I spent yesterday afternoon riding the bus back and forth to the beach at Santa Monica. I also spent a few hours in Santa Monica itself, but the bus rides absorbed the bulk of my free time. I liked them. Most of the passengers spoke Spanish and seemed to be on their way to or from work. There were sleepy children, and a very funny young woman who was telling us that she was just out of rehab, and a regal crazy man with white dreadlocks who talked to himself in lines that might have been from a Ginsburg poem.
On the beach little children did what little children have always done: screamed, splashed, jumped, dug holes, hauled water, collected stones. On the pier a guitar player dressed as Jesus performed Nirvana-like songs. Ice-cream carts jingled. Tour buses hissed to a stop. Ragged men slept in patches of dirt beside the road. The mountains glowered over the condominiums, over the strip malls, over the curl of sea.
Today I will work all day at the book fair. At midnight I will board an airplane and fly east into the morning. Nevertheless, the night will be long.