This is my hometown.
Quaint. Beachy. Trendy. Sunny. Young.
My hometown is a stroll on the sand in ankle deep ocean while wearing shorts and a trucker hat… any month of the year. My hometown is a summer evening bonfire made from wood flats collected behind local grocery stores. My hometown is a run – or maybe I should say an obstacle course– on the Pacific Coast Highway 101, dodging surfers with longboards in hand and women walking small dogs. My hometown is free, impromptu paddle board lessons from that random professional paddle boarder with the bleach blonde dreads that hangs at Cardiff. My hometown is a Bomb Burrito from Karina’s after an uninterrupted day in the water.
My hometown is organic. My hometown is Whole Foods and pitaya smoothies and acai bowls. My hometown is athletic, fit, tanned to perfection in neon racerback tank tops and spandex short shorts. My hometown is endless sets of stairs up and down the cliffs from highway to surf back to highway. My hometown is pilates, sunset yoga, SUPing, surfing, swimming.
My hometown is sun bleached and sometimes sun burnt. My hometown owns more bikinis and board shorts than pairs of jeans– those are for special occasions and frigid 60 degree evenings only.
My hometown is Switchfoot slamming “Dare You to Move” on their guitars over a sandy-footed crowd packed onto Moonlight Beach. My hometown is the Beach Boys, Bob Marley, Foster the People, or the Dirty Heads trailing open Jeeps and ragtops.
My hometown is legit. It’s dank. It’s sick. It says “shaka” and “brah” and throws up a “hang loose.”
And I stand on the cliffs of Swami’s overlooking washed-up oldies on their freshly waxed boards vying for the next wave. “It’s mine, brah.” I imagine one shouting as he paddles farther into the Pacific towards a fresh set.
And I sit on the deck of my favorite cafe as the sun that warms my shoulders and back. 1950’s Corvettes and 70’s VW buses– complete with baby blue, leather interior and peace signs in the windows– line-up on the 101 for the monthly old car show.
And I stare at the the pinks and the blues and the yellows and the oranges that blend with what seems to be the stroke of a painter’s brush. Soon the cumulus clouds cave in and the burning ball of fire that warmed my day, darkened my skin, and bleached my hair disappears.
And for a moment– a second, a minute, a week, a month even– I am in deep, passionate, fulfilling love. I wonder how any one thing could get any better. I am free and inspired and the person I am meant to be. My mind races with thoughts of my lover and the days I will spend within its boundaries.
I am unfazed by the grains of sand that remain in my hair, between my toes, in the nooks and crannies of my car. I forgethow badly my hair needs a good shampooing– I’m content with it’s curls and waves made possible by salt water. The stickiness of SPF 35 and chipping nail polish is also ignored.
But the time always come where I’m back in an airport. Back on a plane. Back in Northern California. The Encinitas lifestyle is untouchable, intangible. My love affair has ended and is only a memory.
And I realize that once I’m away from my hometown, my beloved Encinitas, it is not so beloved. I am distant from and perhaps even resentful towards it. I concoct a list of reasons why it is no good for me: It makes me vain. I don’t fit in. I’m really a NorCal girl after all. Who needs the beach anyways?
But here I am now. On a lawn chair. It’s sunny and 75. And I’m living a love affair. Soon I’ll be gone and fall out of love. But for now, I’ll feel no guilt, forget why it’s wrong, and remain in blind adoration.