This new stop sign is an affront to the image and character of Cayucos' small town aura. This repugnant stop sign means added regimentation and regulation to the free spirit of a beach town with a proud band of frowsy eccentrics and borderline anarchists and old time surfers bridling at the techie infestation sky-rocketing rents while empowering themselves in local government, this entitled pack of ninnies imposing their will on long entrenched townies, including some ranchers, cowboys and farmers living on our inland fringes.
We do not want you or your bloody rules. We are stuck with you, and now, to my way of thinking, you have stuck us with a stop sign that forbids me from driving straight through the main drag when I head north, or return south, which is seldom, I admit. Well, what this stop sign tells us is that we do not stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk, or that we are, when idling at the stop sign on Cayucos drive, too overwrought and harried to wait for cars to pass in a town notorious for its snail pace, patience and quietude.
Seldom is a honk heard in Cayucos. We are unfailingly polite at crossings, and usually generous—even to the gawking tourists holding up traffic. To me, this stop sign is an alien invasion, a threat that things will grow worse in Cayucos, a place that has no use for progress and fights hard to remain stubbornly stagnant. We loath change. We are steeped in another time, a time when stray dogs and unemployed surfers and beach bums ruled the streets and beaches, greasy spoons were lapped up, rickety cottages were still standing, wobbly boozers were allowed to walk home at night from the bars without getting drunk-in-public arrests, where one of our most successful mayors was a restaurant owner who bet huge on just about every college and pro football game in a season and left bones out back for marauding dogs.
With rents high, and the gilded techies in their luxury sedans and SUV's replacing our dumpy vans and pickups and beaters, what is next—a stop LIGHT on the main drag? Will new signs crop up on the beach forbidding smoking, cooking fires, dogs, booze, bicycles, etc., and turn us into Santa Cruz or Malibu or Carmel?
I suppose the local political powers that be mounted the drive to give us this dreaded stop sign, possibly with an infusion of techie wives and geek husbands. I consulted the unofficial mayor and bar gad-fly, Tag Morley, who's lived here over 40 years and knows everything about everything and everybody, and he informed me some sort of advisory board is the culprit. Tag, a sort of handyman who has provided service at almost every low level job imaginable in Cayucos during his four plus decades, and has driven a variety of listing, growling heaps over that time, seems to think the new stop sign will constrain the stupes who idle at the Cayucos Dr. stop sign and force them make a decision when cars now halt at the new stop sign on Ocean. But I feel this will only cause more backups, more gawking among the tourist stupes, more writhing indecision, a bevy of shocking honks, and perhaps yelling and screaming and middle finger thrusting among drivers, and even threats and fights.
Of course Tag, who has an in with all the powers that be by somehow making himself indispensable for his services as emcee and organizer of certain functions, seems to think this new stop sign will help corral the influx of tourists that have largely taken away our off season dead time these last few years, and, as usual, Tag makes logical sense.
Still, logical sense should mean nothing to Cayucos. Logical sense should be thrown out the window when it comes to some group imposing a stop sign on our main drag, a drag that has been left alone to fend for itself, like the town, for centuries.
Though, Tag did say, “I just hope they don't hang a blinking red light to warn us of the stop sign. It's bad enough they put up those new signs warning us of the crosswalk at the coffee shop. Those are just plain stupid.” He paused. “Anyway, you know every rancher and farmer who comes into town's gonna run the damn thing anyway.”
“We're being regulated,” I insisted. “It's a conspiracy to break our spirit...”
“We'll discuss it at the Schooner's Wharf at happy hour,” Tag said, checking his phone. “Right now I have three calls on my cell, begging for service.” He sighed, shook his head, appearing aggrieved, if not exasperated, for Tag does not easily suffer fools. “Talk about needy--It seems this new breed moving in here can't do anything for themselves and I'm more in demand than ever.”
“Well, I hope you're gouging them good,” I said.
He looked at me as if I was the stupidest fool on earth. “Does the owl hoot at night?”