What To Do In Malibu

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    Come with the family for a day at the beach

    Only to get stuck on the deadened mass of cars on the highway.

    Grow increasingly worried

    By the sight of endless taillights,

    And a new sign every 50 feet, claiming:

    One land ahead

    Expect delays

    Road construction next two miles

    Beware of falling rocks.

    Curse El Nino under your breath

    As your children become restless in the back seat, squawking

    Geez Dad, where are you taking us? Out of the country?

    Realize you wasted your hard earned money on yesterday’s carwash

    When only 24 hours later,

    Your black 4 Runner wears a thick suit of dust on its once clean paint job.

    Finally push the speedometer above 10 mph,

    As you pass a massive conglomeration of landslide, barriers, rubble

    And smiling Caltrans workers.

    Stop first in town

    When your wife insists the need for Starbucks,

    And try to look like you belong in the crowd of

    Shaved heads,

    Tattooed arms

    Pierced tongues

    And scantily clothed bodies

    Of the city s youth.

    Sip your grande decaf nonfat no foam extra hot hazelnut latte,

    And wonder exactly what it is you paid $3.95 for.

    Be persuaded, once again by your wife

    To look through the mystic, new age shops,

    Smelling strongly of incense,

    Magickal ambiance set by soft music and wind chimes.

    Return to your car after purchasing an overpriced necklace

    For your born again hippie sister back in ‘Frisco.

    Finally arrive at Zuma

    Squinting into clean, smogless sunlight.

    Delight at the massage of pure hot hand on your weary feet.

    Relax on your beach towel

    With a book and a soda.

    Listen to your children

    laughing and screaming with delectation

    At the foamy fingers of salt water

    Licking their dancing toes.

    Notice the light of contentment

    In your wife’s smiling eyes as she rubs sunscreen on your back

    And tells you what a great husband you are

    And how much she loves you.

    Realize:

    It’s worth it.

    Tiffany Betts