the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: Beach

Jesus at the Beach

Summer at the beach.  Tanned bodies, flip-flops, kiddie rides, ice cream cones, pop songs on the radio.  Sure, there may be too much skin exposed, and people are reading dumb books rather than Dostoevsky, but there is way more sin going on in a typical night on HBO than at a California beach.  C’mon, Jesus, mellow out and relax.  Grab a Hawaiian ice and watch the girls.

The Amadeus of Redondo Beach


A new barista has been working at the coffee house a block from my house during the afternoon shift.   He is a music student, maybe twenty years old, and an extremely talented violinist.  The coffee house is usually empty during the late afternoon.  Today, I went in for a cup of coffee.  As I drank my coffee, the barista played his violin behind the counter.  He stood in front of a music stand, playing from a book titled “Music by Bach.” 

The barista’s playing was amazing.  He had a masterful control of his instrument and  produced rich, romantic tones.  He also had that “X-factor” they talk about on shows like “American Idol.”  He was young, intense, good-looking, with long brown hair. 

After he finished his piece, I complimented him on his talent.  I walked over, eager to relate to him as an “informed” classical music lover.  After all, you don’t meet too many “sophisticated” people in Redondo Beach, which is mostly well-known for having good fish tacos.

“Excellent,” I said.  “That’s Bach, right?”  I asked innocently, faking that I didn’t already know the answer since he was playing from a book titled “Bach Concertos.” 

“Huh?  Who?”  he asked in return.

“Bach.  You were playing Bach, right?”

“Uh, I dunno.  They gave us this book in school.” 

He looked at the front of his music book, apparently for the first time.

“Hey, you’re right.” he announced.  ” Bach.  Cool.  I’m bringing the sexy Bach!”

I suddenly occurred to me that this talented violinist who just blew me away with his soulful and melancholy music was a complete imbecile.

I sat down and finished my coffee, feeling much like Salieri. 

Later that day, I saw him skateboarding in the street with these two surfer dudes WHILE carrying his violin case under his arm.

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