“Ma’am! Stop! You can’t do that!”
I froze. I was straddling a five-foot stucco wall that separated the Montage Resort from the Blue Lagoon Condos, and out of the corner of my eye I saw a young man in a uniform rushing toward me.
“But I always go this….” I stopped myself, realizing he was obviously a stickler for the rules.
“Well, you can’t go jumping that wall,” he said, somewhat out of breath from his sprint to catch me. “As much as I like the view…”.
Looking down at him from atop the fence, I saw he was just a kid, wiry and crew-cut, probably just in his twenties. His electric golf cart was parked a short distance away, on the street lined with multi-million dollar homes that were part of the Montage development. I was puzzled, though, by his reference to “the view.” But then it dawned on me. He was alluding to the sight of my buttocks, as I’d scrambled up the wall. But I was old enough to be his mother! Hell, I could be his grandmother, the cocky little shit. I was confused and aghast … and a little bit flattered too.
Well, sixty is, as they say, the new… well whatever it is these days.
“I just want to get to back Victoria Beach,” I told him. “I live down that way, over on Glenneyre.” I tried to hide my annoyance, but it really bugged me that he’d had the audacity to put a crimp in my routine.
“Well you’ll have to go out another way. There’s a camera right there.”
He pointed to the eves of one of the monstrous houses across the way, and I squinted to follow his gaze. I couldn’t believe it. Could they actually have captured me on Montage security tape as I hurled myself over the wall? Could it be that the “view” of my rear end had been admired and replayed repeatedly by higher ups, bringing on backslapping and roars of laughter?
I cringed at the thought.
The Montage, as you might know, is a gorgeous, five-star resort located on the bluffs of Laguna overlooking a spectacular stretch of coastline. We rented a place about a mile away, and at least once a week I’d do a power walk to Victoria Beach where I would walk at ocean’s edge soaking in all the wonderful ocean energy. Problem was, at the end of this lovely little cove was the beach entrance to Blue Lagoon Condos, which had threatening signage saying something to the effect that residents MUST NOT TRESPASS! Of course I ignored it and proceeded to wind my way through the condos so I could get to the Montage.
Once I’d hopped the fence between the properties, it was just a short walk through that ritzy neighborhood to get to the grounds of the resort where a beautiful public pathway wound along the rim of the cliffs. It was truly breathtaking, with an incredible view of the vast sparkling ocean going on forever. All told, my morning walks to Victoria Beach, through the condos and to the south end of the Montage, were about a three-mile round trip.
Way better than the gym.
But more than just the exercise and beauty, it was my Zen time. My walking meditation. Seems my whole life I’d always been on a search for, you know, some kind enlightenment about the “nature of existence” and the proverbial “meaning of life.” I suppose it’s kind of a universal thing at the core of being human, at least for a lot of us. Even the ancients thought a lot about this kind of stuff. And when I did my walks along Victoria beach and to the Montage, that’s where it hit me the most. I’d looked out at the ocean with those faraway clouds dancing on the horizon, and think we’re just a tiny part of all this … and I’d just get overwhelmed about it. And when I focused on the energy and light and mystery out there and tried to grasp what it’s all about, well it was just … cool. It made me feel just really alive.
“Can’t you jump the wall down there?”
Until, that is, a guy in a uniform would come along and ruin my train of thought.
“Down there.” He was pointing down the wall about fifty feet away. “There’s no camera there.”
Are you nuts? I was thinking that but didn’t say it. “Uh, that wouldn’t work,” I said. “There’s a big drop off; I’d break my neck.”
“Oh.” He seemed perplexed. But then he brightened. “Well, then, you’re going to have to go out to the street and go around.”
Hell no, I was thinking. That was last thing I’d ever do. How can you contemplate your life’s destiny on Pacific Coast Highway with the cars and traffic and fumes?
“Oh, yeah, for sure,” I told him. “Next time.”
“So you won’t ever do this again, right?”
I wish I could have explained it to him why I couldn’t make that promise, that the route I’d chosen for my morning run helped reveal the very reason for my existence, and I sure as hell didn’t intend to stop. Yet he had a job to do. I understood that. But I also had to do what I had to do for my own pleasure and well-being.
“Oh I won’t,” I lied. “No worries.” And with that, I threw my leg to the other side of the wall and caught my foot on the electrical box I used as a step down. Then I was off, jogging toward home through the parking lot of the Blue Lagoon Condominiums.
I must say I didn’t regret telling that lie. Not in the least. This was my routine, my birthright, my near perfect path to joy and enlightenment. But from now on I’d have to take more care, be a tad more sneaky, especially in the following weeks when I just knew they were out to catch me. Quite frequently for a while, I’d see a security guards waiting for me in an electric golf cart by my launching spot over the fence, where a convenient water pipe gave me a leg up. But I’d keep my cool, and we’d exchange friendly waves, and I’d continue going on until I rounded the bend. There I’d hide out behind a bush until the coast was clear, and then I’d make a dash for it.
These days I’m good. The resort staff must have eventually forgotten or perhaps they decided to hell with it. Of course, there’s the possibility that the higher ups didn’t want to give up the entertainment value of those security videos, and of the “view” of my flabby derriere scrambling over that fence. All I know is that these days I scale that obstacle with impunity, and continue my fantastical journey in peace.
copywrite 2016 Lisa Padgalskas Hand