There is a certain (top secret) street where all the surfers emerge from the beach and wrap towels around their waists so they can change out of their wetsuits. Let's just call this place Heaven. When we discovered Heaven, Eva started giggling and squealing uncontrollably and I was grinning so hard my cheeks hurt (this signature grin is an involuntary reaction I have had around boys since I was three years old...I don't even try to hide it from Tommie who can see it overtaking my face from a mile away).
But those darn surfers are the most elusive species I have ever seen. Of all the guys wandering the streets of San Diego and out at the bars at night, we never ran into a true surfer and they certainly weren't going to talk to us on the beach when they had a wave to catch. I began to think they all lived in some secret underwater world...emerging from the waves in early morning and diving back under at night like mysterious gods of the sea. We tried to get close to them in their natural habitat...I took lessons once with my Dad where I quickly mastered the wipe-out; and Eva and I rented surf boards in Pacific Beach so we could legally enter the "surf zone." I rode the board in on my stomach while Eva simply floated there with her arms folded on the top of the board, all googley-eyed, saying, "I love surfing." I had pictured guys circling around us in the water like hungry sharks, but they stayed at least 20-feet away making sure we didn't get in their way.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
There is a part of me that's in disbelief about our upcoming move. Sure, we've talked about it for months, and I knew the time would go by fast, but with departure time fast approaching, I feel less prepared than ever (mentally, at least). In my mind I kind of stall the process, trying to trick myself into thinking that I have more time than I really do. Meanwhile, the world carries on, wasting no time in shooing us along. Already our life in San Diego is up for rent.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Even though poetry has taken somewhat of a backseat in my life since graduation to be replaced by the burdens of "the real world," it's still an ever-important part of my being. In April I'll highlight some of my favorite poets, but for now here is a poem to get you thinking. I'm reminded of the quote by Robert Frost, "No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader." This is how some of the best poetry happens...it wanders like an unpredictable dream. The words and thoughts come as a surprise and leave you questioning how the poem got there, and also how you got to where you are in your own life.
Intro To Poetry
By Steven Bauer
You thought it was math that taught
the relation of time and speed
but it's farther than you knew
from that sun-lit white-walled classroom
to this darkened lounge with its couch
and overstuffed chairs. How many miles,
would you say, since you talked
as if poetry were no distorting mirror,
one-way street? But listen, sometimes
it's like this, a stranger's Ford pulls up,
and you, with no plans for the afternoon,
get in. He doesn't talk, stares at the road
and it's miles before you understand
you didn't want to travel. His lips say no
as you reach for the radio's knob.
In this silence you fall deeper
into yourself, and even the car
disappears, the stranger's face
blurs into faded upholstery, and all things
being equal, you're alone as though
you've wandered into a forest with night
coming on, no stars, the memory of sun
and a voice's asking Is this my life?
Friday, March 13, 2009
When I took a 19th century literature class in college my favorite book was “Wuthering Heights,” by Emily Bronte. My friend who took the class with me thought I was crazy...she swooned over Jane Austen and couldn’t understand how I could like a book with such mean characters in it, and I realized that was exactly why I liked it. Catherine was mean; she was real; she was torn, and multi-dimensional (Heathcliff was no walk in the park either).
In that same class we read Dickens’s “David Copperfield.” My friend loved this one, so you can probably guess where I stood on it...it bored me to tears. I almost swore off Dickens’s entirely...until I met Miss Havisham and Estella in “Great Expectations.” A crazy old woman dressed in her tattered wedding gown living in a rundown mansion training her young daughter to become a heartbreaker...now that's a character. If you ask me, Pip, (the main character) had everything little David Copperfield did not...he had mean girls in his life. They asked Pip to come visit and ordered him to dance around a rotting wedding cake; pretty young Estella kissed him then made him cry within the same breath...(I know what you’re thinking...and I have never made someone dance around a rotting wedding cake.)
I know this will come as a shock, but girls can be caddy; I have always respected girls who were just outright mean because then, at least, everyone was being honest. The truth is, I grew up with friends full of wit and sassiness who I think these novel characters could have been based on (indeed, at times, I've thought they could be based on me). These girls were smart, sarcastic, funny and, yes, slightly sinister. I can’t help emitting a little smirk while I’m reading these books and thinking of the characters who entered my own life. Call me crazy, but I miss these mean girls.