First Morning, San Diego

08/23/2019 0 By BuddyCushman

I’m writing with a pen lifted from the Mark Spencer Hotel in downtown Portland. I’m writing on an oblong table in a large breezeway room at the in-laws in San Diego – out in the County, some 13 miles from the Pacific Ocean and the edge of the continent. I’m writing this down in a notebook I bought at Bi-Mart, on sale for eighteen cents. Bi-Mart, if you don’t know, if you’re wondering, is an employee-owned company.

If everyone else wasn’t sleeping I’d be listening to Bob Dylan. What I am listening to is a neighborhood rooster, crowing away. And the distant hum of endless traffic passing on the 125 somewhere east. I don’t mind getting up early before everyone else. Let me re-phrase that – I am thrilled getting up before anyone else. Here in San Diego, out in the County, back in Portland, in the southeast quadrant. My day is longer than theirs. Longer than yours. Today Susan and I will borrow her parent’s second car, an old Toyota Corolla, and drive the 13 or so miles to Ocean Beach, up and over the mound of the Point Loma peninsula, to an in-house apartment we have rented and not yet paid for, from a woman we met last year, a little over a year ago. Her name is Silka. We found her and her apartment on-line in the spring of 2018 and paid a fair amount more for a similar five-night stay. It turns out a large hunk of that money went to the internet listing and placement business. Upon leaving last summer Silka advised us to contact her directly, deal with her and avoid the fees. And that is what we have done, all the way back to the dead of last winter, saving nearly half the money we spent last year.

I’ll describe the apartment and its location in the Ocean Beach community in detail another day. To call it like a slice of heaven would be to use a simile most accurate. And to be clear – this always close-by-the-water-boy, always anyway until these last 10 years in the Willamette Valley in Oregon – me – I have waited with some feeling between thrill and desperate anticipation, energized for the journey, some 11 plus months. And now we are here.


Susan and I stayed one night last spring for free at the Mark Spencer Hotel, the home place and encouraging donator of this pen I write with – and outside a rooster, a symphony of howling, out-of-harmony dogs, and the off-then-on electric freezer hum to my right serve as background noise. I have sat in meditation, drank a cup and a half of coffee, read two books, and come to this oblong table.

It’s not 7 am yet.