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Old at the Beach

Posted on | August 22, 2018 | Comments Off on Old at the Beach

We’re living on Pacific Beach Time this week.

It’s nice to be back. Beach time has been rare in recent years since the State of California kicked us out of our beach trailer Sangri-la at Crystal Cove. (What me, bitter and vengeful?)

Beach time is fungible. Breakfast can be as late as you want. Cocktail hour starts when it wants to. Bedtime is optional. Only nap time verges on the mandatory.

After intense observation, I’ve concluded that I’m beach old, which is different than town old. We live in an old zip code. Here, many more people look like our grandchildren than look like us.

Even the grizzled surfer dudes look young.

People here are tan and fit looking. They don’t have wrinkles or age spots. And a lot of bodies, and a lot of the body, are on display. The Harvard water polo team was training in front of our place. All their bodies were cast from the same mold.

Braces and bandages appear to be from sports injuries rather than the train wreck of time.

The surf’s up this week, pounding waves and red flags on the lifeguard towers. Pound old people’s face in the sand. Old gets no respect here.

Water’s warmest I’ve experienced: comfortable on the skin, a hazard for the planet.

Some things haven’t changed much.

Fellowship is rediscovered. Screen time is replaced by old fashioned board and card games, that yield the discovery that the grandchildren have become canny strategists, and they also collude. No pity for old people around the Tripoley board.

The ferry still runs from Balboa to Newport, Gina’s pizza is still addictive, dolphins migrate and amaze us, and sunsets are magnificent.

This is not the most spiritual beach in the world, not one of those magnetic places, but the nightly ritual of looking up from the dinner table and watching the orange disk disappear behind the lifeguard stand reminds us of the continuity of life.

A perfect vacation.


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Charles Taylor Kerchner is an Emeritus Professor and Senior Research Fellow at Claremont Graduate University. My daily musings appear in the blog. The archives of my EdWeek blog are available via link under the 'On California' head. Some of my photography can be seen by clicking on 'Gallery.' And numerous links to academic work and other research and commentary can be found by clicking on 'Projects.'


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