Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Guests in her house are always treated to trips to the famous California beaches. Once upon a time, they went all the way to Santa Monica and Venice, places where her dad grew up, where the sand strip is long and the restrooms are dirty and the places are trendy. Back when he was a kid, he says, it wasn’t a trendy place. They’re crowded now, what with Third Street Promenade, celebrities, and people with yellow snakes who make you pay $2 for pictures on your iPhone.
Now they go to Huntington Beach or Newport. Newport has ten feet of sand and Sidecar Doughnuts, a place she’s only been to once; Huntington has sand pits, funnel cake, and fifteen-dollar parking. This time, they went to Huntington.
It was a Saturday, so it was crowded. The water was cold and the tide was high, like it always was, and she took two others and walked to the shops to look around (40% U.S. Open apparel) and to the pier as well. They didn’t talk much. The wind whipped around them, making them shiver; the walk was further than anticipated. By the time they got back, everyone else was packing up. The fire pits were clogged with people, youth groups and families and friends.
Lawns that look as yellow as the sand on the beach. Five-minute showers. Kids who surf. The Forty-Niners. The Dodgers.
And now, the Rams.
Welcome to California.

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