Monday, July 16, 2007

A Non-earthquake and the TransPac

TransPac yachts waiting for the start at Pt. Fermin, with the fireboat spouting
Photo by Ted

...I'm glad for the marine layer this Monday morning, cool and calming. The marine layer is a blessing of coastal mornings, gentle overcast, yielding serenity like a fresh snowfall in Michigan. Out here they call it May Gray and June Gloom and complain about it. I prefer it, though, to the white sun and early heat some mornings. I don't know if they have a name for it in July -- I'll call it the July's soothing. As a Midwesterner from "lake effect" country, I'm used to thick overhead clouds. I feel at home on the edge of gloom.

Big event this weekend: at about 1:30 a.m. Friday night, a huge crash, breaking glass, heavy cracking sounds. What the hell was that? We leaped out of bed forgetting we were naked. First thought an earthquake, never far from our minds here, that little subliminal itch of dread. But nothing shook. Next thought the harbor -- also never far from our thoughts these scary days. No flame amid the sparkling lights, no smoke cloud on the Vincent Thomas Bridge.

Turned out there was an old red car nose up in our front yard -- lost its emergency brake on the steep hill above us, slid down, driverless, and rammed into our brick and clapboard walls. In minutes paramedics briefly checked in and then departed, seeing only four of five of us in hastily donned bathrobes and sweats, sleepily gaping at the pile of masonry and muttering holy shit. Then the landlady, looking remarkably stylish, and the flash of many photos for insurance. The inevitable cops, then the car's chagrined owner herself, anxiously sweeping up debris. We slipped back into bed and by morning, the car'd been towed off to auto rehab, where it would undoubtedly say it never meant to hurt anybody.

Meanwhile, yachtsmen and women were preparing for the race from Pt. Fermin to Hawaii -- they gathered at the point yesterday and finally took off for the 2,200-mile run at about 1 p.m. I loved watching them congregate and circle, waiting for send-off. I hope they have OnStar, a lot of spam, and some good blues for the journey.

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