Drifting through San Clemente (a 30:30 Report)
Vamoose silly goose. Okay, and I had been working for the Daily Sun-Post in San Clemente for about 11 months when I was, pretty much out of the blue, overcome, overwhelmed, dementedly goosed to make a permanent move down to San Diego, like 40 miles south, still in the States but barely, and like the song says, where “They’ve got a lot of pretty girls”. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the Sun-Post and there’s no doubt I was on the cusp of a famously thrilling career in journalism due to all the breaks I’d got on El Camino Real, which was where the paper was located in San Clemente, that address a fact of historical insignificance only a couple of miles from where Tricky Dick Richard Nixon once called home. That never came up a whole lot in my time at the paper, mostly due to me primarily covering the sports beat – and high school sports at that – and mostly because I had long hair and wore a red bandana a whole lot of the time, and me dressing up was wearing a blue chambray work shirt versus the everyday tees, some broadcasting my love for one rock group or another, a few for road races I’d run, and some simply weird. Anyone on the paper would be likely to make use of that particular adjective first, if they were asked to talk about me – weird. And I would not mind that for a minute, no way, when you consider that the most likely true opposite of weird is normal and I’m of the opinion that being normal sucks and you could say bites the large one, and I’m willing to bet, if we could arrange an interview up there in the big beyond, even the former President would agree – being normal sucks.
Why he never pretended to be, and ladeeda that’s all well and swell and my point is I’ll always owe the paper, and especially Sports Editor Darren Holmes who gave me my first breaks and stuck with me when people called in to complain about my “appearance” and the fact I rarely censored my own language running up and down the sidelines at a field hockey or football or water polo contest, sports all big on the community agendas in Orange County, no sir, Darren politely told people to screw if they didn’t like the news scribe he was sending out to gather the facts and ascertain the current milieu and go ahead and tell it like it is, which yeah, that was me all the way, and so maybe some parents thought I was a worthless asshole and even – remember, this is Orange County – the Devil’s spawn or a Yippie or something nearly as bad, and, yet, who am I to deny any of those tags. No, Darren had my back and in fact bumped me from a $25 a week stringer when I first got my foot in the door to what he called his “unofficial” Assistant Sports Editor and was giving me nearly full-time status on the sports desk….
And 11 months down the road I’m pocketing more like just under two hundred bucks a week, which was a big supplement to my part-time job mornings at the local MacDonald’s, which I’ll get to, and was also giving notice for my working there what with the pending move down the 5 to the summery climes of San Diego, in particular the Golden Hills section of town, and I can describe a typical San Clemente day where I crawl out of bed in my room which was a makeshift garage belonging to a chick I’d met while hitchhiking to a jazz club in Redondo Beach a little more than a year ago, and one thing led to another and I was drifting then – you could have called me a “drifter” and there is actually a lifestyle specifically known as drifting, which is kind of a combination of going with the flow and following the breeze that the Universe gently blows about you, perhaps up your butt, and also being a fuck-up and for the most part a lazy bastard, so it was a developed lifestyle on my part and then I met this chick named Rebecca Jackson while thumbing and she told me, hearing of my aimlessness, that San Clemente despite it’s Orange County locale was a pretty hip place and had a very cool beach where the only negative was potential extermination by the Amtrak trains racing through once an hour weekdays (a little less weekends) and she had a garage which could easily convert into a bunk house, good for a drifting cowboy such as myself and she would love the company of quite a cool young hipster namely moi and she would charge me only a few bucks a week, a few more if I wanted to partake of her cooking once in a while, and plus she had a friend who worked at the local paper who was a sports guy and had been telling her at the Hideaway Lounge a couple weeks back that he was having trouble finding anyone to go out and actually report on what his department was supposed to be reporting on – sports –
And Rebecca told me this after I told her that amidst all my aimlessness was a powerful urge to become a writer, like I’d had from the time I was eight, and so (Becky thinks) look at this, will you, I stop for a guy hitching and he’s drifting through life with no apparent anchors only a dream to someday follow in the footsteps of Jack Kerouac and Elizabeth Bishop and even H.L. Mencken and I have just been informed that sports writers which you’d presume would be a dime a dozen are on the contrary real hard to come by for my friend and drinking buddy at the San Clemente Post and bing and boom it all comes together in the front seat of my Volvo wagon, and I’m (back to me) telling you this today because that all happened, that very conversation and string of events set up no doubt by a benevolent Universe and maybe even one who you’d refer to as “The Big Cosmic Cheese” and 11 months plus have passed and I became — yes I will say this and there’s no one on this big spinning rock would ever say “Oh that Milky, he’s got a big head”, cause I for sure don’t — but I have been loved as a writer of high school sports at venues as diverse as Laguna Beach High girls tennis and Dana Point water polo, plus they buy me free coffees when I show for Laguna Niguel Friday night football, so there are sad people with the news I am going to be taking my act down the 5 into the lovely burgh of San Diego where I have found a room in a rooming house in Golden Hills and that’s a straight downhill shot on Broadway right into the center of all things SD, and just wait until you hear why and what it is that has caused such a disruption in my it goes without saying sweet, gentle, pizazz of a life here in San Clemente, where a President of these United States once made his stand, and where I have dodged trains on the beach and served up more than my share of pancakes and scrambled before random 8 a.m.’s. Oh, as well, about three hundred reports with a certain varsity ambiance.
End Part One.
Okay, that’s a wrap.