Stranger Encounters: No Time Like the Present

Excerpt from mail sent in 1998

I was walking on Ocean Beach, watching the strong winds blow seafoam along. The stuff, getting a running start, did some jumps off of sand dunes, getting some phat air. The wind was pretty strong. There was a light rain falling, except it wasn't really falling, but was zinging in nearly on the horizontal. When drops smacked into my face, I tasted them to make sure that they were fresh water from above and not sea water blown off of the tops of waves. The wind was starting to pick up more--a tuft of seafoam jumped up from a wave and clung for a moment to my chest before it was ripped from this perch. The rain, too, was increasing. I started to jog away from the shore, across the highway.

I reached the Beach Chalet, entered, and discovered with delight that it was heated. Not only dry, but heated. Ah, bliss. I pretended to look at the displays of the history of the park, but to tell the truth, I'd moved past two of them before I realized that my glasses were so covered with drops that I wasn't really seeing much. I wiped them off, moved between displays, felt my clothes dry out, felt warmth return to my limbs and digits. Someone said "Excuse me." I looked up from the display I hadn't really been looking at. The nice lady continued: "Do you have the time?"

I looked down at my wrists. I wasn't really prepared for rain. I was wearing neither jacket nor coat, just a long sleeve shirt with the cuffs rolled up. I looked first at one conspicuously bare wrist, then the other, making a little show of it. I wound up to hiss out: "Never!" But I didn't. Right then, it seemed like bad moods were like viruses; if I wasn't careful, I'd give mine to other people. Perhaps these moods could linger in nooks and crannies and get me back later. I wouldn't want to always think of the Beach Chalet as a place where I'd once snapped at a stranger. I smiled and said, "No, sorry."

Santa Hat: First Day[>>]

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