Writer’s Workshop: Visiting The Pacific

Image by anisenior from Pixabay

One of my training assignments took me to one of the many suburbs of Los Angeles, where I was to teach a three-day class. As luck would have it, the class only took two and a half days. I had booked the first flight out of LAX the next morning, and I now had a ton of time on my hands, unless I could get a flight home that afternoon. One of the guys I was training said "Hey, if you can’t find anything else to do, why not take a drive to Santa Monica and hang out at the pier?"

Now, back in the days when our western regional office was in West LA, I used to stay at a hotel in Santa Monica, and always had good time when I was there, so this was tempting. Still, I felt a responsibility to try and get back to Atlanta, so I went back to my hotel to change my clothes, pack, and contact Delta about a flight home that day. On the way, I started to think, you know, I’ll get hit with a huge change fee to get home. And I’ll probably have to pay extra at the hotel for checking out late. And, it’s a gorgeous day, and I don’t know if or when I’ll get out here again. And, with my luck, if I do get back out here, it’ll probably be raining. And, screw it, I don’t want to go home. Santa Monica, here I come. I changed into my "play clothes" back at the hotel, checked the directions, and left for Santa Monica.

Image by RJA1988 from Pixabay

I got out to Santa Monica Pier and hung around there for about an hour, had lunch and did some people watching. I felt antsy. I looked south and saw there was a paved footpath (the Ocean Front Walk) along the beach, so I decided to start walking and see how far I got.

I was, by no means, in the best physical shape, it was hot and the sun was beating down, but I had nowhere to be. I took it slow and enjoyed the view, including some attractive and physically fit people (men and women) engaging in the sort of activities that attractive and physically fit people get involved with. A few were on bicycles, a few on inline skates, and a couple of kids were on skateboards.

Image by Angelo Giordano from Pixabay

I made it as far as Venice Beach. I stopped in a used bookstore (on the beach; is this a great country, or what?) and wandered among the shelves. I got into a discussion with a guy I figured was about my age about Ayn Rand. We went our separate ways, a couple of strangers now friends, at least for that short time. A caricature artist buttonholed me and talked me into posing for a picture (which, unfortunately, has been lost). I liked it and asked him "how much?" "Whatever you think it’s worth," he answered, and looked surprised when I handed him $20. I figured, if he’s out here doing caricatures, he needs the money more than I do.

I noticed the sun was getting lower in the sky, and checked my phone. It was 5:00 (this was late September), and I had the walk back ahead of me. I followed the Ocean Front Walk back to Santa Monica, a little faster than I had gone. I still managed to enjoy a glorious sunset, and got back to Santa Monica as dusk was turning to evening. I decided to have dinner there before going back to my hotel at a restaurant I knew on the Third Street Promenade. I’m sure I looked rough after a 10 kilometer (6.2 mile) walk, but the staff didn’t seem to mind.

Needless to say, by the time I got back to the hotel, I was ready to sleep.

15 thoughts on “Writer’s Workshop: Visiting The Pacific

    1. Oddly, I wasn’t very tired when I finished. There was a time, however, that I was in Seattle and I started walking north from the Port of Seattle along the pathway next to Puget Sound, thinking that when I was roughly parallel to the Space Needle I’d walk toward it. Problem was, I couldn’t get through (there were all kinds of silos and a fence that was too high to climb), and I ended up doing a lot more walking to get where I wanted to be…


      1. I did something similar in New York when I thought the Empire State Building was “just a couple blocks away.” I walked forever and never did get to it!


  1. What a great memory! I’ve visited the Pacific, but never Santa Monica, and I always wanted to see the attractions on the pier in person. Maybe someday!



  2. I adore those random spur of the moment adventures. I have never been to LA but I imagine that I would be just swept up in the people watching. I’d love to have seen that picture of you. People are so talented and I bet that they don’t get what they’re worth out there.
    I would LOVE to go to a bookstore on the beach! The closest we got was a bookstore in Nova Scotia that you could hear the ocean waves…That is an awesome place to go….way on the other side 😉
    Great story John.


    1. Wish I still had the picture. Sadly, I’m sure it was discarded at some point, probably before I had a chance to scan it in.

      There are a lot of interesting characters on the Ocean Front Walk, and I recognized a lot of things I see in TV shows about the beach there, like the building that houses the restrooms about half a mile down the beach from the pier. That shows up in a lot of shows…


    1. That’s what I figured. Chances are good I would have ended up in a center seat for four hours (and I’m not the smallest person, either) or that I would have ended up on the overnight flight, which throws your circadian rhythms totally out of whack. All things considered, staying made the most sense.


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