Wednesday, October 15, 2014

#29 - Rising Waters

I don't want to think about how much it was. I certainly don't want to SAY how much it was. But I just dropped of a check covering the deposit on a new apartment I will move into on the 1st of next month.

It's in Venice, California, a block and a half from Venice beach. The end of the continent.

I've lived in Venice before. Twenty years ago I was in the neighborhood for two years. I'm not really a beach person, but I prefer the beach to the freeway.

A friend asked me, jokingly, "Do they speak Italian in Venice in California?" I said, "No, they speak Dude."

I remember heading out to the beach one December - I don't remember what year it was - when the cold wind was whipping in off the water so intensely, I could barely stand up straight. I was the only person at the beach that day. "This is the right time to come to the beach," I thought to myself, "when it reminds you that it's part of nature."

As I walked down the street in front of my new apartment building, I looked out at the serene-looking water, wondering how many years would pass before ocean levels rise enough to turn my street into the real Venice. Grab a boat and paddle. Welcome to Venice.

I recently watched a documentary about a sea port Caesar Augustus built two thousand years ago. Historians investigating the site now have to deal with the reality that water levels are three feet higher today than they were in Augusts' day.

Three feet in two thousand years.

How many years for the next three feet?

I'll write something about it if I need a water rescue from my apartment.

I don't really look forward to moving day. Lots of carrying and loading and pulling things up a flight of stairs. I'm glad to be back in the neighborhood, though. I recognize a guy on the Venice boardwalk who has been playing a guitar while roller blading, for twenty years now. He hasn't changed too much in twenty years. Maybe the lines in his face are a little deeper. But he doesn't care. He skates around the boardwalk, wailing away on his guitar. Not a bad life if you ask me.

The apartment itself is tiny, as apartments go. Apartment hunting in L.A. is pretty brutal. New York is probably ten times worse, but the process of trying to find a place - and beat out all the other applicants - has left me feeling a little punchy. Walking into places in my price range and wondering how the hell I get my stuff in here; being beaten out for places that were perfect; finding decent places I can afford, in neighborhoods that are less than ideal (Watts and Compton have great deals, really).

So, in the end, I plant my roots in Venice - not the Italian Venice, the Dude Venice.

And I sit and wait for the waters to rise.
-Peter Wick
October 15, 2014