Editor’s Note: The following series, “Life in Radically Gentrifying Cayucos by the Sea,” to be posted biweekly includes the notes, thoughts, and opinions of an original American voice: author Dell Franklin.
By DELL FRANKLIN
The lady down the street, with whom I’ve exchanged minimal but always pleasant conversations for at least 20 years, is friendly but timid, a careful person making sure to never touch upon any subject that might be controversial, so I was surprised a couple months ago to see a Biden/Harris sign propped up on her fence.
A couple weeks before the election, though, it came down, and when I asked her what happened to it as she worked in her yard (I’d heard of sabotage), she said in a wee voice, “People were saying mean things to me. I don’t want to cause any trouble.”
Well, I thought, knowing her, it took a lot of guts just to put that sign up.
I was walking my dog along the seawall the other morning and a man around 50, not wearing a mask, turned when he spotted me and said, grinning. “Who needs to be wearing a damn mask outdoors, huh?”
I had forgotten mine, which I wear at a pit stop to take a piss at the public restrooms by the pier, or if I’m too close to people at Cayucos Coffee, but mostly I keep it around my neck when walking the dog.
“I actually forgot it this morning,” I said.
“Oh,” he said, disappointed, and turned around to face the sea and light one up.
I was out on my deck doing a crossword puzzle on a late afternoon when a middle-aged lady started up the steps beside my deck, toward my front door. I receive very few visitors, being a hermit.
“Hello!” I said.
“Oh hi,” she said, smiling. “I just wanted to drop off this card thanking you for putting up a Biden sign.”
I stood and walked over and received the card. “Thank you,” I said.
“My husband and I see you walking your dog,” she said, and started down the steps. “Thanks again.”
I went back to my chair and opened the envelope. The card had a Corgi dog on it and the word thanks. Opening it, I discovered a nice note: “Dear neighbors, thank you for displaying a Biden-Harris sign in your yard. As we take our daily walks with our dogs, we take heart that there are like-minded folk among us here in Cayucos, Your neighbors at…”
I thought of Becki Adams. She walks past here with her husband Bert, and was pissed off at all the Trump flags outnumbering the Biden signs, so she went out and got a bunch and started doling them out. That’s where I got mine, I think.
I’m also thinking, why don’t Biden/Harris people fly flags from homes and especially cars and trucks?
I ran into a lady on the beach down by the Shoreline Hotel who was visiting with a couple other ladies and their dogs. She had a beautiful white poodle who was charming everybody, including the dogs. A tiny woman, she spotted me when big, old Wilbur moved in on the ladies, plowing through the dogs, looking for treats.
“Aren’t you the man who writes a column for CalCoastNews?” she said.
“Yup. That’s me.”
“I like your articles, and I hope you’re not mad at me.” She was in a hoodie, even though it wasn’t cold at all.
“Why would I be mad at you?”
“I’m one of the new people who moved in here. Six months ago. But my husband and I have been coming for years. We finally bought a house.”
By this time her poodle was nuzzling me and I was massaging its neck and scratching its ears. “Naw, I’m not mad at anybody.”
While Wilbur charmed the other ladies, she moved closer. “I’m so worried,” she said. “Things are so crazy. This man, Trump, he brings out these people who come out of the earth like slimy things…” Her face was a mask of consternation. “They’re scary.”
She looked like so many people who are beyond stressed at our political predicament; she was terrified. And what could I say? I was sick of saying what I thought of this monster and what I’d been saying for years, and what he’d been doing to our country. So I coddled her dog and told her to hope for the best, and moved on.
I run into a close neighbor all the time while he’s walking his Golden Retriever. He wears a Trump reelect cap, not the Maga, and he walks by my place and sees my sign, but we’re always cordial and friendly and he loves my dog and gives him treats, and I love his dog and he’s a good guy and probably votes for Trump because he’s been a Republican all his life, is from the valley, and has his reasons, but I just hope he’s not a member of the cult.
Like the timid lady around the corner, he never ever, ever, ever touches upon any subject even mildly controversial; it’s always the weather and the dogs, and no more.
A wise man.
It was breathlessly hot in Cayucos on Halloween day. Around 6:15, right after dinner, I was on my deck as it was stifling inside. I was just sitting there with a little vodka when a noisy procession of Halloween children came down the street. A couple parents, perhaps eight children.
When they reached my residence, they looked up the stairway and then a father in a MAGA cap spotted me and said, “Where’s the candy?”
“I didn’t think there was gonna be any Halloween this year,” I said. “So I didn’t get any.”
“Typical Biden sign,” he exclaimed. “None of the homes with Biden signs are giving out candy.”
I thought he was kidding. He was slowing down, the kids following. I didn’t think I had to defend myself, but then he said, “This is America. We observe Halloween. That’s what real Americans do. Not you Biden people.”
I jumped up, suddenly frothing at the mouth, the food in my stomach doing a somersault, and was at the railing.
“Where’d you serve, asshole?” I bellowed. “I’m a Goddamn veteran, Asshole!”
He turned to face me briefly, then continued on. My heart was pounding. I was fed up with it. But I’m 77 and can’t get this excited and I can’t fight anymore, at least I don’t think so. I went back and slugged down my vodka and had another. It’s been a long four years.