When I go away from home, I sometimes find myself looking around at the way things are wherever I land. Could I live here? What would I do for work? What would I do for fun? Where would I hang my hat? Sometimes I even do this when I am out for a run in the neighborhood around my house. Could I live in those apartments? Where would I put all my stuff? Could I walk to work from there? Would I have to find a different school to work in?
If my travels take me further down the trail, I might even consider a career change. I woke up on Presidents' Day and went for a run around Bodega Bay. Okay, it wasn't a full circle, since the water has to get into the bay and all. All those fishing boats have to find their way out to the ocean, looking for crab and tourists who want to eat them. The crab that is. As I ran, I started to imagine making a career out of selling diesel fuel to fishermen, or spots on those boats to folks who wandered into the area looking to soak up a little of the local flavor.
Or work in a surf shop. On Valentine's Day my wife and I were waiting for our table to open up for dinner, so we went next door to check out the flip-flops, wet suits and boards. I asked the young man behind the counter, "What? No Date on Valentine's Day?" He shrugged, laughed his laid back surfer laugh and eventually he landed on his response: "The waves are my woman." We laughed our surfer laugh as my wife turned things over to look at their prices and I asked another question: "What percentage of the traffic in here on any given day are surfers versus the number of people who just want to buy something that makes them look like they're surfers?"
He thought for a moment. "Most of our customers are looking for a way to feel like part of the scene. That's why most of the boards and wet suits are upstairs. That way we don't have to -" And that's the line I saw, drawn in the sand. Us and them. I was them. He was us. He was going to get up the next day and go looking for some waves. I was going to get out of bed and pack the car. I wasn't going to serve any clam chowder. I wasn't going to sell any salt water taffy.
I was going home.