Princess: Where time stands still (even with rain)
When I found out it was supposed to rain in San Diego all last weekend for my birthday beach trip, I threw the biggest tantrum since, like, ninth grade.
We’re talking fist-pounding, expletive-spewing, foot-stomping hysterics that prompted Ryan to say, “You will stay right here and I will go without you if you’re going to behave like that.”
I even called the airlines to see if we could postpone, which is kind of like asking your boss for an extra two weeks’ paid vacation. They don’t say no, exactly. They just tell you it’s going to cost more than double what you paid for your tickets in the first place.
“Is there anything else I can help you with today, ma’am?” the United representative said in some unidentifiable accent.
And I was like, “Yeah, maybe you can help me to not kill someone on account of the rage that’s coursing through my skull right now. Maybe you can help me get a prescription for a stronger drug than I’m currently on to calm me down. Maybe you can help me get a loan to pay back the cost of my beach vacation in the rain.”
But I didn’t actually say those words out loud. Instead I said, “No, thank you,” and hung up the phone.
Of course rain in Cali meant snow here, and of course no one hesitated to gloat about the powder day they had on Gloatbook with enough hashtags to make me more irritated than I already was.
The truth is that I don’t mind missing a powder day or two. This is Colorado. I’m pretty sure it’s going to snow again someday.
Ryan, ever the optimist, kept telling me the weather report was a wrong. “I’m sure it’ll clear up after a day or two,” he said even though it said there was 100 percent chance of rain for three days, and they were right.
Once we got to California, everyone and their dog had to tell us how gorgeous the weather has been all winter. I don’t know why people do that, why the natural inclination is to rub salt in your wound. It would be as if you showed someone a bruise on your shin and they went ahead and kicked the other one just to make sure both legs hurt equally. “Oh, but the weather has been absolutely gorgeous all winter until now,” they said. Or, “It’s been 80 degrees for the past 20 years. And then you got here.” And, “I’ve lived in San Diego all my life, and I’ve never seen it rain for more than an hour. It’s so rare that It would stay cloudy like this.”
And I was like, “You really should have worn a different outfit today. Those pants are so not flattering on you,” even though it was obvious I was lying because everyone in California is tall, thin and beautiful.
The truth is, I didn’t care about the rain. It was still 65 degrees, and I still got to see the ocean and put my toes in the sand, even if it wasn’t exactly warm. We still got to go running and feel like superheroes on account of our highly oxygenated blood. We did yoga and we rode bikes and went shopping because you can get really cool stuff for really cheap there. We got to see all those vivid colors: pink flowers and yellow stucco and blue water and the kind of California sunsets you forget about until you’re back there again, looking to the west over the Pacific.
I also got to see all my old friends, special people from a magical time in my life that seems like a dream 15 years later.
“Did I really surf?” I asked my friend Ashley, an artist/designer who is the quintessential surfer girl and very mermaid-like with white-blond hair and bright green eyes.
She nodded. “Yes, of course you surfed.”
“But did I know what I was doing? Like, I really did that?”
She nodded again. “Yes, you really did.”
I remember looking at myself in the mirror then and not recognizing what I saw, a girl with bleached blond hair and cinnamon skin and a thin, freckled face. I lived with four girls in a house overlooking the ocean on the hill in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. I loved those girls like sisters, and we surfed together every day and talked about boys and partied often, exercised a lot and ate really healthy food. We all had tattoos and pierced belly buttons, lived in our bikinis and would change out of our wetsuits on the side of the road, expertly hiding behind a towel wrapped under our armpits.
Poor Ryan had to listen to me the whole weekend going, “I used to eat there,” and “I used to go running here,” and “That’s where we loved to surf.”
But the cool thing about Encinitas is that not much has changed. Surf culture is relatively timeless in terms of its dress, daily rhythms and attitude. All of my favorite haunts are still there. I got to have my grilled-fish taco platter at Las Olas, Curry Panang at Siamese Basil, the Ahi Wrap at Ki’s, and a soy latte and gluten-free muffin at the Pannikin in Leucadia. I even took Ryan into Cardiff Seaside Market not to grocery shop but to browse, to see the sesame-encrusted seared ahi in the gourmet deli, the fresh flowers, the beautiful vegetables and the amazing baked goods that somehow taste good even though they’re this-free and that-free.
Even though all my Cali friends all got married, had babies and settled down, that something special is still the same. Time might keep marching on, but when it comes to true friendship it can stand perfectly still — and those are the moments to cherish.
The Princess is upset she did not get tan sitting in the rain. Email your love to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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