The sunset did what the amber glow on the horizon always does. I sat on a concrete step, a few feet from others with the same goal as I. We clutched our cameras. We held our breath; we waited and watched. A long sigh rippled among us when the last ray eased across the distant bank of clouds. Sunday ended with a lovely feeling of rightness.
A squabble with the desk agent at checkout threatened to crater the joyful spirit with which I strove to embrace Monday. Slightly disgruntled, I drove north to Pacifica, where the waves crashed against the flood walls and the mist rose in the morning air. I parked in one of the accessible spots at Nick’s at Rockaway Beach with an appetite and a hopeful mood.
A friendly smile from the window washer prompted me to check the time. Just twelve minutes until they opened. I leaned against the door and watched a small crowd gather, folks as eager as I to partake of good, simple food and hot restaurant coffee. I chatted with a couple who told me that they had met at Nick’s twenty years ago at a ballroom dancing event. The wife beamed; the husband looked sheepish. He seemed to be about seventy, perhaps a good ten years older than she. We shared stories, though for some reason, none of us mentioned our names.
Breakfast did not disappoint, with fluffy scrambled eggs, a reasonable portion of potatoes, and extra fruit. The server kept my coffee filled. When I asked for the check, she leaned down to whisper that the couple by the window — they of the twenty-year marriage — had paid my bill. I stood to thank them, to the man’s blush, and the woman’s radiant smile. I still did not get their names.
I drove further northward, to the Pacifica Pier, where I watched a man scatter clumps of bread to the seagulls. After a peaceful hour, I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge in a fog bank and made for Sausalito and then, eventually, home. I haven’t yet decided if I made the wisest choice to spend two days and a few hundred dollars on the coast. But I hope to carry this pleasant feeling into the dawn of my sixty-ninth year. The kindness of strangers and the song of the sea will certainly help.
It’s the fourth day of the one-hundred and seventeenth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.