Friday, February 03, 2006

Redondo Condo Canyon or, Where's the Beach?

Redondo Condo Canyon or, Where's the Beach?

January 30, 2006 10:04 AM EST
Average Rating: 9.3/10 (6 votes)

My last two and a half years as an on-again, off-again travel RN in California have blessed me with many memories, good bad and ugly. Most of them will be my own.
One that I'd like to share this morning, well, just happened this morning. I couldn't sleep last night, ya'see, so I went out into the pre-dawn morning to one of my favorite breakfast places, Joe's. It's on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH for you cool folks), up the road from my apartment in Torrance - one of L.A.'s suburbs. Notice how I've avoided any lame puns about "eating at" so far. Or maybe not.
Anyway the food was scrumptious as always (I can't avoid ordering the "John Wayne;" not only because it's so tasty but that, being a vegetarian, there's the neat irony when ordering it that never fails to make the pretentious inner me chuckle), the coffee was first class all the way (am I the only human to think that Starbuck's tastes like fresh-roasted banana peels?), and the extremely early morning company was, for a change, safe enough to keep my eyes off of (table full of police officers).
I've only got two more weeks in California for this assignment, I said to myself; I really should go and see the beach, look out over the Pacific Ocean, take it all in, before I get back in my car and get caught up in the busy day I've got coming. Maybe I'll even call my daughter while I stand there and comment about how soon I'll be back in Florida, back to my Gulf Coast, my Emerald Shores. I considered asking the officers where a good public access street would be but decided against it; surely I'd find one easily enough?
You, gentle reader, can see where this is headed. In the morning fog I made my way across to what I presumed to be a likely road for beach access - still dark, by the way; I ate too fast as always. As I turned to drive parallel with the beach - I'm assuming it's over there, I've seen the map on Google a few times now - I'm impressed by the impeccably dressed condos that line either side of the rather narrow street. The tallish condos, I should say. I'm impressed by the impeccably dressed, middle-aged joggers bouncing past me. After a full mile of this I'm beginning to have one of my moments; this isn't so funny anymore. I realized there, as I looked ahead of me, past the curves and dips in the perfectly clean streets, that there wasn't any way I was getting near sand and surf in this part of Redondo Beach.
What makes some of us feel that we must not only stand upon the shores of a beautiful edge of land and stare out onto the seemingly infinite horizon, but we must own it as well? What right do we have to take that view away from the rest of our fellow citizens, the rest of the world travelers that might come to our shores? Would it be that different, honestly, if our homes could be one hundred meters inland, so that all of us could enjoy such a view? Imagine what the native Americans could see, standing upon what would become Palos Verdes in our time, looking out across to the West. Imagine what the Russian fur trappers saw, before the Golden Gate Bridge was even a glimmer of a fragment of an idea. Imagine what the first European settlers saw, after their trek across the continent. You can imagine what I saw, driving along, just from the title of this entry.
It doesn't matter what I want, really. It doesn't matter what most of us want, either. What matters is that there is a tiny fraction of citizens with enough wealth, with enough power, with enough connections, with enough influence on government policy that they can have whatever they want, and it really doesn't matter at all what the rest of us think about it.


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