Some days are just better than others. Some days the sky is bluer and the air is sweeter. Other days, not so much. But living in Santa Monica allows me take a walk along the pier, see the sun set on the Pacific and remember that each day here is blessed.
If you haven’t been down to the pier at sunset lately, I highly recommend it. Take someone you love and enjoy the view. Take yourself and have a moment of solitude at the end of the pier. There are stairs on the end of the pier that make for a wonderful seat to watch the seagulls play as the sun drops down and sky turns from azure blue to jet black, then speckled with the first stars of the night.
The pier is one of the most dog-friendly places we have around town, and I like taking my dog down there. He is on a perpetual cheeseburger hunt, and though he rarely finds the burger, he frequently finds the fries, or a lost piece of a churro that some child has probably dropped.
Having a dog in public is a great conversation starter. He makes it easy for people approach me and ask questions. Oftentimes I am asked for directions or a recommendation to a restaurant that’s close by, most of the time I send people to the restaurants that are one-offs and owned by men I know. It’s either Bruno’s for a pizza and pasta (usually if they have kids it’s a good fit — a total family place and Bruno or his wife, Mrs. Bruno as I call her, will take care of you.) or Chez Jay’s is the place for those couples who are looking for a stiff martini and a steak.
These neighborhood places are a welcome break from the overly produced corporate food that passes these days as well-made. I like the fact that the Caeser salad at Bruno’s is made after it is ordered. It’s nice to have a bit of control over what goes into it. No creamy dressing from a 2 gallon jug for Bruno. Each Caeser is specially made and if you want anchovies or not, they will make it to your tastes. Extra lemon or garlic — not a problem. It’s that consideration that makes me want to go back time and again.
I frequent the pier area often. This time of year it is an ideal spot for dog walking and to end the day. My dog is with me most of the time. He comes to my law office, he stays in the car when I’m working out at either Equinox or the Loews Hotel. Our routine is to go for a walk along the boardwalk and see the pier performers. There’s the drum guy who likes to perform just north of the Hot Dog on a Stick and talk women into hula-hooping. I like him a lot, he has a wonderful array of outrageous hats and outfits.
The name-on-a-grain-of-rice guy is usually out, and depending on the day sometimes there’s the silver robot dude, and his twin the gold robot dude. On weekends there are usually more performers and artists, which attracts more people, and I prefer to stay away on those days.
Large crowds can become overwhelming for me as I try to navigate with a dog that stands about 10” tall at the shoulders. People don’t expect him to be there so I have to pay special attention to them, so that he doesn’t get stepped on accidentally.
I do my best to be aware of my surroundings and the flow of people around me. It’s important to be alert when we’re on top of each other in close quarters, which the pier becomes. My experience is that people are not always as considerate as I would like them to be, which means that I have to be more so. I understand it, the pier, or any attraction like it, has many distractions for a reason. That’s the point of being there. There are the bells and buzzers of the arcade, the roar of the rollercoaster as it whizzes past, and the intermittent music of the performers.
The fun of the pier is that it has a craziness to it. It’s not a manic insane craziness, but an excited, happy craziness. When there are lots of little kids running around ecstatic that they won some 2 cent piece of plastic it makes for a nice end to the workday of stress and anger that I deal with on a regular basis.
David Pisarra is a divorce attorney who specializes in father’s rights and men’s Issues with the firm of Pisarra & Grist in Santa Monica. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 664-9969.