It’d been a long time since I’d been on Westward Beach road in Malibu. I’ve certainly driven by it many times in the last eight years. I guess I just never went back because it was the scene of two young love crimes. The first, a dinner with a girl that was so ill-timed I waited years before coming back. When I did come back, it was the scene from childhood where a cop shines a flashlight in your car and you think there must be a murder going on somewhere more important than stopping a kid from making out. Shenanigans.
We were starting the weekend off at a restaurant hailed by locals and nestled up to the water. You even had to park on the sand. We entered to find the Lakers winning and we took an elevator up to the second floor where our table was. It was almost too dark to read the menus and the ocean outside was dark. We started we went after some Tanqueray and tonic with extra lime and I toasted my departed grandfather, fighter of the Pacific who had one of these every night we went out to dinner. There were never quite enough limes for his drink. I am sad that he will not shake my hand on my wedding day. I had always pictured it. This night was my fiancee and my four year anniversary. Cheers, grandpa.
We drink enough that the foggy beach night air isn’t that cold. Another ten miles to the Trancas Market where I bought beach sandwiches through my youth. It’s right by the beaches I snuck away to. There is a man so drunk he cannot figure out the automatic door. I am impressed by him. He looks like a bear that found people clothes. Inside, we get Coronas, sunscreen and some Starburst. I feel like the summer is coming. My head seems poised to turn off for a bit. I feel lucky.
The final stretch to the house is dark and winding as we pass Decker and Leo Carrillo. Just passed Neptune’s Net we miss the turn and flip around into the tiny driveway where a commotion is happening. There is a Jewish summer camp up atop the mountain and they are playing some loud music. I may be drunk from dinner, but I feel like they are doing some karaoke. It’s all lost on me. We enter the house and it is incredible. It’s surreal.
We’re out on the balcony and the ocean looks freezing as it jets under the house. We’re on the black line on the map. There is nowhere left to go west besides the sea. Morgan tells me how the tide shifts the rocks on the beach and the house will shake from time to time. I plan to drink enough not to notice. It is all niceties right now. Morgan has some 18 Year Old Yamazaki and he dispenses it generously. Life is amazing sometimes. You somehow break into a better life than your own. Suddenly you have the Pacific to your left and your friends around you and scotch you cannot afford. All you have to do is remember it and write it down. All you have to do is make sure you can smile back on it.
I start to think if this was every night, would it still feel as good? Maybe the better life is the life I have, where I am on the edge of these things and randomly, freakishly they seem to present themselves as opportunities. Maybe that is the key. Being close enough to occasionally experience something better. So many times repetition ruins even the best things. Maybe I am on top of the world.
I wake up to knocking on the door and the Kentucky Derby being run. Whacked out old folks drunk off mint julep in ridiculous hats. Hunter S. Thompson met Ralph Steadman at Churchill Downs. I wonder if I will ever go? If I do, who might I meet? Imagine if I met the person who would draw me like a ink spotted monster and immortalize me. I better keep writing. I better get sharper and more concise. Starting now, end paragraph.
I climb a mountain with my friends and find the Pacific expansive. It looks like it is bracing itself for warmer days ahead. Today, is that deceptive kind of sunlight that is not very hot, but looks like it is. We’re out of breath and we’re talking and none of the subject matter matters. I, for one, am happy up here. No one is expecting anything of me this weekend save for finding the bottom of the bottle and wind in my lungs.
There is a failed attempt at sea kayaking. The water is icy and gets rougher the more Morgan tries to get out there. He capsizes and it becomes obvious that we may need to wait a few months or at least not drink so much beforehand. I get into my knees, but hit a level where it is just torture. Keith, of course, has just dove in headfirst. Emerging from the cold water, he looks like he’s been beaten by a gauntlet of aluminum bats.
The afternoon is spent knee deep in spiked tonic water on the rooftop watching wind surfers tag the coastline with frothy wake. You forget the simple pleasure of watching a five hour arc of the sun’s path. Eventually we saw the sun dip under the horizon and the night got cold. Suddenly the beach towel I had been wearing as a scarf was not cutting it.
I drank a bit of Pepto (would this go well with a vodka floater?) and changed into a regrettable outfit. My hair was wild (the Bieber look), my shoes were boat shoes and I hid beneath a cardigan. My friends were all over me. For three days now I have repeated the outfit just to throw society off. So far, so good.
We ate steak and drank whiskey and smoked cigars. The ocean was loud and the girls were inside talking with the music on. At one point, a Cuban Morgan had was not lighting well in the wind for Keith. Morg went to ash it before relighting it, but he turned around after tapping it over the railing with an annoyed look. “It’s gone” he said. He had simply tossed it into the ocean. I laughed from the belly. It reminded me one time as a little boy at Mile High Stadium in Denver when I dropped my ticket in the urine trough because I was so nervous pissing in front of a bunch of old guys.
We were lazy the next morning as we got our stomachs back. We took all day to leave, probably because nobody wanted to. My Corona tasted sour because it wasn’t imbibed on Friday. The Lakers won as did the Dodgers. This weekend was without defeat. The only thing that could kill it was Monday.
Driving home it was the perfect color of sunlight. I felt good. It made me want to feel good more often. It is easy to find yourself harping on the things and people in life that leave you disappointed, or in the least dissatisfied. It was good to remember that you can find a wave of whiskey to surf out of nowhere. You are always a moment from the next great adventure. If your eyes are open, you will be able to jerk the wheel in time to sneak off the road you are on for a quick detour through hazy, exciting waters. That’s why I live in this city. There are plenty of off ramps on the freeway.