- Community Blog
The Silver Strand
On a Thursday afternoon in the beginning of August, my new motorcycle helmet arrived via UPS. The one I had before was a hand-me down from a friend. It never fit properly. Every time I wore it I was convinced it would fly off my head, smashing the window of the people behind us, forcing them to lose control of their car, which would cause the driver to run me over, thus killing everyone in said car while crippling me (I realize how dramatic I am). Thank god I bought a different one. The new one smoshes my face a little and makes me look like a pudgy child that has a love of dairy. But anything is better than intense paranoia. At least I know I will not die.
That Saturday my husband and I decided to ride his motorcycle to Coronado. Aaron always insists that I wear sensible clothing while on the bike, like boots and ugly jackets that will protect my skin. It’s kind of a nuisance. I want to wear normal stuff like jeans and ballet flats or a nice summer dress. The boots make me feel like I am playing the role of some biker chick that chews tobacco and scratches her crotch in public. But Aaron insists and gets all fatherly about my safety. I feel forced to comply.
Coronado is one of my favorite places in the world. It’s even more amazing from the back of a bike. Going over the Bay Bridge on the back of a bike is such a rush. There’s the water and the sailboats, and the view on the city, it’s remarkable. Sometimes I forget just how stunning San Diego is.
When Aaron first bought his bike last summer I was vehemently against it. My reasoning was that I didn’t want him to end up as road kill. Also I don’t want my kids to ever end up riding motorcycles. He persisted and wore me down. In the end I agreed to it.
I’m kind of obsessed with it now. I’m not big into speed. But that changed the first time I rode on the back of Aaron’s bike. I love it. It’s therapeutic. It’s a whole new way of exploring our city. I now understand those people who devote their lives to their motorcycle, hanging out at biker bars, the posters, the outfits of leather chaps and fringed biker coats, and the vacations geared around their motorcycles. I get it. I don’t think I will take it that far but I am considering taking a motorcycle course so that I can learn how to ride myself.
The Imperial Beach sand castle competition was going on that weekend and I remembered just as the Coronado Bridge dumped us onto 3rd Street. At a stop light I asked Aaron if he minded driving down the Silver Strand so we could have a look. I have never driven past Fiddler’s Cove so observing South Bay to my left—industrious and trailer- Park lined, and the Pacific to my right was quite the experience. It amazes me how different Imperial Beach and Coronado are when they are such close neighbors. It’s almost a culture shock from the upscale sweater around the neck type of people in Coronado to the gritty truthfulness of I.B.
The Sand castle celebratory street fair was just wrapping up when we found a parking space. The sun was low in the sky surrounded by clouds, its light peeking out from the bottom in that Jesus way, the kind of look you see in inspirational ads on Sunday school walls.
We walked over to the pier to watch the sunset. The pier was heavy with foot traffic, mostly drunken teens in short shorts and smeared eye make-up. Leaning against the pier’s entrance was a pretty transgendered gal with a Marilyn Monroe piercing, fake eyelashes, talking up a young baggy-shorted guy. Everywhere were Fishermen with bait guts at their feet. From off the pier I saw three dolphins and two preteens riding waves with the effortlessness of seasoned pros.
In front of us a stocky women in a thong held the hand of her boyfriend. With each shift of her leg you could see an interesting tan line. I couldn’t help staring. With every step she took I saw tan, white, tan, white, like one of those patterned necklaces I used to make at day camp as child. “This is way better than Coronado.” I told Aaron. “The people watching is incomparable!”
I could’ve stayed on that pier for hours. We walked down the beach in hopes of viewing some professional looking Sand castles, only to learn that the sand castle building would be taking place the following day. It was getting dark so we decided to head back for dinner plans in Coronado Back on the street, we saw tons of cops stomping down the street in a line. “Get on the sidewalk!” one of them growled at me, “The street fair is packing up. We need to clear the area.”
I have never seen that many cops in one place.
On the drive back the sky was bruised purple. Cars whooshed past. The sound of the ocean was therapeutic. I thought for a moment that the lull would put me to sleep and I would let go and fall right off which reminded me of a shirt I had once seen on a biker that read “if you can read this, the Bitch fell off!” I gripped around Aaron’s stomach tightly.
Back in Coronado the street was bustling with tourist with happy expectations for their evening. We peered in store windows and stopped in Lamb's Player Theatre to check out their upcoming productions. We ate at an upscale Mexican place which served overpriced burritos to the sound of live music. I secretly wished we had stayed in I.B but it was too late now.
On the way home, while driving back over the bridge, from the back of Aaron’s motorcycle, I could see fireworks lighting up the skyline. It was the greatest way to end the evening.