There are so many places that I haven’t seen and things that I haven’t done. Will I do them? Maybe. Who knows?
Will I ever see the sunset from the beaches in St Tropez or St Maxima, or further south at Bormes-Les-Mimosas? Will I ever have the chance to sink my feet into the sands in any of these places, which are more like dreams to me. There are fantasies of fancy names of places that are written in travel columns and make the mind go, “hmm, I wonder.”
I have not seen anything so exotic in my life. At least not yet. But maybe one day.
Like I said, “who knows?”
For now, I am thinking of what morning looks like at a place just north of the border, San Diego, a few miles up from Mexico where the lands are more imaginary than fact to me.
I was here not too long ago. Then again, maybe it was a long time ago. Although, anything that took place before the great pandemic seems like it happened in another lifetime – and maybe it did. In reality, this was only a few years back before the mask mandates and the fear mongers took us over with reports of the virus.
I wonder what breakfast time would be like if I was stationed on the beach in a little chair at sunrise. I could sit in the silvery mist of quiet and enjoy the scene while the Pacific hissed with its waves touching the shores.
The sun would be coming up from behind. Keep in mind, this is a different position for me. I am an East coast kid born, bred and raised on the New York side of things. This means the sunrise is always emerging on my side of the country and setting on the other.
Oh, and speaking of sunsets . . .
I have seen sunsets before. I have seen pretty ones too but, in all fairness, I have never viewed a sunset like the ones I saw while visiting Imperial Beach in San Diego. Perhaps this is a spot that I might return to – or maybe not but alas, this spot was pivotal for me. This is a place where I was able to process a viewpoint that I would have never known unless I had seen it with my own eyes.
I was addressed with respect by a short little woman, humble as could be with almond shaped eyes but no English to her voice; to which I was regarded as someone there on behalf of El Patron, The Boss, otherwise regarded as El Indio or Indian.
I can say that yes, this opened my eyes. I can say that yes, I want to see the world from different perspectives. I want to meet different people from different towns. I want to be invited in for a while so we can sit down and eat a big meal.
Now, I am told that different parts of the world will celebrate their meals differently. To be clear, I am someone who needs food, bread, appetizers or something to eat as soon as I sit down. This is not gluttonous but for me, this is more cultural.
But I can learn.
I can learn to slow down. Take it easy.
I can learn to enjoy or allow myself the tender moments of sitting amongst loving people who prefer to do nothing else than express their generosity with an exceptional meal; as if to say welcome, stay for a while this place is yours too.
I wonder though . . .
What would Greece be like at this time of year? Or what about Spain near the Iberian Peninsula? I’ve ordered some meats from this part of the world, which only make me wonder more – and the key word is “more” as if to emphasize or long for something – to want a thought, a feeling, a momentary pattern of bliss, and have the rearview meanings all become forgotten beneath the sunlight and warming, like tanned skin after absorbing love from the sunbeams.
I want to know what a meal tastes like in places like Santa Maria del Focallo or Lido, or Punto Rio. I want to know what the morning looks like and, better yet, I want to enjoy an evening when the sun goes down at Bova Marina and see what the towns look like, humble as ever, as if to explain that there’s no need for all the hustle and bustle.
There’s no need to be a big bad money-maker or to announce myself as a proud American, which I am – but more importantly, I want to be someplace where identity politics evaporates into the sea and town folks do nothing else but smile as if even strangers are their family.
There was a time when I was limited. Or better yet, there was a time when my vision was muted and all that I knew was all that I was accustomed to. This meant the world around me; as in the same places and the same faces – the Downtown scene, the Eastside or the Westside, Chelsea, or places like the bars that no longer open and doors which no longer close because these places are nonexistent now; and the life I knew has now become outdated and antiquated like human conversation which has been revamped and overrun by the amalgamation of our current technology.
Remember when people used to talk?
Texting was more like a chore. Emails were subordinate to the spoken word and business deals were good enough to be handled over a handshake.
Perhaps I was limited but at least I lived. At least my vision wasn’t blurred by a tiny screen on a cell phone. Now to add color to my life, I admit to myself that life is moving much faster than I expected. Therefore, I want to see more. I want to do more. I want to know more because the last thing I want to do is sink into the abysmal depths of ignorance.
I had a dream as a young man and dare I admit it; then I must admit the interception of my dreams were predicated by lies and mistruths from outside influences. This means I had allowed certain lies to infect my insides – or my beliefs.
Put simply, someone told me that what I wanted was something that couldn’t be done.
What did I do?
I believed them (up until now).
I want to be a kid again.
I want to be 18 again “Going where I’ve never been.”
That’s a song, you know?
The ending lyrics are as follows:
“Time turns the pages and life goes so fast
The years turn the black hair all gray
I talk to some young folks but they don’t understand
The words this old man got to say
Oh I wish I was eighteen again…”
My old friend Kenny once sent me a letter which comes to my memory from time to time. The letter was from my youth at a time when I was in trouble, which is something Kenny knew about.
Kenny knew plenty about my trouble. He and I used to trade scars and tell lies about the places we were and the things we’d seen. Of course, Kenny was much older than me. His habit had different intentions and his efforts were more deliberate than mine. He was a grown man. And me, I was a little puppy who thought I had a big bark.
The letter Kenny sent was originally sent to my Mother. However, Mom wanted me to see this. So, Mom sent the letter to me when I was living on “the farm.”
Kenny and I both had a thing for longhair rebellions.
Kenny explained, “Tell Benny that my hair is shorter than ever.”
“Tell him that I think he’s doing the right thing.”
“Tell him that it took me dying to find out what it really means to be alive.”
To the best of my knowledge, I have never responded to your letter. If the universe would be so kind, I hope that wherever you are, hopefully at peace, – I hope that this note finds you well and in good form. I hope that you know that I’ve never forgotten your words and yes, I’m still here.
I did like you said and stuck it out, which wasn’t so easy at times.
I have to say though, there are times when I forget about your message. There are times when I lose myself in “the life” and forget what it means to really live.
You said it took you dying to know what it means to be alive. Well, I suppose I’ve died a thousand times in my life and, fortunately, I was able to be reborn just as many times. But one day, just like you – I will reach the sunset of my days the same as you did.
Come to think of it, I am older now than you were when you sent me this letter. I wish I still had the page. Instead, I just hold its memory in my heart because, in fairness, this came at a time when your words saved my life.
We didn’t know each other for long. But we knew each other long enough.
And for that, I am grateful –
Oh, an hey Kenny
Do they still ride Harley’s in Heaven?
I’m sure the open roads by you are far more perfect than anything I can imagine.
Well, anyways, keep your pack rolled up tight. Ride on and ride safely. If you can (somehow) it would be cool to go for a cup of coffee and have a meal in one of the aforementioned places.
Or wait. Dig it, that’s what dreams are for.