Here’s what happens when your fiancé gets himself a brand new, super fancy, can-get-perfectly-clear-photos-of-ants-from-100-feet-away camera, ostensibly for your upcoming honeymoon, but really as a toy for himself: you go on adventures.
J had been wanting to take his new toy to the port of Los Angeles to capture snapshots of container ships but I forbade it. With vehemence.
No way he was going anywhere near ships and lighthouses without me along.
He whined. He sniffled. He laid a worthwhile guilt trip. But I held firm. I was going too, which meant he had to wait until Sunday (rather than head out on Saturday – I know waiting 24 hours is a lifetime, but sheesh. It’s the least he can do for his soon-to-be-wife).
He survived the interminable delay and we headed south on Sunday after lunch. I brought my journal, hoping to try my hand at sketching while J took photos of every ant he could find (kidding – he loves graffiti, urban decay, mechanicals, and buildings).
And yes, I wanted to try sketching.
I am not very good at drawing, but I have done it on and off for years. Since I was a kid really. I never stick with it with any kind of a conviction, so I can’t call it a hobby, but I do find it cathartic. When I’m trying to draw, I become completely engrossed in the task. All my stress and worries fall away like silky clothes being shed on the floor – and the only thing happening in those moments is my attempt to render something in front of me into a recognizable two-dimensional form.
And stress and worries I keep wishing were long gone continue to sit on my shoulders. I had another explosive, crippling panic attack last week – I needed mind emptying distraction.
Hence the sketching.
Couple that with ships, lighthouses, time with J, and a wiggly Charlie running around, and it was pretty much a perfect Sunday.
A perfect Sunday made even more fascinating by our stop to see the Sea Launch. J found this ocean-going marvel while doing some research into San Pedro, and all he had to say to me was “ship” for me to agree to go see it.
What a marvel. In a remarkably ugly sort of way. The Sea Launch is actually two vessels: the first being an enormous floating platform known as the Ocean Odyssey, and the other is a modern cruise ship on steroids, simply called the Sea Launch Commander.
The two sail together to serve as a launch pad for space rockets and a command center for the corresponding missions. You see, apparently it is cheaper and more efficient to propel vehicles into space from the Equator than it is to do so from any other point on earth. So they build a platform the size of Delaware and a command ship big enough to affect the planet’s axis, and they save a few bucks on private space missions.
Aww… I can’t be too cynical about it. I stared in wide-eyed amazement at the two monstrosities, so captivated by their shapes and forms, I completely missed the horde of sea lions that had taken up residence on the Ocean Odyssey’s catamaran-style hulls. And I was enthralled. If I have ever seen anything like this before, I sure as hell don’t remember it.
So what do I do? Proceed to sketch one of the cargo ships docked next to the Ocean Odyssey.
What can I say? The Cape Isabel looked more like a ship.
But there was something truly spectacular and unforgettable about the Sea Launch Commander and the Ocean Odyssey. A sense of true power emanated from both. Surrealistic. Something that large and unwieldy … works? Floats? Sails?
If the guys on the Titanic could have seen the two behemoths sitting in San Pedro Harbor…. talk about a little bit of hubris.
A remarkable moment that lasted only just that: a moment. Then we were off to see one of my lady loves, the Queen Mary.
Which yes, I did sketch.