Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dispatch from the Road: San Diego

Returning to the scene of the 1999-2001 crime, San Diego.  Here is where I spent 15 months as XO of a Cruiser--USS PRINCETON (CG 59)--a truly great ship with a truly great crew.  I needed those things, as it turned out that when I set out for my cross country trip to SD to start the tour, a young woman was about to remove my heart from my body and blow-torch it to dust.  That ship and that crew had a lot to do with putting the spring back in my step.

But I never quite got San Diego.  I missed the change of seasons.  I missed the snap of chill in the air come fall.  I lived an idyllic life in Coronado where the temperature is 75 and the sun shines virtually all days of the year, save for two months (May/June) when the marine layer does its cloudy, cool bit.  But I never really took to it.

I think it was the heartbreak.  Without that, I'd probably have eaten this place up.  I posted on Facebook recently that I had not been back here since I left in 2001--but that isn't true.  I simply forgot the time I came here in 2009.

Mine looked just like this.  A magnificent beast.
This time is different though.  I will likely be coming out here regularly on business now, and I am going to have a great attitude about it.  I am staying at this quirky little hotel in Point Loma, a place I am enjoying though there is no coffee maker in my room.  I arrived home from dinner last night to a rocking pool scene and screening of the movie "Point Break" on a large screen above the pool.  The dining options within walking distance are limited, but so what.  I like it.

Had dinner the other night with a friend of long-standing who retired around the same time that I did from the Navy.  He's now an executive at a shipyard out here and doing wonderfully.  Great to see good guys thrive.  During our dinner, another exec from his company came by for drinks...a guy who also happens to be a friend of 27 years.  I have to imagine their company is in good hands, with these two guys running things.

I did not appreciate how beautiful SD was when I lived here.  Driving last night on "the 8" (they say that out here--add a "the" in front of the highway number) west, the hills rising, be-speckled with signs of human life, it is hard not to like it.  If you can afford to live in Southern California, then there are much worse places to live.

As I drove on the highway, I had a crystal clear memory of the Saturday morning that I bought my baby, a brand new 2000 BMW Z3.  Late on a Friday afternoon, I had come home from a day on the ship--I got a phone call.  The voice was familiar, a man from the Navy I knew well.  He was calling to tell me that I had "deep-selected" to the rank of Commander.  I was ecstatic.  It had been a tough, tough year.  So that night, I decided that I would wake the next day and go buy my Z3.  An impulse buy?  Yep.  Responsible?  Nope.  The right thing to do?  Absolutely.  I loved that car, and I am quite certain there is another Z in my future, after I get this other hip swapped out.
The drive back to Coronado from the dealer was an typical San Diego day.  Sunny, low 70's.  I had the top down--mostly left it down--and I was blasting the radio.  Those memories were so clear last night I could taste them.

I've got a full day here in San Diego and then a red-eye back home tonight.  I promise to give San Diego the chance it deserves.

1 comment:

Mudge said...

"a young woman was about to remove my heart from my body and blow-torch it to dust."

Really surprised no Center for American Progress or Organizing for Action troll didn't ask if that was the moment you became a conservative.

Personally though, I think that may well be your best line of descriptive prose to date.

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