Day Five: At last yonder lies the smog of LA, beyond the infinite snake of traffic. Jim’s new place is very SoCal- porticos, palms, and a pool. I schlepped his stuff inside with the help of some big boys. My reward was to drown myself in likker at a bar in Westwood Village. Afterwards we went to Denny’s. This is LA and so the Denny’s did not have the low rent Country Kitchen decor or a bag of crack beneath my seat (hooray for Denny’s, New Haven!). Nope, it was real swankeroo- all neon tubes, chrome, and red and blue vinyl. The boys were laying out odds on whether their friend, who had gone off with some chick, was going to get any and how and how much. It felt like a scene out of Swingers. Don’t ask me if that’s good.
Day 6, 4am: LA just was not agreeing with me so I called up my Dad in the Phoenix area:
Me: “hey Dad, wanna go for a ride?”
But within six hours we were on the road to San Francisco along the Pacific coastal highway. We passed Big Sur in a light fog. We stopped to stand on the beach and watch the green waves break. I stood on a cliff and watched the seals diving.
We stopped in Monterey and Cannery Row. Steinbeck is long gone and a fire swept away some of the canneries, but we had clam chowder bread boules. We stayed in a Motel 6 in Gilroy, the garlic capitol. One cannot doubt the distinction well-applied when one wafts into the town on a thick garlic breeze.
Day Seven-Ten: We hit San Francisco and found a sheltered path to an out of the way beach looking out on the Golden Gate and Bay bridges.
I saw a Chinese fisherman catch a stingray and let him go.
We went over to the piers where the scent of fish and fried clams mingled with the sight of Alcatraz, the bustle of tourists, the green tides, and sailboats. Pier 39 is now solely occupied by sea lions.
I had supper in a Chinatown eatery and my fortune cookie read You will soon be surrounded by good friends and laughter.
It was a sixteen hour drive to Wickenburg, Arizona, where my dad lives. We took a five minute nap on an exit in the California desert. He was confused when he woke up and made an illegal hard right onto the interstate going the wrong way down the on-ramp. And smokey was sitting just a few yards away. He was clearly flummoxed by the overall strategy of my dad’s driving but he liked lambchop’s smile and we got off scot free. I didn’t even have my seat belt on.
I spent the next few days in the Arizona desert, eating jalapeno mac and cheese with my dad and posing with his collecting of antique weapons. He has a Walther PPK, a .357 Magnum, and a bayoneted WWII rifle still notched from the Battle of Berlin. Yee-f@#$%ing-Haw!
After driving back to LA to catch my plane, I eventually woke up in Boston, threw my swimsuit and Barbie beach towel in a bag and took a bus up to Bristol, NH where my friends draped me with lei’s and a coconut bra and sailor hats. We cha cha’d and drank enormous cocktails. We floated on the river all day on giant blow up flowers with floating drink caddies. We watched 70s porn and ate shrimps crusted with coconut and black beans and corn. We went to brunch for bloody marys and eggs benedict. On Sunday, we went to a huge arcade where we could play old atari games but we were scolded for riding the mechanical horses. (We snuck a photo on the bumper cars anyway). But mostly we just swam and paddled up and down the river, drinking, eating fourth of july cupcakes, and laughing till we puked. Lambchop loves the lovely friends!
…and that’s all!