iPhotograph My Life: Ep. 1: San Pedro Korean Bell, Dawn, 2009
I’d been really depressed, which was uncharacteristic. The problem had stemmed from a day job that was helping me to pay off some 14 months of domestic and international travel and, to be completely honest, a whole hell of a lot of dicking off. When it finally came time to pay the piper, I found myself with three viable job offers on the table – in a recession, no less, after having dicked off for a solid 14 months as previously mentioned. I share this not with the intention of boasting, mind you, but to relay the absolute fact that of those offers, I chose the wrong job and, as a result, I quickly became miserable. And for the first time in nearly a decade, I acknowledged that I was depressed. Months passed. Thanksgiving arrived. I discovered that while I had been traveling, a good friend had died. I’d left her voicemails after the fact, knowing nothing about her demise at the time. Life can be so unfair. But that Thanksgiving morning, Robin and I had volunteered at a food bank and then retired to various parties and friend’s feasts to drink our separate days away, and the morning of volunteering had lifted my spirits not inconsiderably. Thanksgiving passed.
I had fixed myself with a blind date to take place early the following Sunday, with a girl from some online dating site or another. I’m not exactly the coffee shop type when it comes to blind dates. That’s too damn easy, for starters, and furthermore, it can quickly make for a bad initial experience: boring conversations, the always-perked ears of curious patrons, unnatural steam blasts from the espresso machine, smooth jazz and coffee jitters. I had convinced this particular girl that we needed to experience the sun rising in Los Angeles, and among numerous idyllic geographic postulations within the county, offered the idea of the Korean Friendship Bell bluff in San Pedro as a viable location, speculating that due to the direction and location of the peninsula, we stood a passable chance of a sunrise over water.
I can tell you now that one can in fact watch the sun rise, and set, over the Pacific Ocean in San Pedro.
We had a great morning, that girl and I. We met at 530am near the bell, debated scaling the fence briefly, chatting, shivering and laughing at how equally stupid and awesome it was to be cold as hell in the dark on top of a knoll in San Pedro, on Thanksgiving weekend, waiting for the warmth of the sun. Once the sun rose over the harbor, we went for breakfast at a café, and then rode our bicycles all over the shore. It wasn’t a match by any means, and we both knew it, and we didn’t need to vocalize it. Still, it was shaping up to be one hell of a day.
At this same time, I’d been toying with the idea of leaving Los Angeles entirely, and I suppose that this was no small reason contributing as to just why I’d spent the previous year-and-change traveling and generally dicking off to the best of my abilities. My date departed San Pedro around lunchtime, but I wasn’t ready to return to Hollywood. I spent the remainder of the day in the Harbor area, eating at the Ports of Call, zooming over the Vincent Thomas and then walking all over Long Beach until the sun finally set again. I wondered how I might be able to come up with a reason to try Long Beach on for size, if just for one year, in order to see what living down there is really like. I don’t know if you could call it serendipity, but within six weeks I had a job offer in Orange County – a great one, at that – and my compromise for the Orange Curtain commute was none other than Long Beach. I live there still. It suits me just fine, so much so that although I now once again work in Los Angeles, I’m not moving back.
One day soon I will be ready to take somebody seriously. I shall chisel off the callouses, roughed-over jaded feelings and moldy bitterness that have crusted and accumulated on my aging heart over the years, wedge an altogether new crack into the left ventricle and begin pouring love all over the world, yet again. I just know it.