Thursday, 11 October 2012
A sandy preface to A Little Night Music
Mum loved espionage as was fast becoming apparent! As we drove back to our Motel I asked why she felt it necessary to confirm to Monique that I was George Michael. “Well, you look like him and you can sing” was her reply. “She is very attractive Jonathan, you could do well there”. Now answer me this, what on earth was a sixty year old woman doing using the phrase, “you could do well there?” I asked her the same thing. “Well, she is very beautiful, obviously well educated, has her own place and this is a lovely place to live”. So she marrying me off to a woman we had met only three hours previously and basing her choice on none other than the little known facts to hand. No, she wasn’t a Jewish Mamma but the inference could be drawn.
For my part, one who was ‘heavily’ Sex driven and relationship ‘lite’, my immediate intention, far different from my mothers of course, was to get inside Monique’s knickers as quickly as possible. Given that she believed (did she really?) I was George; I expected that to happen with the minimum of fuss and nonsense. Far from possible marriage, children, settling down in Southern California (I could almost hear Mum’s mind building a tic list of objectives that would result in her having a Granny Annex at her son and daughter-in-laws beachfront home in the sun) and a life envied by many, I was deciding how early the following evening I could drop Mum back at the Motel after dinner. Would there be a need for coffee post meal? Would Mum suggest a nightcap at another bar? Was Mum likely to create a blocker on my amorous pursuit’s saying her health demanded that I bid Monique good evening and take her back to the Motel, tucking her in and lying there dreaming of what if scenarios? Far too much thinking going on for our own good with both our heads filled with plans. One with plans for the rest of their lifetime, the other, with plans limited to the next night. With Mum tucked up in bed in one of her Hospital gowns now her ‘go to’ nightwear, I took a chair outside our Motel room and sat on the walkway, glass of Jack Daniels to hand and wondered about the day and night to come. Eventually I retired as well, far later than normal, with pleasant images flooding my head as I mentally removed Monique’s dress she’d been wearing early that evening.
I awoke the following morning a happy man, our plan for the day ahead was to travel out to Goleta Beach State Park beyond the airport; by the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) campus. The beach forms a spit of sand between the mouth of a river running behind it and to the south and the Pacific Ocean on the other side. There is space for parking, a café and bar where students would pull up in cars with loud music coming from ghetto blasters and pile onto the beach, playing volley ball or generally fooling around. Across the estuary the beach resumed but was now backed by cliffs that led towards Santa Barbara. Most days we’d breakfast on the road, with Mum taking coffee in bed, which I’d make before she rose and showered. Finding Goleta by accident, we had planned to return and so by eleven am we were parking up and walking towards the sand. A group of youths, both boys and girls, had parked up by our car and were sat on their car hoods and were fooling around, smoking and shouting, music blaring out. Mum and I decided we’d wander away down the beach a little and settled on a plot of sand that was interspersed with knots of grass. Towels positioned, we lay back, Walkman on in my case, Marlboro on the go, National Enquirer and a paper cup of coffee in Mum’s hands.
Whilst always conscious of my weight, in fact I did very little to manage it and surprisingly maintained a neat and trim thirty inch waist. Wearing Black Speedo swimming trunks and the Marlboro cigarette stubbed out in an empty cup, I told Mum I was going for a jog and set off towards the end of the spit. The beach was not busy at all so I was not out to pose for once, and tracked along the waters edge until I reached the mouth of the river. It was shallow the middle reaching no deeper than my waist, so I waded in crossing swiftly and carried on jogging past the cliffs.
As I ran I could feel the burn of the sun on the top of my shoulders and enjoyed its warmth. I have always been more of a summer than winter man and the climate of California was all right by me. I had developed anyway, through fair means (sunlight) and foul (sunbed) a deep tan by that point and it felt good to be jogging over the sand, the odd piece of wood, some seaweed and a few plastic bottles the only hazards I needed to dodge as I ran along the seas edge. After a while I stopped and looked back to see that I had travelled further than I'd intended, in fact I had turned along the coast and around the headland losing sight of Goleta Beach altogether. I tracked back around the headland and back past the cliffs straining my eyes to try and identify Mum against the sand, but failed to pick her out. She had moved, probably to get some shade. As I crossed the river and rose up the sand bank I again looked ahead and noted that whilst she was still sat where I had left her, she was sat amongst a large group of people.
I picked up speed and eventually flopped down on my towel quite exhausted to find her looking slightly alarmed. “Where did this lot come from then” I said, gesturing towards the large group of people now easily identified as the group we’d seen at the car park, plus assorted others. “They came over soon after you’d jogged away, I’ve been quite worried Jonathan” she said. Looking at the group more closely it was primarily made up of Hispanic people, who were talking animatedly, smoking dope and drinking beer. There were maybe a handful of white American’s amongst them but as a group, their ages ranged from late teens into their thirties so I guessed that they were not necessarily from the University. Occasionally, one of them would get up and walk back to the cars and return with more beer and I guessed that the afternoon was only going to get louder and more raucous as it progressed, so I said that we’d better pack up, either moving further down the beach towards the university or leaving altogether.
As we packed up, a few shouts came our way along the lines of “Hey, why are you leaving patron” or “Go get me a beer el jefe” the accents and insults were much like the characters in Carlito’s Way, starring Al Pacino! Ignoring their requests we packed up and wandered, as nonchalantly as possible away from them and up the beach towards the café and the car park. As we neared the café where we had decided to sit and have a cold drink, a number of other cars swung into the car park, music blaring, beer swilling youths and adults clambering out as soon as they parked up. I decided that we should hang around for a while to see what would happen and told mum, whereas she was of another mind and would be happy to leave. It made no difference anyway as no sooner had we swapped ideas, than two Police Cars drove into the car park and four Policemen emerged from them. Mum wanted to stay now.
The Police Officers wandered around the cars parked near ours looking in the windows and looking across at the group of people they belonged to. A number of the group, mostly men but one or two women as well, came from the beach waving their arms, around shouting at the Officers, asking what they wanted, what they were doing, they'd "done nothing!"
The Officers remained calm and spoke quietly out of ear shot, but whatever they were saying seemed to have the desired affect as the shouting subsided and the women stopped dancing frantically around the men which had been happening during the commotion. The Officers looked in our direction mainly because the man who appeared to be the main speaker for the group had been pointing at the Café, gesticulating with his arms, which in turn had prompted the others to jump around in what appeared to be a war dance. Once again the Officers spoke and the crowd stopped dancing. Mum was really interested and kept wondering out loud as to what the problem might be? One of the Police officers walked across to the Café, said “Good afternoon” to those gathered around and asked for the owner. A woman stepped forward and walked back towards the group someway, before stopping about thirty metres from them.
They spoke to one another, and then walked across to the main party and wild gesticulations began again, with whoops and screech’s coming from the women. One of the Officers who had obviously had enough of that, grabbed two women, each by an arm and frogmarched them to the beach, the women appearing as rags dolls being dragged across the car park and sand, where he placed them down on the ground, said something and walked back. Not one of the men appeared fazed by this and did nothing to stop the Officer or to protest.
Still more conversation and then the leader said something to one of the other men, who wandered down to the beach, picked up a bag and walked back again. He opened the bag; a Police Officer looked into it and took out bottles of beer and potato chips, showed them to the lady from the Café, who nodded her head. The items were placed back into the bag and the bag passed to the lady. She turned and walked back to the Café muttering to herself as she passed by what was now a substantial crowd gathered under the awning. The guy who produced the bag turned around and was handcuffed by one of the Police Officers, whilst the others wandered back to the beach except the leader who stood watching his compadre getting arrested. The Police Officers placed him in the back of a car got in as well and drove around the car park and out onto the road leading to the Airport.
The crowd at the Café dispersed leaving Mum and I along with a few others still sat at the tables. The owner came out and was asked by someone she obviously knew what had gone on. It transpired that this group had consistently raided her fridges for beer every time they came down to the beach and she had finally had enough. The Police had threatened to search everyone on the beach for drugs, which had set off the shouting and protestations of innocence. The lead Police Officer had said that if they produced the items and the thief owned up and came with them, nothing further would happen, which is what took place. The owner said that the crowd were not necessarily a bad bunch, just that she was sick and tired of losing money on them and that she felt it time to call a halt to their stealing from her.
Mum spoke up then saying it was disgusting behaviour and that they should be ashamed of themselves. Where were their parents she wanted to know? Mum calmed down with more coffee; milky coffee or Café Latte as we came to know it ten years later. Mum said she had been surrounded by them at one point and was preparing to give them a piece of her mind when I came back and extricated her from her predicament. Lucky for them I thought! After such an eventful day we packed up, heading back to the Motel and a rest.
I needed to trim my stubble anyway, as I did not want to scratch Monique’s inner thighs and Mum needed to sleep before dinner.
Written and Posted by Jonathan Weaver