Thursday, July 1, 2010

An Ocean Sunset and Sean Penn

My bike has been languishing in the garage of late.

Three weeks ago I discovered the wonder of on-demand streaming video. I learned that my ten dollar per month Netflix subscription allows me to download and watch a boat load of movies and TV shows on my computer (this may be old news to many, but it's whiz-bang new to me). I have spent more hours than I care to admit viewing five seasons of the series "Weeds" and catching-up on my favorite soap opera from Spain. It's just too easy.

Gratefully, today I hit a wall.

At 5:30 this evening I watched a depressing Chilean film about a woman with her dead-end life as a maid in an upper-crust household. I wasn't so cheery when that was over. "Enough" I declared and forced myself to take a sunset bike ride. As I hit the street, the cool scent of ocean air immediately catapulted me out of slug-dom to contented gratitude. It's just two blocks to Ocean Blvd., with the choppy purple sea on my right, 80 foot palm trees waving overhead.

I headed down to the Santa Monica pier, where plenty of people, dog, bike and volleyball activity was happening. From the the pier, I pedaled north along the beach path. The sun was sliding behind the Santa Monica Mountains and cascading magenta Bougainvillea glowed on a white wall by the bike path. As I continued along the beach, my pedaling quickened with the pace of the waves that crashed on the beach to my left. A trio of pelicans glided three inches above a rolling wave, enjoying its updraft. The wonder of streaming video was meaningless

It was time to head home as the evening's light faded. I walked my bike through the tunnel that crosses under Pacific Coast Highway. When I hoisted my bike up the stairs on the other side, I walked into to another side of L.A. life - the beautiful people. The row of hip restaurants that line this section of Channel Road seems to be one of their destinations.

As valets scurried to keep up with the arriving Mercedes and Lexus', my sweaty self walked my bike along the sidewalk by Hollywood types who were gathering to enter an event at one of the restaurants. I walked by Sean Penn and Benicio del Toro as they talked and smoked cigarettes near the entrance. I didn't envy this well-dressed populace; I was happy to be my gritty self with my lungs full of ocean air.

I pumped up the last hill and rolled into the garage. I was gone just an hour. Now I feel just fine about catching episode 11 of the Spanish soap opera.

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