Monday, August 11, 2008

The Only Place I Think Of With Regret

I don't know how I can leave San Diego and avoid regret. When I was here the first time earlier this year, there was a whole list of things I had wanted to do that we just couldn't cram in. Now that I've gotten to do a couple of those things on this trip, I just keep thinking about all of the stuff that's still on the list, and the items that have been added to it since arriving this weekend.

And now I'm sitting in the San Diego airport, waiting for a delayed flight back to NYC, regretting having changed my flight from the redeye to a more reasonable noon flight. Maybe I should've gone to the desert like I'd originally planned...Or hangliding...Or Mexico...

I'm in no rush to get back to the East Coast, but the changes in time zones over the last few weeks have really upset my system, and I'm getting no sleep after waking up (sans alarm!) at 6 a.m. or earlier every day. Last night I could barely keep my eyes open or my yawning mouth shut, and I had to take a nap just to make it through a party that ran from 8-11 p.m. Weak. So when I woke up at 6 this morning, I called JetBlue and bought the last seat on the earlier flight (in a genius flight-changing service called "same day confirmed"), which now might be severely delayed because of storms in New York. I guess a day sitting on the floor at the airport gate on my laptop is less tiring than driving to the desert. But my aching bones are mad at me.

cheese plate custardDespite having to work early in the morning, late in the afternoon and evening, I did have a good day yesterday. I didn't want to regret not visiting some of the great places we discovered on our last trip, so I had a nice leisurely solo breakfast at Cafe Chloe, whose atmosphere is both California and French, and whose details always delight me, right down to the liquid soap they use in the bathroom. I had the savory custard of the day - a chanterelle and fava concoction so smooth you could spread it on the brown bread toast points that surrounded it. With a pungent cheese plate and some tupelo honey on the side, I didn't need to go exploring anywhere exotic that moment. I just ate. And smiled.

Cabrillo tidepools

I had a bit of free time in midday so I visited Point Loma, a San Diego lighthousepeninsula which houses a military reserve and the Cabrillo National Monument, a national park which also features the harbor's historic first lighthouse. Even if you don't care much about visiting statues of European explorers or poking your head into the tower of a lighthouse, Point Loma is a great place to visit to see beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean and the entire San Diego shoreline, skyline and the mountains in the distance. You can also drive down to the tidepools to watch and listen to the ocean waves crashing into the rocks, too tumultuous for surfing or swimming, but picturesque nevertheless.

Apparently it's also a nature preserve with lots of birds, insects, snakes and rodents, but all I saw was a squirrel.

The lighthouse is small and modest, more house than light, and definitely would be dwarfed by the Fire Island lighthouse I recently climbed. But it's still in many ways a beacon, and rises high above the city and above the lighthouse at the tip of the Point which subsequently replaced it.

It's rare that I fall in love with a place. I always want to discover new places, sacrificing revisiting the stops I've enjoyed in the past. But I can't get my mind off coming back to San Diego, maybe next month, definitely next year. But at what point does a city or a town or a hamlet become more than just a great vacation spot, and instead a place you'd actually want to live? How would I find a job there? Would someone want to marry me there? Would I make any friends? Where would I live?

Don't get me wrong. I love New York. It makes a great base camp for all my wild excursions, both near the city and far away. But NYC isn't doing much for me right now, except sucking all my money out of my paychecks and making me kind of fat. Maybe rather than gallavanting all over the country (and the world) to try to find something to fill the holes inside of me, I need to just find one place that can fill the most holes. I thought for a long time that that place was New York. But somehow, the older I get, and the more alone I am, I think maybe New York is boring even more holes into my core.