Today marks the third day I have been in Monterey, California. I have never been one for writing during vacations, despite many attempts in the past, but I am proud to say I am still here and willing to detail before I make it back home.
I think part of my issue is that I tend to take vacations with others, so I seldom am able to really mosey around and find a cafe in which to write. Many people always tell me we can plan that in with the itinerary, but I know deep down that my inspiration is not compatible with that kind of planning, and so it’s nice to be able to lead by impulse and find my way to a French cafe just close enough to the Bay to still smell the salty air and enjoy champagne truffles and tiramisu.
The first night we were here, I found a lot of clouds and a walk along Fisherman’s Wharf to mean exactly that – there were more people fishing than walking. It wasn’t until we made our way to Old Fisherman’s Wharf that we saw anything like I had expected, living close to San Francisco for this long: many souvenir shops, some filled with too much candy and delicious caramel, and of course, lots of seafood.
One thing of note that keeps coming back is this man I saw while walking along the marina. We were about fifty feet from him before I took notice, but I saw that on this more deserted part of the walkway, he was very well-dressed in a suit and had a rather long, oily ponytail. He was carrying a large black portfolio case, like I had seen my artist friends carry back in high school, and more recently had seen businessmen and women carry for presentations. He was seated on a bench, hunched over, with a very forlorn look on his face. As we passed him, I immediately began wondering what had happened to him – had he just blown his presentation? Was he contemplating ending it all? I told my husband about it, and his first thought had been that the man was one of the Wharf artists, who had wrapped up for the day and was sitting back there away from all the tourists on the marina. It hadn’t even crossed my mind that he was anything other than this failed businessman, this Claude Rain as I had begun calling him. I wanted to write a little about him then, but by the time we found another empty bench, I was unable to see him anymore, and decided to move on with my evening. A momentary thought always arises in times like these – if I had been alone, would I have tried to talk to him? Would a difference in my company provide me with the strength to do so? Would things have turned out differently in this alternate universe of my life?