It is Friday night and I park my car near El Colegio and walk down the street with my backpack and a bag of snacks in tow. Passing up the Garden Court apartment complex I see a fresh puke stain on the sidewalk. I walk around and continue my way toward the 6800 block of Del Playa Road.
Heading South on Camino Del Sur, the street starts to lose its sidewalks and faint sounds of bass playing from speakers are booming from one block to another. There are other people walking down the streets besides me, some dressed up in tight outfits, one loudly talking on his cell phone while stumbling across the street. I try to get a sense of who these wanderers are and see their intention of finding their friends and partying.
Finally I turn right onto Del Playa, where at that moment a group of young men are walking in a pack. I trail behind them and eventually weave through and into another pack of young men walking in the middle of street. A small panic rises inside of me and I begin to wonder about my safety as a woman walking by myself at night on Del Playa. No one, whether from the street or from the yards of the beachfront houses seems to notice me and the small feeling of panic flees. I continue to walk, still with my backpack and snacks, to find Jazmin's place.
Eventually I land at a house with a long driveway with cars parked in front. A broken surfboard is mounted at the edge of the roof hang, with red painted letters, "surf club." The kitchen light is on and I can hear sounds of chatter and bubbling food cooking over the stove top. I see faces looking back at me through the front kitchen window.
I immediately get questionable looks from a couple of faces after being greeted at the door. "Who are you? And what are you here for?" A fish who can't surf is a fish out of water. Emphatically, I reply, "Hi, I'm Van, and I'm here to see Jaz."
Jaz (age 19), a petite-blonde 2nd year CCS student at UCSB, comes out from the garage area to greet me. We hug, and I offer to her and her roommates organic tortilla chips and salsa. I sit down with her and her roommate "Goggles" (age 25) and his Uruguayan wife Lucy (age 28) in their spacious living room and we talk through most of the night.
The communal area where I stayed is spacious, where across one side of the room is a custom-made surfboard rack filled boards of different sizes standing vertically. The adjacent wall has a horizontal rack for even larger boards. There is an equipped fireplace and mounted chalkboards for various communication about the Surf Club house's scheduled meetings and activities. I take note of another mounted chalkboard with a hand-written "Kore Score" at the top and take curiosity of what this is.
To quickly identify the specs on the house:
-converted garage into a bedroom (a former triple now double where Jaz and one roomie sleep)
-three singles (one of which Lucy and Goggles occupy)
-and a converted double located in the back patio area
-two bathrooms, separated by gender
Lucy is not on the lease as there is a cap on the number of residents in a home in IV. Currently, the group has been dealing with a past roommate issue and her name is still on the lease.
"That girl was popping way too many pills each day," says Goggles. He is referring to the group's former roommate and her alleged abuse of adderall.
"She would study for 12 hours a day at the library," adds Jaz. "And it got to a point where it was so bad that she just disappeared." After leaving UCSB to live with her parents in La Jolla, CA, "Blueberry," as she was nicknamed, briefly came back to settle a subletter, which was an even further awkward situation for all of the surf club housemates.
As we are conversing, a few different faces walk in and out of the house. It looks like a couple of Jaz and Goggle's roommates have other plans for their Friday night, also having invited a few of their friends to walk in. I smile and say hello to each face, being unable to keep track of their names.
At one point later in the night, a surfing buddy and recent UCSB graduate Ricky (age 22), stops to talk about his difficulty in finding a job.
It is just about 2am and everyone decides that it is time to hit the sack. I bid goodnight to Goggles, Lucy, and Ricky as they all walk off. A little bleary-eyed, I follow Jaz to see her room and wake up to a jolt of freezing wind. Her window was left open and to her East Coast origin, the cold doesn't phase her. She crawls on the floor and reaches under her bed, calling for her cat. My eyes are straining to stay awake and I find myself in a slight stupor as Jaz offers me a place to sleep in either Blueberry's abandoned bed or the couch in the living room.
I try to think coherently for a brief moment, then decide that I'm too much of a wuss to handle her freezing cold room and plop myself on the couch where we sat and hung out. I eventually fall asleep after being partly distracted by the glowing spa from the neighbor's next door that is gleaming through the large curtain-less window.
My alarm goes off from my cell phone and I eventually get up at 7:30 in the morning. I trickle may way out of the Surf Club house and walk down a quiet, sobering Del Playa. I take note of the scattered plastic red party cups along the yards and alleys of other housing units in contrast to the beautiful ocean view from Dog Shit Park.