As the suited stranger next to me opens the airplane window, my bleary eyes impatiently adjust, eager to soak in the aerial wonders of San Diego, California. I’m a window seat gal, but I got stuck in the middle.
Me and the aisle guy peer over the window guy’s shoulder to catch a glimpse, hovering over his personal space like kids, no regard for boundaries.
Frankly, after being crammed in that stuffy tin can for hours—bumping elbows and knees, shutting out crying babies, playing musical chairs for bathroom trips—the three of us are war buddies.
Awake since 5am, I’ve journeyed 2,118 miles from Lake Michigan to the Pacific Ocean. I left my precious home, hubby, and cats for the first time in years.
I’m disoriented until that window opens. I relish in the nostalgia of the first twenty years of my young life—Los Angeles, not San Diego. Still, the comforting SoCal vibe soothes me as we make our descent.
Smog commandeers the skies, serving as the tollbooth of pollution. Palm trees dart into the air, posing like tall, skinny girls with unkempt hair. Backyard pools litter the terrain, refreshing the parched landscape in a casual manner.
The California girl is home.
What’s the best way to conquer jet lag? Lunch on the beach.
My gal pal Devon and I relax on the sandy patio of Poseidon. A calamari sandwich with fries and a couple of Bloody Mary’s perk me right up. It’s OK if you’re jealous of our view…
After a tight squeeze into my sassy, retro onesie and a generous coating of SPF 50, I’m whisked away to scenic Windansea Beach in La Jolla to meet up with my other dear friend, Naeiry.
My friends ask me why I’m so quiet and I blame jet lag. But, that isn’t the truth.
The beach and I are enjoying each other’s long lost company. I toy with the sand, digging past the dry surface until I excavate damp grains. I build unattractive mounds of absolutely nothing. I tag my blog in the sand, because I can’t refrain from writing.
The airplane stench is carelessly blanketed by a salty, fishy breeze. The tireless editing of my second novel is shushed by each lulling wave. Any stress becomes unimportant, wiped out by the ocean’s aggressive serenity.
The three of us decide to take a dip to cool off. Our trio makes the unanimous, rookie mistake of sporting our sunglasses in the choppy water. My beachy prowess is rusty and I squeal at the biting water temperatures.
You can probably guess what happens next…wipeout!
Remembering my sea legs, I dive under a commendable wave. It barrels forward, swallowing my unsuspecting friends. If you’ve ever been worked over by a wave before, you know it’s a humbling experience.
Devon proves her aquatic agility by holding onto her pricey shades. Naeiry loses hers during the hullabaloo. Upon resurfacing, off-kilter bikini bottoms are put back in their rightful places.
I whip around to come to their rescue, which of course turns out to be a monumental slipup.
I let the ocean have her way with me—flipping me upside down, stealing my sunglasses (cheapies, but brand new), and best of all, exposing one of my boobs to the lazing spectators.
Miraculously, our sunglasses are retrieved.
We all do the walk of shame back to our striped towel territory. I do my best to straighten out my wonky shades. We pull seaweed out of our suits, wipe our salty snot discreetly, and have a good laugh.
The sea is a finicky saboteur. She lures you in with her intoxicating perfume, her come-hither beauty, her complex tranquility. Then she steals your accessories, beats you up, and makes you flash everyone.
You know what, beach? You’re kind of a beoch sometimes. It’s a good thing you’re a looker. I guess we can still be friends. Love always…California girl.
Stay tuned for San Diego, Day 2: Chic’s Up, the city’s cosmopolitan side, on Friday.