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…