It was 1978, or at least that’s what it felt like, the vibe, the people surrounding me. I was by myself at the time, I can’t remember the sequence of events, but there was a huge spanning space next to the ocean where they were digging something. A massive hole in the ground with benches carved out and we couldn’t go down there yet. It wouldn’t be ready until now. But then it was 1978, and it just felt right and it felt like what I was waiting for all my life that I hadn’t experienced because I wasn’t around then. I had missed it by a year. But last night I was there, wondering around, my insides high on the vibe (how I wish I could recreate that now, but it’s impossible...or is it?) and I met people, grungy skater boys who were waiting to walk down into that gigantic open space in the ground, and the sky was pink and orange next to the teal ocean and that’s when I saw him. A much younger version of him, younger than what I remember when I was a little girl in ‘83 or ‘84 when his music was constantly playing on the radio and mtv, and he looked tan and his eyes were like steel ice, and his hair almost too blonde and he made me nervous. Somehow I meandered over to him with butterflies in my stomach and when he looked at me and began to talk, I swore I fell in love with him and never wanted to leave 1978. He protected me, looking around like he didn’t trust anyone else and I was so naive, so willing, that I let him put his arm around me and lead me away from the massive hole in the ground towards the sunlight and the street, where the people were and I noticed there were planets floating in the pink sky and I swear I trusted him with all my heart as took me away. We became best friends in an instant and he gave me that funny feeling and the way he looked at me, I think I did the same for him and his stoic young face was all business when he led me to a parked brown van. I trusted him and myself, and he spoke with his soft throaty voice, with his English accent and how could I say no, then nothing, blackness.
My little seaside utopia.
Ventura in a nutshell. Almost on the edge of nowhere, the town everyone drives through on the way to somewhere else; San Fran, Santa Barbara, LA...there was no point in stopping. Unless you surfed and knew about C-Street, or what I grew up calling, Surfer's Point. My hometown, an epic place to grow up in the 80s with Huey Lewis playing while driving along the coast, the '84 Olympics torch running through Seaward, we wore Town & Country and Maui and Sons, and skated in the sun. The 90s in Ventura, much like the 90s everywhere, flannels and converse, and kind of depressing. Sublime was almost as huge as Nirvana for us Ventura kids, but it was still boring as shit in this little seaside town. The last decade or so, things have changed...for the better maybe. The eerie weirdness of Ventura (it existed in ebbs and flows, I don't know if it's the location or what, but there is something strange this haunts this place, you can feel it) seems to be dissipating. My god, there's an Urban Outfitters on Main Street...yet there's still the porn shop right next to the Christian figurine shop. Need to keep that unique Venturan weirdness going. Jesus, and now there hipsters everywhere, mustaches and slicked back hair, and beautiful trendy young people who look like they should be modeling in catalogues, when back in the day we wore board shorts and t-shirts and Patagonia (we were so normcore back then) and looked like we should be in Capri Sun commercials. I like Ventura now. Who am I kidding, I've always loved this place. It's my home. It may be the last of the crusty old beach towns and as hipster as it's become, there's still that sense of old southern California derelict-ness bubbling under the surface that makes it seem like something out of an 80s Kurt Russell movie. There are stories...but for now, I like getting chai tea at Palermo's and shopping at Wet Sand and my new favorite, Iron and Resin, and eating at Lure and just floating along Main Street.
I was walking up the beach from Moonlight to Stone Steps. I decided to stuff my bag and sandals behind one of the pillars under the stairs at Stone Steps because the tide was coming in. I helped a girl pull her surfboard down from those same pillars. I turned around to find a middle-aged surfer watching me. Surprised, I smiled shyly at him. He didn’t smile back.
I walked out from under the stairs and headed north up the beach about ten steps when I looked up and realized the lifeguard above me in the lifeguard stand was saying something. I had had my headphones on so I wasn’t entirely sure if he was talking to me, but he was looking directly at me. I pulled my headphones out.
"Just finishing up for the day," he was saying.
I think I said, “Cool.”
"You come down here a lot?" he asked.
"You live around here?"
"Yeah, in Shamrock."
"Oh," he nodded. He gathered up his backpack and put on his hat. "Well, I’m going to be working down here all summer, maybe I’ll see you around." He smirked.
"What’s your name?"
"Oh, I’m ***." I can’t remember his name. "Where are you going?"
"Up to Beacon’s."
"Hey," I paused and looked behind me towards the waves crashing up to the cliffs. "Is it dangerous to walk up there right now?"
He squinted up the beach for minute, thoughtful. ”Nah, you’ll be fine,” he finally said. ”The tide’s coming in, but it will probably only be waist high.”
"Well, have a nice walk," he said.
"Yeah, you too," I said, at the same time realizing he probably wasn’t going on one.
I turned around and started walking up the beach again. I put my headphones back in with Everyday is Like Sunday playing. I looked back and watched him walking up the stairs for a second.
The water was coming in seemingly fast and hard towards the cliffs and it felt a little sketchy to be running through it, but I did it anyway and the music was loud in my ears and there was no one else around.
I stopped when the waves came crashing in and then would run as fast as I could to the next little piece of beach when the tide moved out again. The sky looked low and gray with the sun glowing behind the clouds. I kept walking and running. Walking and running. The thought crossed my mind of how bad the lifeguard would feel if I got crushed against the cliffs and pulled out to sea after he said it wasn’t dangerous.
I took in the scenery, the scent of the ocean, but my mind focused on the music in my ears. I thought of the stories I needed to write. The one about the kale crazed teenagers with a dark secret to share with a stoner journalist for the LA Times. The OCD woman who gets captured by a pyromaniac. The surfer who thinks he’s a Golden God. I thought about the dirty texts I received earlier that day and the argument I had with my ex the day before. If only the lifeguard could read my freakish thoughts…would he have said hello then?
I looked up around one of the bends and I saw a beached seal. It was lying right by the cliff, by itself. I stood there and watched it for a moment. I knew I would have to pass it. In the distance I saw two shirtless men, running towards me.
I decided to walk slowly around the seal while the tide was drifting out. It looked sleepy and cute. I stared at it curiously, harmlessly when it shrieked and squawked suddenly, making it’s way towards me and I jumped and ran. The two shirtless men, very fit and older I realized, were right there now.
The seal waddled into the water, pissed, still squawking.
"Jesus," I said to no one in particular, but the men smiled and smirked and I think they said "wow" and I was breathing heavily and was jittery and we all looked out towards the waves where the seal had disappeared into. We grinned at each other for a second and then took off running in different directions.
I continued up the beach to Beacon’s when an old man who had witnessed the whole thing shook his head in awe, still staring out into the ocean. He said, “Well, isn’t that something?”
I’m in minimalistic mode. I only want the necessities. Quality necessities. Today I threw a ton of clothes out of my closet. I bought a white shirt and a black shirt. The basics baby. I bought the same pair of jeans that I already have so now I have two. Covered. I want to have a uniform. The Kate uniform. What is it? Black leggings and a sweater or flannel over a black or white tank. Or switch out the leggings for jeans. Shoes are either Vans or Chucks, one pair of boots from Urban or flip flops. Donzo. During the summer, my uniform is next to nothing at all. I don’t like wearing clothes when it’s hot…I won’t wear clothes when it’s hot.
2015 is the year for drastic change. Simplify. Get rid of the shit that’s holding me down so I can roam around and write. I want to grow my hair longer. I want to ride my bike to Cafe Ipe and people watch. I want to camp and eat vegan hot dogs roasted on a camper stove and go to yoga every morning. I don’t think I’m asking too much.
I want to do more of this. I took these photos while riding through Leucadia on my bike. I started to notice a theme. Ways to run away. While I was taking photos of the green bike for sale, an older dude slowed down in his car, rolled down his window and said, “Take a look at that! How many miles she got on her?”
“28,” I said.
“Not bad. You gonna buy that for your boyfriend?”
“No, I’m just taking photos. I like the green.”
“You have a good eye,” he said, staring at it. “Man, I used to have one just like it.”
It seems everyone wants to run away one time or another.