One thing I've learned in California: I am not a sea creature. Rather, I am a fresh water mammal. There was always a mystique about running and diving into the ocean and swimming like one does in a lake, slowly and calmly, but this is much harder than it sounds, especially for a woman who was raised in fresh water lakes and swims with her mouth slightly opened, spitting out water as she resurfaces. This is not possible with sea water. Plus, you can't really just dive in, you have to focus on the waves, when they are coming, how big they are, will they crash against your head, pull your swimming suit off, knock you against the ocean floor or pull you off your feet during the rip tide? Plus the Pacific Ocean is cold. At least in Venezuela it was the Caribbean ocean. That was better.
Ok. I'm being melodramatic. Living near the ocean is great. I realize I have no place to complain. Maybe I just make myself hate it a little because since it takes so long to get out there from Pasadena, I don't get out to the beach enough. Between the traffic, parking, hot sun and impending drive back home, I've found better ways to pass beautiful summer weekends. But this summer I have not gone to the beach as much as I should. End of story.
I was actually complaining about this today with my coworkers, saying I wished I had made an effort to get to the ocean more often this summer. I mean, it has been a very busy one so I have a whole summer full of weekends of excuses, but still. When my friend Lauren was in town we spent the day in Malibu, and I swam in Minnesota a few weeks ago, but come on, I live in southern California, NOT that far from the beach! As my coworkers and I are finishing up this discussion, the fire alarms go off yet again in our office. The school I now work at is doing construction in a new wing before students come back and today the internet, phones and network were down, then the fire alarms started going off randomly. It was around this time that the Head of School alerted us that we should just go home for the day. It was 10:30, and I decided not to think too hard about it and drove straight to Santa Monica after grabbing my bathing suit from home. As far as I saw it, I had the whole day, a book to finish and lunch already packed.
And it was the prefect day at the beach. Traffic getting to the beach was not awful, it took me no time to find parking, there were not many people on the beach because LA school districts have started school now and the CRAZY heat wave we've been in has kind of broken. It was sunny but not hot, warm enough to get into the water and swim. And the waves were manageable. I could swim and ride them and didn't feel nauseous from the brine when I got out of the water!
So does this mean I'm getting used to the briny salt water? Becoming a new kind of mammal? I know that I have not yet gotten used to the heat here, that's for sure. I'll keep you posted on the ocean, as I make an effort to go more often.