Santa Barbara

So today was my first full day in Santa Barbara. I got up and visited the same coffee shop I went to last night (it’s two blocks away, I’ll probably be a regular there until I leave this rental), and met my hostess on the way back when I picked up a plush husky that her kids had left on the ground and put it somewhere more visible. Then I sat with the computer and hopefully nailed down exactly why went down last night and this morning, and hopefully made sure it won’t happen again any time soon. Welcome to the People’s Glorious Social Network, which is maintained by people in their spare time rather than people tied to a pager.

I thought about doing laundry but blew it off; cobbled together an outfit that passed the sniff test and walked a couple miles down to the beach. When I got there I realized that Santa Barbara has one thing I kinda consider a problem in places I might consider living: it’s generally a very smooth slope down to the sea, which means that if a tsunami happens the whole place is basically fucked. Yes I think about things like this. I come from a place regularly savaged by hurricanes; I can’t not think a little bit about the local disasters when I wander around a place.

It’s a nice town aside from that. Lots of Spanish architecture, which always makes me happy – New Orleans’ French Quarter is actually mostly Spanish work, so that tends to feel kind of homey to me. On the way down I was delighted by all the flowering plants; it may be the dead of winter but flowers are still happening and bees are doing their thing.

Birds of Paradise! Growing all over, opening their petals to all and sundry.

Xeriscaping getting pretty aroused here. “It’s tentacle season”, said a friend who lives in town, and this definitely wasn’t the only one of these absurd obscenities I saw.

At one point I tooted that “I am filled with happiness by the sight of a Latino dude driving by in a pickup truck with large knobby wheels and a CONVERTIBLE TOP that’s down.” Because that is such a perfectly California thing. I hope he had the most awesome day, because seeing him and his car sure made my day.

My first stop was the beach, where I took my shoes off and stood in the Pacific for a bit. I tend to feel a need to do this every time I’m near it; it’s some kind of ceremony I don’t entirely understand. This time it felt somehow important to tell the ocean that my mother had died since the last time I stood in it. It didn’t care; I didn’t expect it to.

I may have left a sigil drawn on the sand some distance from the beach, in sand made wet by my feet, asking for the ocean’s aid in bringing me back to SoCal again. I may have photographed it and posted it in a secret place. I may even have wandered away down the beach and been completely unable to find it again when I passed back, and been pleased by that. Nah, I’d never do anything like that.

I wandered about downtown. Sat in the outdoors section of a cafe looking over Nick’s script for Parallax and liking what I saw, while slowly eating a “BLT”. Which, this being California, was served on a six-inch long sub-type piece of bread. And was open-faced, full of some mild but tasty hot sauce, gourmet pork bellies, artfully shredded lettuce, and a fried egg daintily perched on one end.

Eventually the shadows got long enough that I decided to walk back to the place I was staying. About an hour, going up seventy feet over two miles – I might rent a bicycle for a few days tomorrow. I changed my clothes, then went out to that nearby cafe again and roughed out a couple pages based on the beginning of the script I mentioned earlier.

And now I am sitting here while the laundry machine in this apartment does its thing, wondering if I wanna go find some kind of supper, or if the sandwich I had around brunch plus the snack bar I had in the morning is enough given that I had a personal pizza last night… maybe another snack bar to fill in the gaps? Feh, I wish I’d thought of this on the way back and stopped at Ralph’s. I really don’t feel like walking a half hour there and back after all the walking I already did today.

The bottom of my coat now smells vaguely like the sea, and this makes me happy.

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