"Discovery Bay," Danielle LaPerle (Fall 2014)
It’s that time of the year when the excitement of going home for the holidays causes stress, anxiety and joy all in one. My brain starts to instantly build a naughty and nice list which result in my credit card bill maxing out to extreme limits of debt. Then I try to decipher which family members I am going to see and how I am going to see them. I tend to dread going back to my home town of Discovery Bay and possibly bumping into an old friend from high school. I just imagine seeing Stacy Fowler with her beautiful long blackish brown hair, sparkling green eyes, and banging model body, walking lovingly with her three beautiful children and smoking hot husband. There is just something about being thirty with no kids, no career and living pay check to pay check that is not something to brag about. I mean, what kind of conversation could we possibly have? Maybe how awesome life is in the Disco?
The motto of the debutants and retirees that settle in my home town is, “Live where you play, Discovery Bay!” I suppose it is a gloriously fun place to live if money, alcohol, and drugs are involved. Other than the road to fame lifestyle it’s an isolated town stuck in the middle of nowhere on the outskirts of Contra Costa County with a shopping center that wasn’t even built till 2003. In that shopping center is a Safeway, Starbucks and McDonalds. Shocker there! Even the high school is a fifteen minute travel time and the average adult travels over fifty minutes to commute to their six figure careers. Discovery Bay is technically not even considered a city, and just recently received its own zip code of 94505 in 2007 ("Discovery Bay, California"). Talk about country living!
Oh the little town of Discovery Bay, California, with its 2012 Census population of 13,352 and mostly middle upper class wallets and billionaire attitudes. Driving down Newport Boulevard is like watching a horrible opening scene from the show 90210. To the left of the boulevard are palm trees lining the sidewalk spaced ten feet away from each other. To the right are American dream style homes all with docks that have private access to the Sacramento-San Joaquin river delta. It is stated on the Town of Discovery Bay website that the water from the delta is used for irrigation and municipal use for San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. I can’t imagine that throw up green water used for anything but boating. I honestly believe if anyone where to drink it, they would acquire a bio hazard bacteria and grow a limb that isn’t medically explainable. Approximately 1,100 square miles of tubing, fishing, wakeboarding and drinking alcohol. Liquor. Beer. Oh, did I mention lots of alcohol?
I asked my mother, a thirty year Alameda County Sergeant, “What made you want to live in Discovery Bay?”
“I moved here because of the affordable price at the time, the beautiful warm weather and for the water so I can take my boat out during the summer,” she replied.
Summertime on the delta is like seven minutes in heaven. When I am on the water it is like pure ecstasy and all my dreams are coming true and then when the day is finished, I just anticipate when I am going to do it again. During the summer all my free time would be spent on a boat with the warm breeze across my face, all types of boats ranging from Ski Sangers to Yachts. Memorial Day and Labor Day are the wildest on the delta. About two miles from the Discovery Bay Marina is an isolated beach called Ski Beach. It is cluttered with rows of boats tied together with flotation device bois and rope. All of the boats blaring loud music ranging from Lincoln Park to Mac Dre. Some boats are equipped with stripper poles, built in kegs, and half naked woman. Others have built in bars with a variety of alcohol from Sky Vodka to Patron and illicit drugs by the pound. It’s like a scene at Burning Man on a tiny island surrounded by water. It’s a guarantee that parts of the day will be forgotten and pieces of clothing will be misplaced.
Ninety-five percent of the population owns some type of boat. There are a select few that spend the big bucks and purchase yachts, which then turns out to be an exclusive membership to the Discovery Bay Yacht Club. The membership includes a private club house, dining gallery and a bar. The clubhouse is a decrepit lighthouse style building that is white with light blue trim built in the 1980’s. It is surrounded by palm trees and bushels of red, white, and purple carnations. There is always the lingering odor of bourbon and dead fish accompanied by millions of seagulls gawking like the sound of fingernails on a chalk board every time I approach the ten foot wooden doors. As stated by the dictatorship of the rich man club on the Yacht club website, there are rules to be part of the Yacht club. So I swallow my judgments and pretend like I am a “well-mannered lady and gentleman”. I would much rather be a part of the golf club because at least then I can get a little exercise out of it instead of a hangover.
If a resident doesn’t live on the delta then they live on the Discovery Bay golf course. The Discovery Bay website states the golf course was built in 1986 and designed by golf course architect Ted Robinson, who I assume is some old white dude who loves golf (Klipp). I would have liked to have known that my home town had a golf course built by Jack Nicklaus. Not the actor, but that famous old golfer dude. When I was fresh out of high school, I was the beverage cart girl for that golf course, and I can tell you that the old grumpy men that belong to the country club are cheapskates, and that is probably why they are so loaded. When I was being trained, management warned me not to go too fast around the turns on the golf cart because the last cart girl flipped the cart and went into the lake. I had to laugh and just figured that she must have been drinking on the job. I will say that the course is very beautiful with the well-manicured turf and many levees and sand traps that swallow all the Titleist golf balls. It is 18 holes of three, four, and five par. Club members can pay for a nine hole round or an eighteen hole round with the average cost of $85.50. That is not including the cart fee of $15 per person.
Besides the amenities and leisure activities, Discovery Bay is a rather safe place to live and raise children. The Neighborhood Scout website states only 21% of the communities in California have a lower crime rate than Discovery Bay ("Crime Rate for Discovery Bay"). That alone is a good reason to settle down there. When I was growing up, it was normal to play outside and travel alone a few miles to school. Discovery Bay also has good schools. Timber Point Elementary is rated 7 out of 10, and Discovery Bay Elementary is rated 8 out of 10. using a rating system based on students' test scores ("Discovery Bay Schools"). This is amusing to me because I actually attended the school that has the slightly smarter children. So in other words, I must be smarter than the other kids who are on the opposite side of town.
Discovery Bay Elementary has a dolphin for its mascot that matches the theme of blue and white at the Yacht club. The school is rows of trailer type units with ramps that have metal railings to the blue painted door that says, “Welcome students.” The playground has a swing set, tire swing, slide and monkey bars surrounded by maroon bark. Around the playground is cement that is covered in chalk with writing like, “Melissa was here,” and the outline of a hopscotch grid. There is a tether ball pole to the right of the playground and hand ball wall to the left. A few feet past the tether ball pole is the cafeteria and gymnasium. Whenever I drive by the school and see all these features, I have an overwhelming feeling of the carefree life of a child and all my adult problems are nonexistent.
My life has moved on from the shallow lifestyle of suburbia, yet I still long to go back for the warmth and comfort of “mommy’s house." The morning sunrise over the delta is what I miss the most. Imagine waking up and looking out the bedroom window to see the orange, red, pink sunset glistening atop the murky water, to smell fresh rain, and hear the sound of hummingbirds singing.
Works Cited Page
“Discovery Bay, California” Wikipedia the Free Encyclopedia. Foundation Inc. 28, July 2014. Web. November 5, 2014.
“Live where you play.” Town of Discovery Bay. Discovery Bay Community Center. 2014. Web. November 6, 2014.
Klipp, Bill. “Discovery Bay Yacht Club.” Club Express Platform. Bill Klipp. Gembrook Systems, LLC. July 5, 2006. Web. November 12, 2014.
“Discovery Bay Schools.” Great Schools, Inc. July 30, 2014. Web. November 12, 2014.
“Crime rate for Discovery Bay.” Enterprise-grades data for every neighborhood and city in the United States. Location, Inc. 2014. Web. November 13, 2014.