Two Tuesdays back Z and I headed to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk for what we intended to be a short trip. The plan was to drive over the hill, spend about an hour in the ocean, teaching Z to dive under waves and maybe body surf a bit, then get our annual Old Tyme photo. I suppose I should backtrack a bit here to fill y’all in on one of our most cherished traditions…
When Z and I were reunited on June 8, 2005 after a seven year separation one of our first outings comprised of me taking her, her half-brother and their mother to the Boardwalk for the day. As part of that experience we took an Old Tyme photo with the two of us dressed in gangster outfits from the days of Prohibition. You can see the picture above. The following summer we returned to the same studio at the Boardwalk and had them attempt to recreate the photo in order to show how much Z had grown. The plan was to take one each year. Unfortunately, due to lack of both finances and time together we skipped last summer. But we were determined not to miss out on the photo this summer.
Okay, back to the recent trip…
We arrived in Santa Cruz, changed into bathing suits, locked all of our valuables into Rover and headed for the surf. We were about half way there when I realized that I had forgotten to leave my glasses in the car as well. Having worn glasses 24/7 for the last 30 years or so, it’s easy to forget that I’m wearing them. Well, I was excited to get Z into the water, so I decided that instead of returning to Rover I would just stay in the shallows so as not to lose my glasses. To no one’s surprise it took less than 15 minutes for me to get blind-sided by a wave and lose my glasses, leaving me legally blind.
A trip back to the car and a few phone calls found us a friend that could come drive Rover home (it’s hard to drive when you can’t see the dashboard, much less the road or other cars), but he couldn’t get there for about 10 hours due to other commitments. So, back to the surf for a while we went followed by some time playing games and riding rides – all without my glasses. I’ve got to say that the Boardwalk (especially at night) with 20/250 vision is an absolutely surreal experience. The lights and noise and crowd all seem completely forum and the inability to see anyone’s facial expressions leaves one feeling completely disconnected from the near-chaos of the environment. On the other hand, I did manage to top my previous score on Desperadoes (they’re new shooting ride/game) despite being unable to actually see the “bad guys” I was aiming at 😀
We still went by the Old Tyme Photos Studio in the main arcade and had the picture on the left taken. The crew there this year (Sarah, Carney, Alejandra, and Jose) jumped all over the idea of recreating the original photo. They all thought it was an amazing idea and quickly became far more obsessive about matching the original picture than we ever were. It was absolutely wonderful! And the results are clear when comparing the three photos. If you’ve ever admired the Old Tyme Photos I couldn’t recommend any studio more highly then the one at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
The next morning we rose early and Z acted as my “seeing-eye Kitten” on a long bus journey up to Lenscrafters at Oakridge Mall. Unable to drive or work I had little choice in where or when I purchased new glasses – I needed them now. Z managed to find some great new frames for me while I had my eyes examined yet again and $300 later could finally see again.