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“Nightswimming deserves a quiet night.” Nightswimming is one of the songs I love to listen to when I drive at night. It’s a dreamy song by the R.E.M. (from the 1992 album Automatic for the People). The R.E.M. played a dreamy kind of alt rock. One thing that I like about the notion of dream, and its adjective dreamy, is that it is a vox media. It denotes something neither good or bad, or maybe both good and bad. Even without turning into a nightmare, a dream is strange. You can mean it in a positive way, when you say “it feels like a dream”, but you are nevertheless opening to the ambiguity of the dream, to its lack of rationality, to how you feel like everything is crystal clear, and yet when you try to focus on something, it blurs away.

The key turns in the ignition, the ten year-old Mustang purrs softly and off we go nightswimming.

In case it was not clear, I went to the Pier. That beautifully fat sign makes sure you cannot be mistaken. You’re at the Pier. It’s a colossal sign. It shouts at you. It has an intrinsically epic quality, a little like the poster of Ben-Hur. The-Pier.

I love the Pier because, now that at least dine-in-outdoors has reopened, it feels kind of normal. I do get fishermen: them and I, we were into the night hoping to catch things that we like. Fish for them, images for me.

I hope they were as happy as I was with my catch. Old Tony’s, the seafood restaurants, those sail-shaped shelters on the outer walkway, Kincaid’s, the Police hut, they are all icons of Redondo Beach, and tonight they came to me one flash after the other, a vision and then a blur and then another vision.

My body and my mind were protesting that it was way past dinner time, and the smell of fried seafood didn’t help, but I was not done yet. I wanted to dip a little longer in the quiet of this Super Bowl night. I got back to my car and headed towards the Riviera Village. The quiet was almost palpable. I could take several shots in the middle of Catalina without ever fearing that a car would run me over. It was like being in a dream. It was magic and a strange and I did miss the people a little bit. It’s not easy to be social these days, so I went for the name and let my local journey end at the Social Republic. Plato would have appreciated. Gas heaters outnumbered patrons three to one, and kept my body warm(er than the soul). The Space Dust IPA and the House Burger with fries and pickle were able to warm my soul as well.

Nightswimming deserves a quiet night.


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