Santa Cruz Friday

When a dancing friend asked me to meet him in Santa Cruz yesterday, I thought it would be a great day to break up this monotonous pandemic life.

We agreed to meet at 2:00. I drove through intermittent fog and sunshine all the way to Moss Landing. I had promised myself a ceramic pot from the Pot Spot as a belated birthday gift to myself, since it was on the way.

When I saw the sign, I pulled into the parking lot, only to find out that it had moved up the road a couple of miles.  I pulled up to Highway 1 and watched cars and trucks zip by me in both directions.

How am I ever going to make a left turn on a Friday afternoon?

I sat there and looked right, then left, right, then left. There wasn’t a break in the traffic. Then a truck pulled up behind me, and I felt the pressure mount.

Left, right, left, right, for half of a J.J. Cale song. Then a horn honk behind me. I threw my hands up in the air.

What do you want me to do?

Left, right, left, right, then something in my peripheral vision. I turned my head to the left.

“Ma’am, you can pull out halfway,” said the woman from the truck.


“See the middle lane? Pull into that.”

“Oh, got it. Thanks!”

I was so stressed out, I hadn’t seen the middle lane. Five seconds later, I was out of her way and onto the Pot Stop by the surplus store.

I found the army surplus store, pulled in and thought, Crap! Now I have to make another left-hand turn back onto busy highway 1.

I asked the masked hippy lady at the surplus store where the pots were, and she pointed me to the back of the parking lot. The new spot for pots wasn’t as visible from the road. I parked near the entrance, walked in, surveyed 2000 pots, chose a cobalt blue one that I could actually lift, and bought it in less than two minutes.

As I was lamenting having to turn left on the highway, the clerk told me to go down to the power plant and turn around. She’d been hit once. But when I got to the highway, the gods were shining upon me, and there was break of trucks, either way. I turned left onto the highway with my birthday pot and headed to Santa Cruz.

48 miles. It’s a trek. My GPS lady kept screwing me up by saying, take a slight left, when actually it was the same road. I took a couple bad hints from her but still found the Crow’s Nest, Unfortunately the parking lot was a one way deal, with me going the wrong way.

A phone call later, and a lucky turn provided me with a spot on a residential street. The old lady in her front yard helped me figure out if I was legal, based on the signage.

“You’re good to go, honey,” she said. “It’s not the weekend.”

It sure felt like it when I saw all the beach goers. Young, tan, and not a mask in sight.

Dave and I had agreed to wear masks since we’re both in the high-risk age bracket.  We sat and chatted while watching girls in bikini thongs play volleyball. Dave was appreciative of the view. We walked and chatted, got down to the end of the beach, took the stairs up to some residential streets, walked around and talked, came back down the stairs, and then he asked me to hold his stuff while he took a dip in the ocean to cool off.

Keys, sunglasses, t-shirt and baseball cap. I held them all while he took a 20 second dip. Then we headed back down the beach to the Crow’s Nest, got within 100 feet of it, and he said,” I forgot my flip flops. We have to go back.”

I was ready to sit after my morning Zumba, the morning dog walk, and our tour of the beach and surrounding neighborhoods.

But he’d said, “We have to go back.”

Once again we walked the length of the beach and back again.

I was pooped and ready to head home. We chatted some more and spent a grand total of $3.50 for a day’s entertainment (two icy bottles of water).

It was a sunny, mood-lifting Friday, even if some young adults trash-talked out mask wearing.

I took it as a compliment.

They had no idea how old we were.


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