No matter how many times I might miss my old life in New York, that all goes away whenever I see that big blue ocean.
On Sunday “morning” I dreamt I was running to a plane with my brother, and we were taking a trip. We were with our mom at the airport, and then we suddenly had to rush to make our flight. Our mom wasn’t going with us, and I immediately felt awful for not saying goodbye. Then we were instead in a car going on a long trip across country and I either had some audition or was going to camp or something. I was nervous because it was a potentially life-changing thing, and this all came from how I flew out to audition to be a dealer here. Then I realized that I wasn’t sure what clothes I had packed, and I couldn’t be sure of any item at all. I didn’t know if I’d even be prepared for whatever I was going for, so that was pretty scary.
One Year Ago
I worked at 4pm and I didn’t want to be there but it was my only real day of work so I stuck it out. One funny thing was that I got stuck behind an Asian woman as I was walking out, and I wasn’t able to pass her because she kept swaying down the hall. It was funny because just a few days ago when I was leaving work I held the door for her and then got stuck behind her when driving home. So she walks slow and drives slow, and I had to wait for her twice now. After work I went to the gym and was the only one there for an hour of it, since it was late Saturday night and other people have social lives.
Then on the next day I had Sunday off, and I had already planned how I’d spend it. I thought it’d be nice to just watch football all day, so I caught glimpses of the games throughout the day. But my big plan was to watch The Godfather trilogy, which I’ve enjoyed doing all in one day and specifically on Sundays for some reason (because that’s when I watched them the first time).
I think my dreams were related not only to my near-past but also to the immediate present. I was rushing to get someplace in the dream, and I woke up and was startled to see it was 11pm or one hour later than I needed to get up. So I had about 45 minutes to shave, shower, put in my contacts, and get dressed before heading out to work. It feels weird to say that I overslept for a 12:40am shift, but that’s what I get for cutting it so close. I regretted having to rush, but I was glad to get that extra hour of sleep. So I shaved as quickly as I could and got ready fast, and to my surprise I was actually able to get everything done and leave at my regular time. I expected to have to make up much of time on the road, so it was kind of anticlimactic but I should be thankful.
The casino didn’t seem very busy which is normal for late on a Sunday night, but my mentality is always the best when it’s my last shift before a couple days off. I don’t really care what happens because when the time is up I can go home and do whatever I want. My first table was a short-handed Stud game, and I really didn’t want to break it because I wanted to continue on in my string. Tables were going down so I had a break next anyway, but it didn’t matter. Then I had a 4-table run which would prove to be my final string though. By 4am we were down to just two tables in our rotation, and then only one by 5. So I dealt that last table four times with a break in between, and that dragged the last few hours but it was a decent table so it could have been so much worse.
I’ve mentioned before that people like to ask me personal questions even when they don’t know me, and sometimes I surprise myself at how candid I can be about my personal life to complete strangers. At the last table a guy asked me where I lived and where I was from, and I mentioned how I’ve only been out here for about 4 months. After a bit he asked, “So have you gotten laid by any of these California girls yet?” I shyly smiled and then without really thinking if I should have just brushed it off I simply said no. I did feel embarrassed because it wasn’t something I had to admit, and I was basically telling the table that it’s been at least four months since I’ve slept with a girl. Of course I know that it’s been over 25 years, so I spent the rest of those downs hoping he or anyone else wouldn’t ask anything further. It led me to thinking though about what if I had happened to meet some random girl out here and we did sleep together. Would I have said yes, even if I was embarrassed by it? I think this goes back to the male desire to seem like a man among other males, so saying yes could have scored me some points among these other dudes. But since I don’t need some random guys’ respect if it only comes with having slept with a girl, then why should I care if I don’t get it?
It’s weird because I’ve always wanted to wait until marriage to sleep with any girl, so you could say it’s noble to be chaste like that. But it’s another thing to admit that I haven’t even had the opportunity with any girl I’ve known to do that if I wanted to. Maybe there have been girls I’ve come across that would have slept with me if they felt I would want that, but I keep thinking about my image. Growing up as an openly Christian guy, I wonder if girls have always just assumed (and rightly) that I’m not into just sleeping with them or having that as part of any relationship. I wonder if that might be what has kept girls from finding any interest in me. Sometimes I think about trying to project a more uninhibited image just to see if that’d change things, but that’s really not me.
So not exactly related to this but close, I was at that table and saw one of the housekeepers vacuuming and whatnot. I’ve seen her before, and she seems close to my age and she’s pretty cute. This time she happened to look toward me one of the times I glanced over, and when it happened again I wondered if maybe there was some vibing going on. Just as I had that thought, I looked lower and remembered that she is pregnant. I just smiled and laughed to myself in the middle of the table at that thought. It’s like, what could make me think she was thinking about me any less than realizing she has a baby on the way? Of course it doesn’t mean she’s married or even has a dude, but there definitely was a person in her life not long ago and there’s going to be another one around for the rest of her life.
I kept dealing that last table for the second half of my shift, and I sort of wished it would just break so I could go home. I would have been out when the second table broke if one of the dealers didn’t ask to leave instead. At Turning Stone I understood how that all worked, but here I don’t pay attention to who asks to leave early or who requests to play, and I just do my time until they tell me I’m out. At the cashier there was an Asian guy who said that my name (Eric) always reminds him of Eric Clapton, and he was asking if I knew any of his songs. I actually can’t think of a single one by name, but I told him I like a couple songs from his band Cream. Then he started singing “Sunshine of Your Love” and then “White Room,” and he sang well but it was funny that not only would he just start singing but that he was an Asian guy singing a song by a very white guy.
I got some groceries and then drove home, and again I just stayed up rather than trying to sleep. I decided to make this one post span both days because I figured I wouldn’t have much to say about Sunday, but apparently I did. I went to the bank too to deposit a little more money, and just before leaving the teller from before came to her window. I wondered if she’d say anything to me like last time, but I wasn’t going to bring anything up to perpetuate my M.O. of reading too much into these interactions. I almost stopped at a bakery in that plaza but decided against it, although I immediately wished I had. I bought some cinnamon rolls at Wal Mart so I didn’t need anything (I mean I didn’t anyway), but I could have gotten an iced coffee and at least seen what they had there.
I went home and saw a note on my door just like the last one, and I wasn’t really surprised but somehow expected they’d do this crap again. On Wednesday they’re coming through again at 10am, so I have to sit through this shit (I’m not censoring myself this time) at least one more time. Of course it couldn’t have been tomorrow when I should be getting up early anyway, but or on a day where I’ll already be up that late from work. No, it’ll be when I have to work at 6:40 and now I’ll have to arrange it to be up that early and ruin another night’s sleep. They’re pissing me off so much, and again they list the reason as the same bogus inspection as last time.
My only real plan for today was to go to the beach first thing, and shortly before noon I headed out. It was a very warm day (some might say it was hot) and I was very much looking forward to swimming in the ocean. It was nice to be there earlier too, and to have the sun at my back instead of right in my eyes. It was a good walk but I was very aware of the distance this time, and I just wanted to get there. I thought it might be more populated than I’m used to since it was earlier, but it actually makes more sense that it was less so. I went to my usual spot near some rocks, but you could almost not recognize it because the tide was in further than before. More on that in a bit.
I set my stuff down and I’ve started to make my own sand chair so I can lean back against the shore without needing a chair. I relaxed for a bit but I was hot and wanted to get in the water. So I went out and had what felt like the entire Pacific Ocean to myself. The waves weren’t too bad and I got to do some actual swimming rather than just fighting to stay afloat. It was my best swim yet, and I can’t believe I went all of last summer without swimming at all. The water felt so good, and it’s nice exercise to swim out there so I love it. I’m never more at peace than when I’m at the beach, and it always reminds me of why I came out here.
After getting out of the water I sort of didn’t have enough, and I wanted to go right back in. I hung around on the shore and thought maybe I’d swim again later, but I don’t want to make my towel do double work and I can’t exactly use it again after I lay on it on the sand. I kicked back and read the last chapter of The Return of the King, and I was sad to have that story come to a close. It was fitting to read it while at the beach because the last chapter concludes with Frodo sailing off to the Grey Havens, so it was a beautiful ending.
While reading I could see the tide coming in, sometimes a little further than normal. A couple times it came right up to my feet, and I feared it’d eventually engulf my whole area. I only had a few pages left to go so I just hoped to beat it, but then a big one came in and it flooded over everything. It submerged my towel, got all up in my shoes, got in and around my bag, and worst of all it got my book. I hated that I’ve gone years reading through these books only to have one get wet and dirty during the final minutes of reading.
I wasn’t sure what to do to recover from all of this, because I was standing near the ocean shore and everything was wet. I first just rinsed out my towel in the ocean to get much of the sand out, and then wrung it out to hopefully get it dried out. I was worried about my shoes because I can’t really walk two miles home barefoot, so I washed them out and my socks as well and hoped they’d dry. I needed someplace dry to assess the damage to the stuff in my bag, so I went to the end of the beach and the sidewalk there was at least much less sandy than the beach is. I didn’t have anything else important except for my phone, and I’m getting a new phone soon anyway but I really need this one so I can get some value back toward a new one. Lastly was my shirt, and I needed that to dry out so I didn’t have to walk home shirtless.
I tried to clean off my book and I got the sand out, but many of the pages were wet and now a little stained. No pages were sticking together though and you could still read everything, so I didn’t have to worry about how I’d finish the story. I then walked back out to the shore to finish reading while my stuff kept drying. I still wanted to finish the story there, and the sand was so hot that I had to stand right in the water to keep from burning them. When I finished the story I ran back across the beach and washed off my feet at one of the shower stations, and I was thankful that my body dried naturally since my towel was still soaked. My shoes and socked dried well enough and my shirt was completely fine so that was lucky.
By this point I was very sore and feeling sunburnt, and the walk home was a much more laborious one. I walked gingerly on my blistered and hot feet but made it back fine. First thing I did after taking off my wet and dirty clothes was to enjoy an ice cream cone, and then I had to wash out my clothes again in the shower. I rinsed out all the sand and then showered off the grime from my body, and now I could really feel my sunburns. I put sunscreen all over my head, face, neck, and arms, but I purposely didn’t do any part of my body that wasn’t already tanned. I’m trying to even myself out, so now I’m tan in some areas and just very red in others. It’s not so bad though, and in a few days the red should be tanned too so this might have done the trick. The parts I covered with sunscreen are fine so I think it worked out.
After all this walking I was very sore and just wanted to kick back for the rest of the day (and my life). I decided to start playing Killzone again so I did the first two chapters, but it never satisfies my desire to shoot things. I always get more frustrated than anything else, and I kept saying, “Eric you’ve done this three times already. Why can’t you seem to figure it out now?” After playing I watched the football game and debated on what to eat. I wanted to eat out but wasn’t going to leave the house, and I couldn’t settle on something to be delivered. I have leftover spaghetti and my mom made meatballs so I heated up some sauce and had that. There wasn’t a whole lot of spaghetti but she made 12 meatballs which was disproportional to the pasta. I only ate about half of it and was completely stuffed.
By this point I just wanted to get back to my couch and sit there, and I didn’t have the energy to even get up to my chair and play Diablo. While watching the football game I thought about what to do next, but I ended up falling asleep. I felt it coming on, but just like how I can’t get myself out of bed I couldn’t tell myself to resist this urge. I missed the end of the game (I missed seeing the Eagles come back to win in what, the final seconds?), and I stayed like that the rest of the night. I wanted to do something else but had no energy, so I just stayed there through the evening. I woke up and watched some of The Office and whatever was on the channel currently, until I finally pulled myself up around 3am. Then I had to get ready for bed and type this whole mess up, so now I’m going to bed at 6am. In hindsight I guess it’s good they’re not coming around at 10am because that’d be a nightmare, but I’m worried I’ll either get stinted sleep now or sleep way too long or both. Thanks for reading, and “Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice.”
—Eric Del Medico