DANA POINT, CALIFORNIA, USA – May 26, 2000 – 10 o’clock on a Friday night in my new oceanside home in Dana Point. Sitting on the balcony, cool ocean air barely blowing in off the Pacific. Crickets chirping, the occasional car driving by on the road below my balcony. The lights of the town abruptly ending in pitch black where the ocean begins.
It’s a new spring, a new millenium, a new job, a new house. New new new, it’s all new. And that’s pretty much par for the course for what US News today labelled as the “restless digerati.” And I was happy being thrown into the “digital gypsy” bucket…
Read an article today in that magazine… about the “dot-com crash”. “Dot-com, dot-go”, the headline read, and the more I read, the more I got angry. Idiots, working hard to pitch an angle to a story that was so TOTALLY one-sided. It reminds me of the advent of the telephone network, and all the hype around that. God forbid we have a hype-free day.
ANYway, enough about that. It’s a beautiful night here, and I’m wasting it thinking about journalistas.
Funny how the longer you live here, the more you are engulfed in the Hispanic aspects of Southern California. My good friends Michael Phillips and Rob Warner, who along with their wives have come out to Orange County to replant roots, have picked up my annoying tendency to say all the Spanish street names in a Hispanic accent. It’s almost as if you had the Taco Bell chihuahua as a tour guide. I warned Michael, once you start saying “Barrrrranca” and “Avenida AeroPUERto” in that accent, you can’t stop.
For the past eight months, I’ve been camped out in the most amazing house… well, it was amazing at first. 5000 square feet on a bluff above Capistrano Beach. With the windows open, you hear the surf crashing all night long. When I moved there, I thought I’d love Capo Beach. Tony houses on tony streets perched above the perpetual, thundering waves. But after awhile, the house was just too big for one person, and too cold. Marble floors. Cavernous living rooms “you could land an airplane in.” Sounds like I’m bragging but I’m tellin’ ya, my first thought was that it would make the ultimate beach party house. I could afford it (thank you, Internet), and it certainly impressed visitors, who came to my parties to be greeted by tea light runways up marble steps.
But I’m a Michigan Boy, a native of the Northern Woods, from a blue-collar family. Put me in an auto factory in the middle of a national forest in 60-degree weather and I’m in my element. This pretentious stuff doesn’t do it for me, and I’ve moved into a smaller, more affordable place with a better view and a far homier feeling. It won’t impress like my Capistrano Beach pad, but it feels like HOME and that is something I’ve needed for a long, long time.
HOME! What is that, anyways? Is it merely where you hang your hat after a long day? Is it just a box where you put your stuff? Is it the deadbolted bear den where you curl up at night? And when you work crazy Internet-speed hours like me 24/7, and you pick up from time to time and move to the next, more advantageous employment pool, does it come with you? Or is it only in the land, the soil where you grew up?
I ponder such things.
I fly over Lake Michigan and see the long white strand below me, the green of the forests, and remember digging in the peaty, mossy dirt as a kid. The smell of fresh-cut grass, an acres’ worth. (Alright, and being eaten alive by mosquitoes, the State Bird of Michigan). I remember watching tadpoles play in a bubbling spring that fed a glacial pond near my home. And I miss that. I miss the sound of robins in the early morning. But even so, even though I’m so very far away from that which is so familiar to me, sitting here on my California balcony, my soul lets out a long sigh and I can’t stop smiling. I LOVE THIS PLACE.
A little lizard runs by on the wall below me…. first one I’ve seen since I’ve been out here. Wild cactus grows on the browny-green hillside below my former palace. This place is a strange mix of Pacific surf and Baja desert all rolled into one.
If you drive up the 5 from San Diego, Dana Point is the exit for the “Beach Cities”: Dana Point, Laguna Beach, and further north, Newport Beach. Dana Point is GREAT… a true town (rather than a centerless suburb), full of leathery old surfers, graying retirees, Hispanic families, and overtanned, siliconed 40-something divorcées that flirt with you in the grocery store. Much of it is new and rebuilt. Parts of it immediately surrounding the downtown area were cheap houses thrown together during the 70’s, when prices were so much lower. And lots of surf shops, tiny restaurants and boating places. As opposed to back East, here, the townies rule, and the touristas just take up space.
Was shopping for houses. Now THAT will throw you for a loop. A house that would run around $90K in a nice part of Cincinnati goes for around $450K here. I walked through a pee-soaked, two-bedroom bungalow with no view that was selling for $350K. Sold in a week. Yee gads.
Along with the new house, I’ve got a new company. That’s a whole ‘nother story for a whole ‘nother evening. Let’s just say that I’m done working for The Man. I’ve been a overdriven, all-nighter-pulling, white-paper-writing slave to a whole slew of The Mans since the Web was young. No longah. The Man can go take an airborne copulation, if you know what I mean. 😉
This website is getting old. It’s a reflection of me, a reflection of a time in my life when I was extremely depressed. Dealing with two huge losses. There are some nuggets of interest here, perhaps, but most of it is an exercise in dealing… dealing with a time in my life that was terribly difficult. Like the restless digerati that I evidently am, it’s time to move on.
Were there times in your life when you were just dealing? Times when all you could do was to go through it? Please… share that.