I recently had the fortune of getting something I’ve always wanted – an apartment with an ocean view. My porch, overlooking a three-mile-long beach path, gives me an ideal front-row seat for people-watching (something that’s sure to provide some good writing material in days to come).
Let me tell you, there are some characters to be seen.
Perhaps the most well-known character – and a Mission Beach celeb of sorts – is a man that locals call “Slow Mo.” During my first Slow Mo encounter, I was both amused and afraid. On my morning walk I came upon this man, 70-ish, dressed in shorts, a T-shirt, a floppy sun hat and kneepads. He was rollerblading — at the speed that I was walking. At first, I thought he was just taking a break. Then I heard his music (I want to say it was the theme from Chariots of Fire, but it may have actually been from Evita) and realized he was purposely rollerblading in slow motion, pumping his arms and performing the occasional arabesque for effect. Tourists and newcomers stared; some heckled him, but most politely waited until he had passed to start laughing. Yet Slow Mo just smiled and kept his focus, stopping to greet friends and even looking my way to say, “Looks like you’re stuck with me.”
I’ve been stuck with Slow Mo ever since — I see him almost daily. He’s actually become a bit symbolic of my new beginning here in San Diego. It’s taken me more than three months to even begin to adjust to a pace of life my friends in Manhattan would find disturbing. I’ve been viewed as the devil for asking why my coffee was taking so long, have heard the phrase “no worries, bra,” more times than I care to count and traded a conference room in a high-rise office building for a couch at an Internet café. Seeing Slow Mo, however, reminds me why it’s not such a bad idea to slow down, breathe, and take life one sunset at a time.