After a rough week of fighting for fathers in child custody cases, blogging at my website, and arguing over whether or not the yacht club membership is a community asset, I like to relax by walking on the boardwalk and the Santa Monica Pier with my dog. On especially gorgeous days like this past weekend, the crowds are overwhelming but extremely exciting.

I hate the traffic that comes with the better weather and hordes of people, but the awesomeness of the diversity makes it all worthwhile. We are so very lucky to have the parade of people come to us, not only for the money they bring to the local economy, but for the entertainment value.

The grassy patch just south of the jungle gym kids area is a constant source of beautiful bodies practicing acrobatics or gymnastics. Oftentimes in the early morning there is a yogi or two twisting themselves into positions that would make Mitt Romney look like a straight arrow.

For people watching, this area with the rings and the giant ropes is a great place to see examples of physical prowess that make me pine for the days of my youth when I could climb that rope in 20 seconds as a 126-pound wrestler. Those days are long gone and highly unlikely to return.

If you have a dog, bringing them to the beach is great way to meet people, especially those with small children who are always attracted to furry things. My dog is an uncommon type, so he gets a lot more attention than most. As a standard dachshund he elicits lots of comments like “he’s so big!” and “I’ve never seen one so large.” At 30 pounds he stands out from your typical purse puppy that many people have. Those miniature dachshunds are convenient for carrying around, but they are a different dog than the standard size. My hound struts along the boardwalk, and as we approach the Hot Dog on a Stick he goes on high alert looking for dropped pieces of wieners and French fries.

Our tour continues along the south side of the pier, which has the best views of the beach and the bay during the day. It also has many fisherman who drop pieces of unidentifiable bait that a certain four legged creature loves to gobble. The catch of the day makes for interesting viewing, as some of the fish that are kept seem like monsters to me.

The circus gets really interesting on the north side of the pier as the street performers take over for the fisherman. From the silver guy, to the cameo maker, there is an endless parade of odd couples that draw my attention. I’m always amazed at the people and the funny clothes they wear to the beach. Men who have no business wearing Speedos and women who don’t realize that Spandex is a privilege and not a right make me envious of their self-confidence.

There is an “anything goes” attitude at the beach that I love to see, and occasionally take part in. It’s especially evident at sunset, after a long day of tanning and beer drinking for some, the wacky factor kind of reaches a crescendo just as the sun is sinking into the Pacific. I think my favorite sight from this weekend was a miniature poodle with a blue mohawk riding in a basket while her caregiver rode the bicycle. As she’s enjoying the wind in her face, her mom is singing. It was quite a sight to behold.

As we approach the Memorial Day weekend, which is the traditional start to summer, it’s nice to see that the Circus of the Curious is going to be in full force this year, as is evidenced by its presence already.

Come on down, cop a squat on the sand, and take part in the fun that is the beach at Santa Monica.

David Pisarra is a family law attorney focusing on father’s rights and men’s Issues in the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He can be reached at or (310) 664-9969.

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