I was watching a couple. Twenty-ish white people, they seemed to be going through emotional turmoil. Separated by six feet, they entered the noisy coffee shop. She, a blond, was in the lead with her arms crossed over her belly, casting stoic eyes over the coffee shop population and then the menus on the wall. Taller and darker, he came in behind her with awkward shuffling, moved closer to her, leaned in and spoke. Without answering, she turned, stepped around him, and left. He stood for a moment, staring at nothing as though thinking, and then turned and pursued her.
I watched them through the large front window. They’d come in a new-generation red Camaro convertible. I noticed it as it pulled up, as sunlight flashed off its polish. She didn’t walk toward it, but drifted toward the crosswalk to go across the highway with the same stiff body as before. He watched her, then put his head down and stood for several seconds. As she reached halfway across the road, he went after her, but with a slow pace. Then he looked back at their car, paused in the crosswalk, and continued on after the girl.
I lost sight of them. The red Camaro was still there when my wife and I left. Soft Cell’s 1981 medley of “Tainted Love” and “Where Did Our Love Go” streamed into my thoughts.
I slept fantastically well this week, but had so many dreams. One that stayed with me, though…
I was shopping. At first I thought I was in a department store like Macy’s, and then I thought I was in a mall. I was looking at clothing and shoes, and picked a few things up for myself. When I went to pay, I couldn’t figure out where to pay. That exasperated me. I debated with myself in my dream, should I put this stuff back, just leave it here, or go on? Watching others didn’t help. I didn’t see anyone paying, and didn’t see any clerks, cashiers, or registers.
Without embracing a decision, I wandered, and found myself in a grocery store. Hanging onto my previous selections, I found a shopping cart, and picked up some produce. Spying a register, I hurried to it to pay for everything, hoping that I could there. When I arrived there, I pulled out my money. There was a register but no cashier. Maybe it was self-pay, I thought.
Then, a nasally female voice came over the loudspeaker. “We just learned that you’re not supposed to pay.”
I paused to consider that announcement. Was that directed to me, or someone else, or everyone? As I pondered, a young woman came up and told me, “We’re paying for you. It’s already been taken care of.”
“Who paid for me?”
She was busy collecting materials and doing things, as store personnel often are, and scarcely paid attention to me. “It’s been taken care of.”
“Who paid for me. I want to thank them, at least.”
The young woman waved her hand. “Don’t worry. It’s been taken care of.”
Friends were renting a house in Waldport, Oregon, three bedrooms, three baths. They’d invited their family. Their family couldn’t make it. Would we like to come?
Twist our arms, ouch, ouch, okay, we give, we give, we’ll come! The house wasn’t on the beach, but on a bluff that overlooks the beach, less than a quarter mile to the beach. Topology and beach access rules and agreements made it a ten minute walk to the beach. Not a problem.
We drove through pouring rain to reach Waldport. The sky ratcheted down to a gray sunshine the first night, permitting a walk on the beach. Waldport has fine, sandy beaches, flat, wide, and unpopulated by many others in September. Rain drenched the area that night. We awoke to a misty gray day, but that burned off. Sunshine and blue skies arrived and hung out with us for the next few days, a very welcome guest. Temperatures jumped into the high sixties, flirting with seventy-one inland.
Waldport is a small, comfortable town. Not many eateries called to us but Yachats ten miles to the south and Newport fifteen miles to the north were easy drives up Highway 101. Down in Yachats, we returned to Luna Sea Food twice, and also visited the Green Salmon for some excellent coffee and food. Once again, we struck out when we tried to visit Bread and Roses, as it was closed for the week! Dinner on Tuesday was at the Adobe restaurant in Yachats, where the dining room presented us with an excellent seat to watch the sunset as we ate and drank.
I walked on the beach at least twice a day, in addition to our daily hiking. For the week, I ended up with sixty-five miles on my Fitbit, which was the same as the previous two weeks. I often walked barefoot in the shallows, enjoying the sun-warmed waters churning over my feet.
Meanwhile, we had terrific companions, Marcia, Art, and Lucy. The owners’ net situation kept us off computers except to check email once in a while. We traveled the local coastline, hiking, and visiting the sights. We also walked the Alsea Bay Bridge. Just three quarters of a mile long, the bay’s water were fantastically clear and often shallow. Seals sunned and swum below us, entertaining us with their pastimes (yes, we’re easily entertained). Amanda’s trail in Yachats offered a more challenging walk, giving us fifty flights of steps on our Fitbits, and offering terrific views of the Pacific. Signs warned us about a mama bear and her cubs in the area, so we stayed on guard.
Amanda’s head has been washed away, and has been replaced by a smaller, carved statue of her. Her sad history, shared too many times with other people across America, remains to remind us how inhumane and barbaric Americans and Europeans often treat others.
A return visit to Cape Perpetua was in order, with its short hike to the CCC era stone shelter.
When we were back at the house, time was passed reading, chatting, eating, cooking, drinking wine, and gazing out at the ocean. The moon was waxing and was almost a full moon by the week’s end, splashing its gorgeous glow over the calm, rolling ocean. Not much writing was done, but batteries were drained and recharged.
Got my coffee, and my ass is in the chair. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.