This past Monday Ameen took me and Elizabeth on a trip to the beach. We each ingested a couple hits of LSD because we’re the type of people who don’t visit nature unless there’s mind altering drugs involved (in the name of moderation I should mention that I rarely visit nature). I brought my iPad against Ameen’s advice and my better judgment. We got a cab and were dropped off by the Palace of Fine Arts which looked grand and cinematic in the rare San Francisco sunlight. We went straightaway to the beach and crossed a jumbled intersection that consisted in the collision of five distinct streets.
Before the beach proper there was a grassy park and Ameen pointed to a sign reading, “No Volleyball North of this Sign Before 6pm”. Apparently, if they were allowed to have their way, yuppies would keep the park continuously covered with volleyball nets. We made our way to a snack hut that sold high end refreshments like pomegranate juice and veggie dogs. “This isn’t what I was expecting,” said Elizabeth. “Yes,” I nodded, “I’m surprised to see how well this place caters to our preferences. It’s because we’re in San Francisco. Anywhere else and this place would be selling Mountain Dew and fried butter.” We bought a cranberry juice and took it back to the edge of the grass. On our way we encountered an aging woman waving her cane at a group of pigeons and seagulls, “I keep trying to shoo them off but they won’t leave!” she said in exasperation. “Yeah, I don’t know,” I shrugged supportively. “She can’t get rid of the birds,” agreed Ameen and once past, but not necessarily out of earshot, Elizabeth remarked, “Why should they leave, this is their house you fucking bitch.” Feeling judicious I said, “It’s true but this is war. Those birds would come and live in our house if they could manage it. It’s a matter of dominance.”
Once back on the grass we sat down to take in three tiny people, children it would seem, toss around a baseball. I marveled at how well they snapped it back and forth amongst each other, even the smallest one who appeared no more than eight years old. “Well I’m definitely getting an answer as to why some kids are good at sports.” “Why’s that?” asked Ameen.
“Because they spend all their time practicing, there’s not even an adult around and they’re still at it.”
“Wait, but isn’t that one an adult?”
“No, he only looks like it, he’s just the oldest.”
“Maybe we should he ask him? ‘Hey are you a grown up? Explain yourself’.”
We laughed and I lay back to watch the sky, partly to take in the steaming clouds and partly because I was worried that staring too long would cause the three pre-adolescent jocks to come over and beat me up. As we watched the sky we saw numerous birds darting above, in fact that the air was filled with chirping noises. “These birds are rambunctious, no wonder that old lady was having trouble.” We began to notice they were divebombing ever closer, and wondered at it, “Are we sitting on a bird’s nest?” asked Ameen. “I hope not,” said Elizabeth. At this point I felt something touch my leg and looked down to find a sparrow perched on my thigh, “Look, there’s a bird on me,” I reported. They yelled in surprise and the bird left, “It’s a messenger sent by Jesse Elias,” explained Ameen. “To spy on us?” I asked. “The bird is his familiar,” he said. “It’s true. He’s a wizard,” and we lapsed into laughter. “This would be a crappy place for a bird’s nest,” said Elizabeth.
“Should we walk somewhere?” I asked. “Sure let’s go over to the where the sand is,” proposed Ameen and then added helpfully, “Does everyone have their iPads?” and we started giggling all over again. He went on, “The implication being: everyone has one and they are a necessity.” I then gave Ameen the award for funniest person of the day, which I explained was an incredible honor considering how viciously competitive I am about that distinction. He accepted regally seeming not to be very much affected at all.
We made our way towards the beach but the wind had picked up and had become unusually forceful. Once we got to the sand we found that the vigorous wind was doing an excellent job of lifting it up and depositing it in our mouths. “This is horrible I’m getting sand in my mouth,” complained Elizabeth,
“Yes it’s true, there’s no fighting it though, I just hope it doesn’t get in my eyes.”
“Oh yeah that would suck.”
“Sand and eyes are a classically bad combination.”
We saw a middle aged beach bum with his back propped against the sea wall, talking to a couple of Asian tourists. He had a dog with him and Ameen said, “That dog looks bored.” Elizabeth disagreed, “No he looks noble and like he lost some weight.” They solicited me for an opinion, “does it look noble or bored?”
I replied, “does it look like a cloud or a Rorschach test?”
“Rorschach dog!” exclaimed Elizabeth.
The wind continued to blow and the sand continued to make steady progress coating us from head to toe. I looked out on the bay and asked Ameen, “what are those tiny boats?”
“Those are windsurfers,” replied Ameen, “in fact I’m going to go take some pictures of that,” and walked away.
Elizabeth and I laid down to look at the sky. Some time passed and Ameen returned. “You guys wanna go somewhere else.” “Sure, where to?” “Over there maybe” he said gesturing up the beach. I complained again about the wind and Elizabeth asked, “where are we going?” “We’re on a quest,” explained Ameen, “A quest to kill the wind.”
“Oh good,” I said, “finally life has a purpose.”
Eventually we reached a park bench, sheltered against the torrents of air. We sat and watched the beach goers stroll. A woman passed with her dogs. There’s a strong resemblance between people and their pets. Most people get pets because they want a smaller, stupider version of themselves. This lady seemed no exception. Her dogs were pugs and, not surprisingly, she looked a lot like them with short stubby limbs and a body which terminated in a face. Ameen pointed out the resemblance and I said, “yeah the main difference is that she’s walking upright and they’re on all fours. I like to think they only choose to walk on all fours out of respect.”
“So you’re saying they could walk upright but they don’t out of deference to her authority,”
“Yes, because she’s the biggest.”
“But does she make them walk on all fours or do they just let her walk upright?’
“I don’t know actually…”
Ameen pretended to question the woman, “Hey lady! Where’s your power come from?” and then chided the pantomime woman, “think about it.”
Again came the uncontrollable laughter until I noticed the two people walking together toward the water, “Uh oh. Here come the fun police. By which I mean the real police.” They were a man and a woman and Ameen giggled, “Do you think those cops are trying to go on a date?” I affected a stiff, awkward voice, “So you wanna go enforce some statutes sometime? Bust some perps?”
“Can you get in trouble for laughing this much in public?” asked Elizabeth.
We watched the police stand there stiffly and take in the sunset. Eventually, Elizabeth piped up, “I really want to go somewhere and drink my beer. It’s Pliny the Elder.”
“Elizabeth drinks a lot,” I said. She elaborated, “the cup is always full but the bottles get empty.”
We headed back the way we came. I saw one of the windsurfing boards beached and unattended, “someone killed that tiny boat.”
Once we reached the grass it was after six and already there was a volleyball net up and running. We stopped and watched for a moment and then I said, “I’m so glad that the term ‘yuppie’ exists so I can participate in talking shit on white people.”