Omphaloskepsis — Sally and the Naval Training Center

Most people — if they think of San Diego — think of Sea World, the zoo and the beaches. It’s a very military city, in fact, and without the Marines and the Navy it might have remained a sleepy backwater on one of God’s most inspired bays. However, during WW II, the Navy opened a training facility where even Marines were trained.

And so… Time passed by and WW II became a distant memory even for those who fought in it. The various military bases in the area had to “repurpose” themselves to some extent, and one of these was the Navy Training base.

What to do with a ton of Spanish-style duplex houses built in the 40s? What to do with an old hospital and a fake ship? What to do with a gym and barracks and a dining hall? What to do with all these buildings that played such a huge part in the building of San Diego and to which so many people are attached through the unbreakable strings of nostalgia?

Much discussion was given to this. The buildings were already there and that was good — or was it? They weren’t exactly modern, were they? People arrived in meetings wearing their power suits, red ties and very ugly dresses and decisions were made… And the buildings remained.

And I could not have cared less, but people like to be busy, like to go to meetings, like to put on the clothes one wears to meetings and like to be written about in the paper.

Then one evening I met my friend Sally for dinner at a vegetarian restaurant we both liked called “Kung Food.” I liked the name for obvious reasons but also because I could sing, “We were Kung Food fighting” and I could imagine slamming people with hands full of green jell-o. I was earlier than Sally who is always late (and no one knows why). Sally was going through hard times health wise (NOTHING compared to now). She was suffering hives, and stress, and heart palpitations and why was her eye twitching? Well, stuff at work had gotten ugly for Sally, no question, and she was angry. I thought of the great Chinese novel, Red Chamber Dream in which I learned that anger that is not released can attack the body in hives, twitching, heart palpitations, etc. She had reason to be angry about work — and some personal stuff, too. We talked about it and ate our spinach, tofu and walnut lasagna (good, by the way; I figured out how to make it, and though I don’t — I have).

“Well, I’m being proactive,” she said (proactive was a new word then and I couldn’t figure out what the difference was between it and simple active but I held my peace, though I did still try in those days to control the language). “I’m starting Kundalini yoga practice on Saturday morning. They’re holding it at the Naval Training Center. Isn’t that wonderful? That place used to train boys to fight is now a place to teach people to be more peaceful.”

I barely heard the end of her story, I was laughing so hard at the thought of her taking a Kundalini Yoga class at the Naval Training Center.

If you get how this story relates to this morning’s prompt, please let me know. It’s a true story, by the way, and I thought it was quite apropos…

8 thoughts on “Omphaloskepsis — Sally and the Naval Training Center

  1. It sounds like all the old posts where people do not want to use and stay in the old (historicial) buildings. I actually like the old town and the resturants in San Diego plus Coronado.

    • They just stopped training the Navy recruits there, partly because it was too expensive to update them to current standards and requirements. I loved Old Town San Diego — but it was sold to one of those big chain restaurant/mall businesses and was no longer “Old Town” (I heard). People tend to do what’s convenient, I guess, and what makes them money.

  2. A lot of people live in old houses, some VERY old houses. A percentage of the populations will always like doing things the way they used to be done … and others will opt for new and shiny toys. But regardless. all human life will continue to need the basics. Homes. Transportation. Light. Heat. Communications. Food. Friends. Fun. Art. I have friends in San Diego. I only made it down there once and then, just very briefly. I wish I’d been able to spend more time.

    Lovely story πŸ™‚

  3. L. O. L. Great story and yes, “Kung Food” was an awesome name and I love what you did with that.
    As for today’s prompt, I read it and thought, “Uhm, nothing, as you are supposed to wipe your hard drive before you get rid of it. Ever hear of identity theft?”
    But that’s just me. I thought you were just doing another one of your quirky responses to another silly prompt.
    And it seems like you did.

    • I took it as another one of those “bare your soul” by telling us what’s on your had drive prompts – maybe it wasn’t, but it struck me that way. The joke was that such a prompt is naval gazing, as is one aspect of Kundalini Yoga and my friend Sally really did to that at the Naval Training Center which I found hilarious! πŸ˜€

      • I am in favor of “navel gazing” or introspection as knowing oneself is important. Sharing your deepest, darkest secrets though? Not so much. That’s what friends and possibly therapy are for. I want to scream every time I read a Facebook post about the inane details of someone’s life. Who cares?
        Regarding the Kundalini yoga at a decommissioned Naval facility, did you either read or watch “The Men Who Stare at Goats?” The movie was done as a spoof but the book was real non-fiction. Apparently Hollyweird felt the need to discredit it by making it look the way they did. At least the author still got paid for his work and I am sure that the publicity helped his book sales too.

      • It was just one of real life’s accidental and hilarious puns. Naval Training Center is a way of saying Kundalini Yoga Class. πŸ˜€

        As for introspection — I’ve done my fair share, but then at a certain point I realized that who I am IN THE WORLD and the way I react and respond to the external world is very informative. We’re not all that different from each other, either.

  4. I do like your twist on the theme. An old building training people to kill, now rectifying the stresses and teaching yoga instead. Delightful! It can be now spelt Navel training centre. Peace vs war for me any day.

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