When I first laid eyes on the Pacific, my California dream was born. I was 8.
Having spent my childhood summers near Atlantic City, New Jersey (where, to keep this story current, Trump's Taj Mahal casino may or may not have been built with mob-sanctioned concrete), I had previously regarded the "shore" as the place to go to get bitten by green flies, stung by jellyfish and nauseated by buff dudes with gold chains around their necks. The word "dude" hadn't yet made it to the East Coast back then, so these guys were actually known as "Guidos," often because that was their real name.
On America's Finest beaches, however, guys had names like Brad, Stan and Jesus. They carried surfboards and exuded a sense of chill, which was a nice change of pace from South Jersey, where girls carried hairspray, and Guidos carried chips on their shoulders.
I knew fer sher this was the place for me.
Fast forward a dozen-or-so years, and I'm living in a PB apartment I found in The Reader. I had graduated from college a week earlier, packed my jalopy and headed west. Now, trying to settle into my new world, I was looking for work by day and slamming $2 you-call-it drinks along Garnet Avenue at night. These activities, coupled with my being far from home, were taxing, but a quick jump in the ocean pushed my emotional reset button every time.
Today, drinks at many PB establishments are called "craft cocktails" and cost 12 bucks or more. And having a job, it turns out, really cuts into my beach time, which I now spend with my 4-year-old, digging holes in the sand.
"Know what happens if you dig too far?" I ask him.
"You reach China?"
"No, son, you reach New Jersey. Put the shovel down."
Please enjoy this Beaches Issue of PacificSD, Dear Reader. It's overflowing with oceanfront happenings, many of which don't require getting wet.
As for me, I'm headed to the water every chance I get. One good wave can change everything, and it's time to jump in.
David Perloff, Editor-in-Chief