It was beautiful. The ocean was practically glass, the birds were conversing, the sky was blue, the temperature was moderate. We didn't attempt any strenuous treks this time. Paul and Donald made sure the rudder was working correctly so we didn't have difficulties steering, nor did we have to bump up against a shore with an opportunity for Paul to step out into the water and fall in.
Instead, we paddled a bit, then stopped to listen and watch. There were many seals popping their heads up around us, sometimes quite close to us. Paul and I in our double kayak and Yiena in her single pretty much stayed together for the duration. Talked and watched, paddled a bit, stopped and watched. Really a perfect day. This is why I try to talk myself back into doing things when I have misgivings, and I'm glad I did this time.
Yiena asked if I were going to the Mayor's open house in the afternoon. I had not realized it was that afternoon, and yes, I had intended to go. So we planned on meeting there later.
We pulled into shore at maybe 1:10 or so. When the boats were all pulled in we met at Karsten and Yiena's place and broke into the wines Paul had brought. Yiena laid out a nice snack tray with cheeses and crackers so we sat and talked. Paul and Donald had lengthy discussions on political topics as well as on the nature of pinot grapes and wines. I couldn't help but wonder why this intelligent, well-read Donald is in the business of renting kayaks...but then again, why not? And his assistant is a head chef at one of the better restaurants in the area. I think this is indicative of what we see more and more in this area: people do what it takes to stay here, and material growth is not the primary reason for why they do what they do.
We finally wrested ourselves away from Baywood Park so we could clean up a little and go to the open house. We met K & Y on the street outside the mayor's house, and went in together. Joe was at the door, greeting people, as I assume he had been pretty much the whole afternoon. A lot of people were there, in this modest house in Pismo Beach. I talked with several people I know, and indulged my need to discuss some work-related items, even though this is normally not what I do. It was nice to meet, at last, Larry's wife Lois, and to talk to her for a bit, even suggest that she and Larry join the dance class.
But that was not all, either. Yiena suggested that we join them at the Madonna Inn later, for dancing, and we went for it. We had to stake out tables near the dance floor early, so had a few drinks while waiting. Then the music started.
It's an incredibly busy time of year there. There were at least three special events taking place in separate rooms, parties, and there were lots of people simply out for dinner. As a result, much of the dance floor had dining tables on it, and we had a significant audience, should that have concerned us.
It didn't concern me. I don't really know why. Partly because I doubt if there was anyone there who knows me, but I don't know why it would have mattered. I did feel a layer of nervousness to the extent that I had to concentrate on what I was doing and couldn't dredge up anything beyond basic steps. I danced with Paul for a few dances, and with Karsten for a few, and I mostly just did my best to follow. I know I don't dance well, but we managed to get around the floor and I only stepped on other people's feet a couple of times.
It was a good introduction to dancing in a real dance setting. It was clear that nobody was interested in what I was doing, and that there are no real consequences to making a mistake here and there.
The band played a lot of swing dances. Neither Paul nor I are much familiar with swing at all, having been exposed only a few times, in passing. We didn't dance any of these. What I have learned of swing feels very natural and fun to me, so I look forward to learning it for real. Yiena therefore offered to teach us a bit of swing after our next kayaking expedition, New Year's Day.
We got home at about 9:30, and it felt like a good time to go to bed.
I had the company of both kitties all night. For much of the beginning of the night, Stretch kept tucking in next to me, no matter how much I moved. Eventually he gave up and staked his place next to Bullet at the foot of the bed. I had a mostly restless night, my right arm giving me grief again (although the kayaking did not seem to have made it worse).