August 19, 2022
Editor’s Note: The following series, “Life in Radically Gentrifying Cayucos by the Sea,” which will be published bi-weekly, includes notes, thoughts, and opinions from an original American voice: author Dell Franklin.
Franklin’s Memoirs, “Life on the Mississippi, 1969,” is currently on Amazon.
By DELL FRANKLIN
I was driving in my 2002 Toyota at the posted speed of 25 mph in the Pacific (the residential coastal road of Cayucos and our Riviera) the other day and ran behind an electric golf cart hogging the road at less than 10 mph. This happens often.
I always stay far behind and they usually shoot sideways, but this cart didn’t. Two middle-aged people were in the back, facing me. I headed for the 24th Street parking lot. We were around 10th street. I decided to move closer to let them know I didn’t feel like going below 10 mph, but they still wouldn’t stop.
The people in the back gave me “out of line” looks, moving so close. So I walked around them slowly and when I passed they all (four people) shouted, “Slow down!
My usual line would be “fuck my ass!” But that wasn’t necessary, so I exclaimed, “It’s not the Hamptons!”
I resumed my 25 mph crawl. I had no reason to be in a rush, but I don’t like following someone who is way, way under the speed limit in what isn’t an automobile for 14 streets; such behavior smacks of arrogance and ownership in Cayucos, a sense of imposing one’s will, dictating policy, and owning the place.
Later, they pulled into the 24th Street parking lot. They were having fun, I guess. I didn’t want to break their fun. People seem to be having a lot of fun around town in electric carts of all sizes, some with more outlandish gadgets. One day during the 4th of July rush in town, I counted 23 electric carts filled with young and old, the music blaring, in just over an hour.
When I moved here in 1989, there were no golf carts on our streets. They’ve been everywhere lately.
There’s another woman who comes out of 5th or 6th street on Ocean (our main thoroughfare leading to our hive downtown) when you’re going 35 mph and sets up right in front of you, forcing you to brake and refuses to stop at 10 mph; and as there is no way through our busy main thoroughfare, you must follow it to the city centre. And if you honk, she ignores you, she owns the road, she’s middle-aged and grey, so no need to yell at her or call her names.
It’s just not possible to reprimand someone that old and womanly who isn’t going to give me the middle finger or yell at me or tell me to slow down because his golf cart is the rule, and so go with it!
Another time I was crossing the ocean to the Brown Butter Cookie Company with my almost 16-year-old Lab and, as other cars slowed to a stop, two men in an electric cart with three children in the back, swerved around me (like I was an unwanted obstacle) and passed downtown, and I quickly yelled “assholes!” I guess one of these contraptions gives certain privileges.
The reason I mentioned the Hamptons on Long Island, New York – where billionaires live with 100ft long luxury yachts – is because I read an article some time ago where lower-class millionaires rode around their city centers in electric carts with air conditioning, lights, transparent coverings to protect against rain or mist, radio and flat-screen TV, GPS, and other gadgets leading to new compact car prices, surely a competition to look hipper and richer than your neighbors.
These folks from our Riviera didn’t look like Hamptonites, but still, their grossly unfair and arrogant rebuke of me for passing them at 20 mph stuck in my throat, and when I spoke to a few of my seawall buddies from this showdown they were outraged, one of them told me I should have “got their asses out of the way”.
The thing is, the people riding those carts (even the kids) probably have more money than I can comprehend. Their electric trolleys are accessories that a poor person like me cannot dream of affording.
If I kick their miserable asses out of the way and reprimand them as they deserve, they might retaliate by chasing me for what little I have left in my pockets and kicking me out of Cayucos for good and force me to live in my nephew’s closet downstairs in Mount Washington in Los Angeles. He says he is preparing for such an incident by building one of these tiny multi-purpose huts for the homeless in his garden, which is on a hill, which means he will have to create steep stairs and maybe a ladder, something too dangerous for me at this point.
I despise LA anyway, even though I love my nephew, so I have to think about that before I run one of those golf carts and their licensed owners off the road and berate them like budding Hamptonites and worse.