My Ocean

I visited my ocean today.

A lot of people who live in San Francisco seem to forget that we pretty much live at the beach. It’s true, even though SF is not really a “beach town” and even though our beaches are very often cold and foggy. Neighborhoods near the beach are not among the most popular and “in demand” areas here, possibly because of that very fog as well as the distance from downtown.

San Francisco orients itself toward the bay, and people on the east side of Twin Peaks have this semi-irrational fear of anything to the west of it. It’s much the same fear that San Franciscans in the northeast quadrant seem to have of just about anyplace outside the quaint little 15 square miles or so of unchallenged assumptions and pretentious coffee joints they call home.

But all the same, the Pacific Ocean keeps right on being our western border, even though much (maybe most) of the city keeps right on ignoring it. But me, I like to go visit my ocean once in a while.

I’m not really a beach person, but at the same time, I am one too. The idea of lying on a hot beach, baking in the sun, is about the closest thing I can imagine to hell. I do not swim and I do not surf. But I do like being at the beach when it’s cold or foggy or stormy, and especially at night. It’s not a nature thing for me; I like shabby, run-down beachfront buildings and piers, and the sound of waves. And yes, I like watching surfers change into their wetsuits in the parking lot too.

On a few rare nights when my apartment six miles inland was like an oven, I’ve actually even had sex on the beach here, which is something most natives won’t admit to.

Today I visited my ocean down in Pacifica. I had to return to my car for a jacket. There were no sunbathers and no volleyball players. There were also no fashion victims nor speed freaks nor cell phones. There were just about fifty quite pleasant and unremarkable people watching their dogs and fishing and strolling by the pier trying not to get too cold.

My ocean and I had a nice visit. I sort of didn’t want to come back. And I was sort of glad that most of San Francisco was ignoring the seahore today, just as expected.