West coast best coast

I haven’t lived in northern California for five years, so I forgot how toasty and ideal Septembers in the bay area are. Growing up, September warmth felt like anything but perfection. In high school, the first week of junior year was scorching hot and miserable. One afternoon, Crystal and I trekked the three-mile distance from the high school to my house, dripping with sweat and sunburned the entire journey. We were soaked and dehydrated by the time we reached my neighborhood and cursed the anomolous sweltering heat.

Of course, I forgot all about Scotts Valley September weather when I booked my trip home a few weeks ago. Because D.C. is starting to cool down, I was under the impression that northern California would be overcast and chilly as well. Thankfully, it’s still pretty hot outside, so the weather that bothered me as a teen brings me a great deal of happiness now.

As soon as I arrived home this afternoon, I took 11-year-old spry Roxy for a walk. She hasn’t lost her feisty spirit but has aged considerably since my April visit. Her brown fur eye patch has faded and eyesight regressed. Poor girl. Regardless, she maintains high energy and is always up for a stroll in the park.

Later on, I headed to the beach, which was fairly deserted. Though I swam in the waves and felt refreshed afterward, the experience was nothing without childhood friends Lauren, Crystal, and Nikita. The four of us used to enjoy running through the icy water as a unit, and almost every time we stepped into the ocean, my bikini flew off from the forceful waves. The accident is significantly less funny when you’re alone!

For dinner, my mom and I went to my favorite Mexican restaurant by the water. Fulfilling new Oregonian Crystal’s request, I took a picture of the burrito I ordered:

It’s nice to be around cheerful people again. Earlier today, my mom and I had lunch at a breakfast diner in Campbell called Stacks and had a lengthy chat with the waitress. She wasn’t chatty off the bat, but approached us a few minutes after delivering our meals and said she had a story to share.

“So this is kind of random, but I was just watching TV and saw that a 25-year-old guy won the lottery,” she said. “His dad is a real estate big name, so he lives on one of his father’s properties and makes more than $60,000 a year on his own. It’s infuriating and unfair beyond belief.”

We were both outraged that this dude essentially stole the lottery. I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve the cash, but plenty of other lottery participants who aren’t living off their parents could really use the extra funds. The two of us ranted about the injustice for a few minutes and made a pact to split lottery proceeds should either of us ever win the absurd game (but I never play anyway). It’s nice to converse with random folks again. I feel like it’s impossible and unheard of for something like this to ever happen on the east coast, where everyone has places to be and zero time for small talk.

When I exited the San Jose airport this afternoon and took in the outdoor breeze, I realized I’d never been happier to return to the west coast. While I probably wouldn’t want to reside here again, I’ve concluded I need a California trip every couple of months to restore my faith in humanity. People out west know how to live, run non-chain restaurants and businesses, eat well, and treat strangers. Au contraire, who could get any work done with the beach in such close proximity? I’m certainly not disciplined enough to stay away from the relaxing water, so I’m better off living far from it.


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