The coolest dudes on the entire Central Coast are dead. They’re not the snarky bartenders who serve your ultra-self-conscious bacon bloody mary at Sunday brunch. And no, I don’t care how elaborate and winding their facial hair happens to be. They’re not the kids who wail laments into microphones, and they’re certainly not the oenophiles with the savvy and pocket change to order the fanciest wines from the county’s most expensive restaurants. Even if they happen to know exactly what hoity-toity cheese to pair them with.
The coolest dudes—and I use this term gender-laterally—gave up on so-called polite society and retreated to the dunes where they not-so-politely cavorted, wrote, philosophized, consumed an embarrassing amount of bivalves, and began the county’s first zine to record their witticisms for all time. And then there’s the rest of us—banging away on Macbooks in cafes that sell craft beer, smartphones holstered near fingertips that itch for the release of the screen’s LCD glow. We’re posers. Posers, posers, posers. We preserve the Dunites’ legacy in books and museums, all while maintaining a polite distance from the ideals they most cherished and represented: freedom from a system unabashedly anchored to the bottom line. A system that’s willing to consider sacrificing one of the last patches of undeveloped coastline in the South County to greenlight a 100-acre seaside resort and conference center proposed by an oil company.
Let’s do the math here. We’ve got 5,342 billion miles of coastline—approximately—in this county set aside for families to ingest sand-riddled hot dogs and chase beleaguered seagulls until they decide to call it a day and subsequently spend the next three hours dusting sand out of every crevice they possess. We’ve got one teeny, tiny patch of sand—Pirate’s Cove—on which confirmed perverts, derelicts, and ne’er-do-wells can liberate their dogs and let them flap free in the cool Californian breeze. So why is it suddenly so important to shuffle out the perverts and pave over giant swaths of unspoiled coastline?
It’s every real estate agent’s wet dream, that’s why. And now the nudist perverts have turned to Change.org to start a petition against anesthetizing a space that has a long history of serving the needs of a less orthodox segment of the community. The odds of success are slim, given that the Board of Supervisors already approved the proposal to dramatically alter the character and personality of the space. Which might not raise too many eyebrows—upper class white people like developing coastlines into swanky resorts, what?—except that some of the arguments utilized to sway the board were, well, less than reasonable.
For example: Deputy Director of County Parks Curtis Black trotted out the excuse that the site is home to Chumash artifacts, and by paving over the land, they will be preserving these cultural and historic artifacts. Which I think is an apt metaphor, with Thanksgiving peeking its obese, gravy-glutted head around the corner, for this nation’s approach to relations with its indigenous peoples. If we cover it up, they’ll eventually shut the hell up about it, and we can pretend we did it for their own good.
Touting buried Chumash artifacts as an excuse to spread asphalt over a highly popular—and unique—stretch of California coastline is about as absurd as annually celebrating the extermination of virtually an entire race of people by deep frying turkeys and hosting school pageants in which children are taught that the pilgrims and “Indians” were really very good buddies. Also, something about corn. And smallpox.
And the fact that the supervisors bought this argument—along with a vision of the South County that severely limits what little diversity the beach communities have going for them—just indicates that they’ve got the same goo-goo eyes for increasing the real estate value of nearby properties. After all, we’ve gotta sweeten the deal for good ol’ Chevron if we want them to install yet another South County beach resort. Who wants to slip into a terrycloth bathrobe the color of Chris Hemsworth’s eyes, look out the window of their $300 hotel room, and have their senses assaulted by some old dude’s ass?
I guess what this really boils down to is a question of who owns the coastline, and the answer is: the same snobs who own everything else. Which is why San Luis Obispo County has the cultural complexity of an argyle sweater. And not even a sweater. An argyle sweater vest.
Maybe I’m shooting myself in the foot here taking up the cause of the dirty old hippie who just wants to let it all hang free within view of the mighty Pacific Ocean. It’s not like I can invite him over for tea when this is all over … mostly on account of the fact that I can’t afford seat covers and, well, ick. But if I won’t take up his cause, and proudly hoist the pervert flag, who will? Who else is looking out for the county’s cultural diversity?
What is in our DNA as humans that we insist on making outcasts of the most interesting people and spaces? You all talk a mean streak about how brilliant Picasso was, but if he’d moseyed on over to the Central Coast you’d have invented some kind of ordinance banning him and his filthy artistic kind. You’d pave over his domicile to make space for a gazebo for nice, ordinary folk. And honestly, I’ve met your nice, ordinary folk and I’m bored with them. Also, most of them aren’t half as nice as they make themselves out to be. If they were, maybe there would be as much support for the People’s Kitchen—just one place for hungry people in the South County to find food—as there is for the South County’s 42nd beach resort. ∆
Shredder lets it all hang loose. Send support hose to [email protected].