Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Monterey County

Elkhorn Slough, with its pieces of driftwood sticking up all over the place like some sort of strange graveyard of antlers
the otters, tagged and preening like floating kittens in the bay
the curry-colored house down the street which once or twice a year hosts a huge event in a tent, piles of shoes outside the flap, saris of every color in and out of the rented port-o-potty
the Salinas Post Office, where I once got to cut the line in exchange for translating (Spanish/English) for another patron
the Monterey Post Office, where they turn on jazz music when the line gets too long
the Pacific Grove Post Office, asleep, like the rest of that town
the Seaside Post Office, most multicultural spot per square inch on the peninsula besides The Breakfast Club restaurant
The Breakfast Club restaurant, with their flat screens rotating advertising for tire places, CoffeeMate, where “Anywhere is fine” and I once saw my favorite clerk from the Seaside Post Office.
the 50-degree July days
Marina, where every Mother's Day weekend the snowy plovers have to compete with the hang gliding demo at the annual kite festival
the homeless man who sits at the busstop on the way from my secret parking space to the Aquarium
the cuttings faires, third Saturday in March, where if you want to know anything about the plants you are taking home you have to ask the man in the white beard
the man from Salinas who delivered my storage POD, what was once surely a gang tattoo on his neck now inked over into a black pool
the ones who didn't deliver my storage POD and ended up buried, gang tattoo intact on their young necks
the summer movies at the Outdoor Forest Theater, bring your own picnic, cozy up to the fire pits
the “controlled” burns to rid the old Fort Ord of unexploded ordinances that send ash raining down on my yard on the most beautiful, fog-free days
the tiny airport that fills to capacity with golfers, conference goers, and where the TSA agents give out stickers to the kids
the conference goers, forever lost in the 1 square mile of downtown, their nametags thumping against their overdressed chests as they cross the street by the Chinese restaurant
Monastery (aka Mortuary) Beach each year sweeping someone from its coarse sand into its dangerous currents
Soledad, where the “It's Happening in Soledad!” sign is followed by the exit for the correctional facility
Carmel's art galleries
the cypress canopies
the baby harbor seals on Hopkins beach
the sea lions barking as you climb Rocky Ridge Trail
the gully at Garapata State Beach filled with calla lilies
the jump houses that fill the miniscule lots
the midnight drag shows at Norma Jean's
the coveted right lane at the Naval Post Graduate School on southbound Del Monte Blvd to avoid getting stuck behind the left turners
the National Steinbeck Center pretending to be dedicated to literature and history as if it's not funded by the big ag(riculture) companies
avocados year-round
the man who runs the old time clock shop whom I never got to interview, everything around him ticking, ticking, family photos from the old country shining in sepia tone from the walls
the Castroville Artichoke Festival
Pfeiffer Beach covered in photographers in waders all snapping images of light through rock windows

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