“I have been searching for this coffee shop for like 8 hours,” I say to the barista. He looks at me with an expression of perplexed disbelief. “I didn’t know it until five minutes ago,” I clarify. “But this is exactly the kind of place I need right now.”
I am in Augie’s Coffee House with free wifi, tasteful wall art, and a foam heart etched into the surface of my vanilla latte. I decided to leave Santa Monica and Southern California this afternoon after receiving two $53 parking tickets in the course of thirty minutes. I actually went to the police station to beg for pity. It was to no avail, though the girl guarding the Sears lot let me park for free while I tried.
I head south to Venice Beach. I leave my car in an alleyway and climb over the canals until I reach the coast. I kick off my shoes and walk barefoot across the sand to a pier of boulders, where I sit hugging my knees and allowing the ocean to slow my heart.
For New Years, I need to be somewhere quiet. For the last months, years, I have been trying to learn how to listen to the messages within my body. The loudness that Pascal pointed out when we reentered the urban environment is taking a toll on me. I actually feel a pang of sadness every time I see a billboard trying to convince me that I am not ok the way I am. How can we stand for this? I love people; I’ve had so many moments over the past few days that have reaffirmed this love over and over again. But sometimes, I hate what people do when we come together as society. So I plan to end this year and begin my next far from the noise we have created. I’m going somewhere quiet. I began to drive east tonight as the sunset pooled above the mountains, a pink poke-a-hole-in-your-heart-and-let-the-blood-spill-out-across-the-sky kind of twilight. Right now I’m in Augie’s Coffee House in Redlands, CA. I don’t know where I will sleep tonight. I head into the desert tomorrow morning.