Princeton crab, Maverick’s surfing — and leave the mother

by wands on December 13, 2009

Live crab for sale at Princeton — on a good-weather day.

Live crab for sale at Princeton — on a good-weather day.

A foghorn’s haunting call. A person — this is amazing to watch — skidding across the water, way out back beyond the lines of tied up boats, but inside the Princeton harbor wall. The zipping figure is kite-boarding.

And there’s a second person, on a sailboard.

The kiteboard’s sail is a bulging splash of red and white, the kite filled with the wind I was hearing, from under the bed covers, via the rain that has been blowing against the windows for an age now.

It’s crab season and this is crab harbor over here in Princeton, near Half Moon Bay. But the boats aren’t out in the gusts and the rain, which is in fact much lighter than last night. The waves are pretty nondescript across at the base of the cliff to my right that is the famed Maverick’s surf spot.

I wonder if they’ll have the big wave contest this season, which extends into the New Year. I know they missed a good run over Thanksgiving ….

But meanwhile, there goes another kite-boarder, his or her kite a fleeing splash of yellow, red and white on a blustery gray stretch of sea.

And don’t forget the occasional seagull, sometimes several in a group, doing the seagull swoop. And everything that can billow is billowing, from the canvas on the boats to the coverings on two motorcycles in the harbor carpark.

Princeton harbor with no boats out but check for the kite-boarder.

Princeton harbor with no boats out but check for the kite-boarder.

This hotel I’m overnighting at has its computer desk in a window nook. The view is not what compelled me to get out of bed and sign in with the free WiFi, and write. The view, however, could keep me writing all day.

But, sigh, I don’t have all day here.

What got me to my keyboard was remembering the conversation with the bartender downstairs last night. The medium-rare Creekstone Farm Black Angus New York steak sandwich on sourdough with golden fries and yes, he remembered to bring the mayo, and a garlicky green salad, were all good. The Princeton cocktail — Bombay, Cointreau, lime juice, cranberry juice and a twist of lemon in a martini glass — was the type of cocktail that you could keep drinking for the flavor and get blind drunk, if you were not thinking of your friend who was handcuffed and taken directly to jail for a DUI exactly seven days ago.

For brunch it's a blackened shrimp salad in the bar.

For brunch it's a blackened shrimp salad in the bar.

The bartender could mix a mean drink. And he was friendly; in fact the only person at the bar who returned my smile and who was willing to engage in conversation.

He was conversing with everyone, in fact. And the subject everyone knew about was his Thanksgiving dinner. His lousy Thanksgiving dinner. His awful Thanksgiving. His nightmare Thanksgiving day.

“What was so bad about your Thanksgiving?” I finally ask.

He hesitates. Then comes and leans on the bar, close to me, and explains:

How he spent five hours in the kitchen and did a gazillion things to his turkey; and his his parents were invited; and they arrived along with god alone who else; and he had 35 minutes left to do the last-minute things; and his girlfriend couldn’t handle being ignored; and she’d sulked; and she was Japanese; and she had no family here; and she was only 26 and his previous girlfriend had been almost twice his age, divorced, with children, and never sulked; but this one — he’d been living with her for three months; and she wasn’t working; and he was working three jobs — real estate, and this job at the bar, and I forget the third. No, it wasn’t bootlegging for Moss Beach Distillery down the road.

And then he tells me —  sure I’ll understand and be on his side — that he let the girlfriend go crying off into a friendless Thanksgiving afternoon (or evening); that she had to get things together; and learn how to handle herself; and on and on; and meanwhile, he’d ended up with two things to eat from his whole Thanksgiving table as the guests had devoured the rest while he was dealing with her. (Do your planning better, babe, is what I want to suggest. But he doesn’t ask me.)

Because now, I’m no longer liking this formerly friendly bartender. In fact, I’m thinking, what a moron — what a guy; what an A-hole.

And when he tells me he’s (magnanimously) taken her back (She went back?!), all I can think is, she needs her head read, and why doesn’t she leave the motherfucker?

And I wish I could meet her, and coach her, and then she’d leave the motherfucker …

Which thought causes me I remember: I’m a coach. Breathe, baby.

The thing is, at 26 and perhaps even at 36, I could have felt like that Japanese girl. The sense of abandonment. I can identify. Being left to his family of wolves; probably benign ones, but knowing that wouldn’t have helped.

A Princeton Harbor gull.

A Princeton Harbor gull.

I seriously want to shake that bartender and say: “Learn to communicate, bugger. Wake up. Stop whinging. YOU MADE IT HAPPEN.”

Is that harsh?

I mean, I like men. A lot. And I like a lot of women. And — don’t we manage to make our own lives miserable?

Yum-Yum relationship matters:

What if he’d sat her down and said: “What do you want from me?”

And listened for her needs. And then made his requests of her. And if they’d made a pact. Designed an alliance. Reached an agreement. Ahead of time.

And Yum-Yum work matters:

What was all that anger around those three jobs?

OK. Let it go. That’s all for now. Won’t it be nice to go out and walk in that wind and feel the elements I’m protected from, sitting here in my little nook looking out and feeling so enamored by this view, and being here, with the foghorn still calling, beside the seaside.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

anna December 15, 2009 at 4:40 am

It seems like life coaching requires a huge amount of restraint. Not many people can boast that they have this quality.
And I’m sure it takes bucketfuls of creativity to gently work around issues and encourage people to work through their processes, rather than start frantically shouting at them about what seems so clear to everyone but themselves.
I couldn’t do it. But you do it so well, Annie! You are a great coach and an inspiration!

annie December 17, 2009 at 12:51 am

I appreciate your thoughts on my consternation! Thank you.
And your other comment about things being clear to others …. I think that can be true; on the other hand, one can misinterpret if one thinks one knows; and can one ever really know for other people? But — maybe you’d agree — I think coaching makes you more aware, and helps you start to see which, if someone is brave enough to opt for coaching, is something they invariably want.

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