America Day 46 -Driftwood

My work was over by lunchtime today, and Jono’s as well. What better opportunity to get out of San José. Although I’ll need to see some redwood trees before I leave this area for good, today’s agenda became about getting to the Pacific Ocean. It’s not far, and after yesterday’s blog you’ll know I’m in need of something a bit wild and unruly. You can’t do much better than an ocean on that front.


We stuck a pin in the map at a place called Pescadero, and drove out there as soon as we were finished. Off to the ocean. Winding roads through woodlands without much traffic, narrow with dead hares and “Beware of the deer”. As my old friend and teacher Martin helped me realise, it doesn’t take much to get out of the concrete jungle here. Pescadero itself was settled by the Portuguese in the 1860’s or thereabouts and commands some good vistas and beaches. We stopped near an island full of pelicans and contemplated the vasty ocean. Nothing to the west until Hong Kong. I went for a stroll along the beach. Not much in the way of shells. Plenty of crab carapaces, big bits of wrack, and lying up on the rocks, many curious bits of driftwood, bleached clean by the sun. I drift through the driftwood, looking for a piece I can take home – a memento of this moment that will sit on a table in my home full of meaning to me, bereft of meaning to anybody but me. As I’m there, lost in the rocks and wood, I realise I’m not alone. Between me and the sea two lovers sit, contemplating one another. She sits on his feet as he faces the sea. They are locked into each other’s eyes. He has the sea before him but all he sees is her. She has her back to it, barefoot and wet – when I reached this piece of beach she was running in the surf. While I’ve been looking for wood she has come to him and when I notice them together I feel like an intruder. Their regard is so intense. Here I am, this wildhaired man drying out with all the other driftwood. There, too close, these two strangers. And amidst the driftwood here at the end of the world I remember firmly what I lack. I don’t think of it often, that hole in my life where love might be. I’ve found so much intimacy with friends, so much ease to shoot each other’s shit. I’ve filled all the holes but that one (wahay). Seeing them together with me in the driftwood really brought it home to me.

We got back in the car and struck for home down the coast road, better to be back in time to connect with our friends as they finish work, we think. But they’re all massively exhausted and going to bed immediately.

I need a conversation and I’m back in this faceless hotel room. That’s the lack. If you’ve got parents or a lover there’s a reliable place for that. You can give and receive these heavy conversations and make them lighter. I’ve got a weight in my chest. I don’t know quite what to do with it.

Get on with it I guess. Hi ho. Stiff upper lip and Netflix.

Early bed is good if I can sleep. It’s a two show day tomorrow. It’s gonna be harsh.

I was wandering in to get some food and ran into my friends heading home, equally emotionally confused. Good to connect for a moment and know I’m not alone in conflict.

We have all been on the road a long time now. It’s to be expected. I’ve decided to solve my malaise in one of the tried and tested ways for me: Expensive food, solo. Oh God. No wonder I’m often broke. But tonight, my dears…

Tonight I’m sitting at a place that I think is called Fleming’s Overpriced Steak and Fuck You House. I put a shirt on for it. I’m getting a rib eye and lobster truffle bearnaise caviar monstrosity and to hell with the lot you. I’ll wash it down with a solid quaff of Chateau Bastard and my bank balance can go suck a goat.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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