There's always something about a Saturday that makes a body feel a little slow. While it's just another rotation of the Earth and just another morning I wake up holding my head, there's a sense of relief that I can let down my guard without worrying about the world passing me by.
The footsteps of the guy who lives in the unit above seem to tread more slowly on this day of the week, while Sash comments about the aroma of an egg and sausage burrito I'm making in the kitchen. We don't have to tell each other that we hope to go out for the afternoon, it's an anticipation welling up inside us.
Whether it's the friendly chatter of neighbors across the street, or the distant echoes of a Johnny Cash comin' around, the sidewalks of a Saturday afternoon leads me a to place where I can rest my elbows with the work week's weary and take a moment to find a piece of my youth in its cracks.
Monkey Paw Brewery is just one of perhaps hundreds of craft breweries in San Diego County, but it happens to be one of my favorites. There's just an improvised way it adapted to a building that had been home to a dozen of other businesses over the decades. It's not cookie cutter or formula, it's San Diego's history you feel when you walk in, and then to your surprise there's craft beer on tap.
By 12:30pm, Sash and I finally decided to go there for the afternoon. After getting dressed, we warmed up the bikes and rode the few miles into the downtown to get there.
East Village has taken on the reputation of being home to San Diego's hipster crowd. It's the place of 20-something year old website developers, community college bohemians, and guys with handlebar mustaches. It was also where Sash and I called home for a year and a half before we took off on Road Pickle, except we were a little more up there in age.
Monkey Paw Brewery is right there in the middle of it.
And despite their otherwise non-existent electrical lighting, the place was illuminated with the haze of sunshine from its wide open windows. The chatter and crowd was significant enough to make me feel cradled in its arms as it nursed me to peace with a Double IPA.
Just as I began to tackle a basket of chicken wings sloshed with curry sauce, the guy seated next to me asked if they're spicy. "No", I said. "They're pretty mild". Some time later, he had ordered the same wings. Otherwise, I hadn't heard a word from him, and I imagine he thought the same thing.
But this was also the neighborhood where I roamed as a kid in the 1970s. Just a block away was the old boxing ring where my mom's boyfriend took me on Friday nights. About five blocks away was the bar where she tended in the evenings. About a mile away is the Naval hospital where my father worked as a corpsman. All of these things envelop me with their memories, whether they were happy or painful, and I hang on to them as if they're all I have left of my soul.
|11th Street and Broadway. The location of Miho's Foxhole, a bar where my|
mother once tended, is now a parking lot.
If I can't feel anything deep inside myself, I still feel Blackbird's heart and soul vibrating through every part of my body. She knows I took my time warming her up today and she senses the lighter grip of her throttle. She knows that today is the day I need her most and knows to be a little more patient with me.
Giving her only minimal input, she takes me along downtown's shaded streets, past the same old buildings that were there when I was kid. Around the corner and over the trolley tracks lies the smell of yesteryear's lost innocence waiting to take me back to something that I had lost along the way.