Opinion: Outside In


Summering at Nana Camp

By David Weinstein

It’s Nana camp at our house this week. That’s when the grandsons, Max and Leo, who are six and eight years old get to enjoy a four-day all-expense-paid vacation that is the equivalent of a stay at that place from the 70s TV show, “Fantasy Island,” where all their wildest dreams are indulged. Then they get returned to their parents, who are forced to bring them back into reality.

I am the fifth wheel in this event. Actually, the fourth wheel, or maybe the bouncer because it can get pretty rowdy. The two kids and Ann are the main event. The boys get to eat donuts for breakfast, donuts for lunch, and donuts for dinner. Sometimes they will complement this with a nourishing ice cream sandwich. If we could tap their energy level after this, we could replace a few of those old coal-fired power plants. We will return them home tomorrow and then call the contractor to decide if the house can be saved or if it’s a teardown. We love it. Especially Ann. And we know it will only last a few more years until the lure of hanging with their friends supplants us. But it sure is a lot of fun while it lasts.

Yesterday we went to the beach at Thalia Street. I was the de facto lifeguard, but there were no rescues necessary. This was fortunate because the boys went way past the point where I could have been much help. I constantly lecture them on the consequences of dangerous behavior, but there must be some receptor missing in their young male brains because they keep repeating their risky behavior. I already saw Leo, the oldest, eyeing the electric bikes we saw driving to the beach. Apparently, these bikes are automatically issued to every kid in Newport and Laguna Beach when they turn 13. I wonder if this is a city ordinance.  It also appears they provide them with helmets, but the wearing of one must be optional based on what I witness (Shoes are definitely optional.) This makes me realize that our grandsons will start getting their driver’s license in about eight years. If I make it, I’ll be closing in on 80 then. I can only speculate on which one of us will pose the greater threat to public safety. Well, school starts in a week, and I hope, for all our sakes, they will be able to return to class and find a sense of normalcy.

On a completely different note, I notice that Liberate Laguna changed its name. It is now Laguna Forward. From my point of view, this is too bad. While I may not agree with all their goals, I always thought their name was forthright and honest, which is rare in these times of obfuscation. This despite the fact the name always brought to mind a band of rebels holed up in the lower level of the historic Digester building transmitting information to supporters via a shortwave radio. Like the French Resistance in World War II, or a sort of Nana Camp for adults. I only lament that they never produced a T-shirt with a logo of a clenched fist holding a jagged lightning bolt between the words “Liberate” and “Laguna.” Wearing it would have been a real conversation starter and cause for spirited debate while strolling the Forest Avenue Promenade.

David lives in Newport Beach and is a columnist for the Independent.

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