“Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart
O when may it suffice?” – W.B. Yeats
You don’t see the signs. Especially in these times of gaiety lost amongst an otherwise grey and somber season.
“I don’t smoke!” he replies.
You’ve taught him well. Some other son may have gotten defensive in response to the random, hapless drunk. But this kid is different. He’s got compassion. Not the stuff of the market that places a monetary value upon the charity unto others. No, not that! Compassion for him is the ability to access a situation, identify what is needed and do whatever he can. Maybe he’ll become something other than a Kerouac-ian but for now… that’s enough.
“What do you hear from Dad? “ The serendipity doesn’t escape you as you walk past the Newport Avenue ghost of VFW Post 1392.
“He’s still in recovery up at the VA. I don’t think he’ll be able to see us though he wishes you well…” You lie just a little. It’s been reduced to a reflex now. What’s in us that causes a collective rejection of our military veterans when the wounded tatters of their glory days are no longer of economic significance to us?
“How about Guy?”
“Oh that! He still can’t get over the fact that his character is imaginary.”
“Yeah, like us, his character lives in a world of words not deeds. A world where things get debated, not done. An ideal world where very little gets implemented just discussed. A world where, not even the tiles beneath your feet are set in concrete. Forget about the notion of words having consequences! For us, ‘Les Mots et les Choses’… is the order of things.
“Well I like being a fictional character! I can do whatever I want!”
“Whatever your creator wants, you mean.”
“Don’t get religious on me, Mom. Not as we breakfast amongst the heathen.”
Once inside “The Newbreak” you encounter Kathy Blavatt and her husband Ray. Not just the photographs that adorn the walls or the illustrations of the “Caffeine Diaries”. Those things are in the Abbott Newbreak. Here on Sunset Cliffs are the real Kathy and Ray Blavatt. Photographer, author and illustrator. Leaving aside that ‘Almost Famous’ walk up Newport, you engage Kathy in a real discussion about real things. In particular the southwest corner of Abbott and Saratoga. Good thing too! After all, here are some real people who make up for “accomplishment” by being creative.
Upon leaving Newbreak, “I wish that Kathy had won her bid for San Diego City Council. And I really like her notion that the question of Saratoga and Abbott should be approached from the lack of handicapped parking.”
“Don’t get your hopes up, Sunny.” you caution “That’s a tactical question. Try to put yourself in the role of Sun Tzu’s Sage Commander. What do you come up with?”
“Taking Whole! Basing your decisions on the five appraisals. Making a strategic decision and not just a tactical one.”
“…or end up with a Stebbins Residence.”
“Let’s go up to the Tower and start now…” He with the impatience of youth “…and when we’re done, I’ll stand upon the Wall butt naked with a bottle of beer, pipe and cigarette in hand declaring, ‘Look Ma’, I’m King of the World!’”
“Sun…Dance…Moon, if you do, I’ll have you arrested for attempted cliché. Besides I think there’s a real story in here somewhere and I want to give my Guy a chance to make a contribution. Why don’t you be a good little boy and run around in a stingy brim fedora pretending to be a hipster?”
His senses detect the snare of fashion cliché hidden in your matronizing tone. “Like everyone else? Fuck that!” Changing the topic, “Do you think that Dad will let me visit him?” He doesn’t always hear his full name coming from a ‘Mom’ but when he does it stirs in him a deep and vital sense of responsibility.
“Why don’t you call him?” as you break into a broad smile. ‘This is my son’ you think. ‘My only…and he’s a character!’
A time was that you could see the signs. But this is not the time. How could you? You have to walk the freaking alleys of Ocean Beach just to get a whiff of reality anymore. There are too many latte sipping yuppies on the streets. There are too many luxury foreign vehicles too. There are too many poor schnooks at the potlatch and not enough VW’s. But ahh, the alleys of O.B., where the perennial city of dreams lives on.
But is it a bad thing that ‘Terriers’ has taken somewhat of a bloom off the rose. Who would have thunk it!? By elevating downscale Ocean Beach to a movie set, they did something that enriched them not but made Allison W. Maris, private eye, all the lesser.
“I think Shakespeare…” said Guy.
“The hell…” you say. “Besides, I think he was talking about someone’s reputation, not the O.B. City of Dreams.
“It’s just the time of our season, Allie” Guy says
“Yeah the season of war and the season of greed.” you say
“To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.” Guy retorts
“And the storms that come with it. ‘Wars and lechery nothing else holds fashion’ Forget about it, Guy. I need you to help with some legwork.”
“Anything for you, doll.” He knows you love it when he talks like this. It means you’re ready to play ‘Allison W. Maris, private eye.’
And Guy once thought that the fog crept in on little cat feet. In the midst of the latest rumor of war you can see that the early morning haze has left a bigger footprint in Ocean Beach. It’s not just the climate and the thundering breakers upon the shore that have left you with the music of Weimar Rundfunk ringing in your ears. Funny about that! The soundtrack of your fantasy world today is more that of pre-Hitlerite Germany than depression era America. Not that you haven’t heard it before.
But as you and Guy go down to the sea wall, the jetsam and flotsam of our pauperized working class are all the more apparent. It is only appropriate that the beach, up to and including the lifeguard tower are closed today because of the salt water pollutants and exceptionally high seas. This situation requires more work than looking at parking and staring up at the princess of tides.
Guy Luna’s Report
There are sixteen (16) Units at 1984-92 Abbott St. in Ocean Beach, CA 92107. Fourteen (14) above ground parking spaces are used to service this location. Adjacent parking includes sixty-six (66) public parking spaces of which three (3) are dedicated to the handicapped. In addition, there are thirteen (13) parking spaces around the lifeguard tower, six (6) of which are used for (presumably) lifeguard parking, three (3) are reserved for emergency vehicles, three (3) dedicated to service vehicles of which one (1) remains for a maintenance vehicle.
County parcel map number: 448-010-18 includes the parcels 15-19 of 1984-92 Abbott Street. This southwest corner of Abbott St. and Saratoga Ave. in O.B. is currently assessed at the value of 3,276,653 (USD). The sale of this property was recorded in July 2010 to 1984 Abbott LLC which uses the address of:
1984 Abbott LLC
c/o Clark Realty Capital LLC
3655 Nobel Dr. #500
San Diego, CA 92122-1051
“Nice work, Guy.” You say as you follow his directions around the net.
“Check out Sunshine’s link: http://www.americanrestroom.org/us/lajolla/index.htm
…in addition to the parking and real estate,” He says, “It might provide some more fuel to our literary beach bonfire.”
“Not just yet, honey.” you interrupt, “I’m doing a Google search of Clark Realty Capital LLC in San Diego”
“I’ll call.” Guy asserts. After a while, “Sunshine thinks that we might just have an opening to create a real people park in O.B.”
“Gimme the phone.” You demand, your jealousy only slightly camouflaged, “Like the disabled, the traveler? Uh huh…”, as your tele-conversation drifts off into a discussion about the differences and similarities amongst the homeless and the houseless.
“Why would a real estate developer that takes pride in its accomplishments in the public arena want a property that is slated for upscale condo development?” Guy asks looking through http://www.clarkrealty.com/
“Maybe they want to create upscale public housing in O.B.” you muse. “Anyway, Sunshine thinks you should go talk to Danny.”
“I’d rather smoke medical marijuana in hell than talk to that mope.”
“Wait, I’ll turn the heat up.” you suggest.
But Guy knew it would different this time. Three times he’s crossed paths with Dan Morales. Once in his youth, once in the Navy and this time here in Ocean Beach. Coming from a place where ‘Busting Balls’ is the national pastime, Danny Morales has a well earned reputation as being somewhat goofy and a bit of a prick. But it was different this time. Wearing a ‘Veterans for Peace’ sweatshirt Danny provided an existential take on Guy’s current dilemma.
You still don’t see the signs. How could you? Abbott and Saratoga has been sold. Writers, poets, librarians and their imaginary creatures are crying in the valley of the shadow, in a wilderness of powerlessness, under a rule of swords. The phenomenal world becomes manifest when reduced to writing but it takes real people to make a difference. For Danny Morales this is Guy’s dilemma.
Your dilemma too, Allison W. Maris! So as Guy recounts his conversation with the legend in his own mind, you eagerly listen.
“Danny said that Frank Gormlie introduced the Ragsters to Jon Christiansen, who was some financial bigwig in county government and he suggested…”
“Who suggested?” you ask seeking clarity
“Jon C. suggested that we establish a community service area (CSA) to provide a financial platform for converting this private property into a use that would benefit the public good. Danny went on to further suggest that we add the land of Ocean Beach Park and convert it into a ‘Veterans Park’ with increased parking, facilities and access for the disabled.” Guy says.
“But who can do…?” just as caller i.d. displays SD Moon, distracting your attention.
“Anyway…” Guy continues “I ran into Julie Klein at OB Hardware and added my suggestion that we use the CSA to rebuild the lifeguard tower as well and incorporate the old OBMA police trailer in it as a memorial to the veterans of 9/11. You know what she said?”
“That would be fantastic” you pronounce as you spell out the text in reply to your son’s message. This time the serendipity slips past your head. “My son is going up to the VA to visit his father” you say instead.
Synchronicity being a moment in time, Guy’s face went from being awestruck to pensive. He thought in mute silence,
“Of all the words of sword and pen
The saddest are these;
It might have been”