Long Beach is just 25 miles from where I live in Brooklyn.
And yet last weekend was my first visit. I had a work event to attend Sunday so after weighing my options (LIRR, Uber, taxi, car service, helicopter – just kidding!), I rented a car. My little blue Fiat was terrific!
After the event ended, I drove toward the ocean. I do that every chance I get. Isn’t the beach pretty?
“Actually there was one solo trip that was awful but it was a four-day conference in Las Vegas and my hotel wasn’t very nice. Vegas is a terrible place to be alone.”
I quickly regretted telling the truth. My mother–who I adore–would surely remember the vulnerability I just exposed every time I boarded a plane in the future, peppering me with questions about loneliness.
Sigh. Mom was still the master. Would I ever learn?
* * *
The trip had been a long one. Two days started when the alarm sounded at 5:30 am. I am not a morning person.
On this trip, I spent one day in particular feeling out of sorts. I didn’t know what constituted appropriate attire for this work event and ultimately, I chose wrong. Worse, my clothes seemed too tight. I didn’t like what I saw each time I caught sight of my reflection.
I felt old. And I was in fact older than some of the colleagues in attendance. Some of them were of the smug married variety in spite of being younger than me.
Self doubt had me squirming for a good five hours straight. I couldn’t wait to be alone with no one looking at my dumb outfit or my bad hair day.
When the event ended, I was free to head back to my hotel. But soon after I got in my rental car, I took a detour.
I drove due west until I arrived at cliffs overlooking the Pacific coast.