Sunday, October 18
I cannot believe i am here. i drove into California late yesterday afternoon, and called my friend, Nancy Banks, one of the few people i know who has driven around the country like i am doing, and gets the vastness and what it is like to drive through it. Although i have a really extensive vocabulary, i am having a really hard time describing the feeling of finally being in places i have heard about, read about, and seen in pictures.
My car has been full of different people on this trip. Yesterday, I felt my dad sitting next to me as I drove into California. He loved California, and one of the things he really wanted to do with me before he died was to do a road trip like this one. We never got to it, because one of us was always sick. So i am doing it now.
Chris, my cousin, gave me the route through the northwest, and i am so glad he did. The beauty has been mind and heart expanding. I am so not the person i was when i left Vero three months ago. I am more clear and less depressed. I have had to face fears I did not know I even had. Many truths have surfaced, sometimes hitting me so hard i have had to pull the car over.
My co-pilot is often a recalcitrant fourteen year old princess, who is a major hypochondriac. She is often snappy with me, especially when she needs food, water, a bathroom, and a bed. We are working on her attitude.
Chris walking Lucy and Lucky Dog park - Vallejo, California
I got to Chris and Nancy's around 8. We chatted, and they introduced me to Lucky and Lucy, their dogs, and Lily and Oscar, their cats. We all finally turned in around 11, and i slept the whole night. They have assured me that I can stay as long as i need to, which is good, because i really need to regroup - get some writing jobs, clean out my car, take care of my bod, and be vertical for a while.
Being a house guest has really opened my mind about how much space i really need. It has been really good for me to recalibrate my social skills. My hosts have been so generous, opening their homes and including me in their day-to-day lives. After living alone, or with my dad, which was no place to maintain my social skills, i felt like i really had lost my ability to interact with adults. Little by little, they seem to be coming back.
It is good to be around people. I have found this out by being as far out on lonely ledges as one can be. I am not the misanthrope I thought I was.
The backyard is the perfect spot to recover from the road. It is green and quiet, and the wood fence makes me feel safe and contained. Lucy is asleep beside my, giving me an added sense of stability.
This morning we went to the Mexican grocery store, so Chris could get tortillas, and then we went to the Safeway where Chris and Nancy met 25 years ago in aisle 5. I got dates, bacon, and Gouda, so that i could make the Odd Duck delectables that i had in Milwaukee.
After putting a load of laundry in, i relaxed in the backyard, thinking about our family on the east coast, at the first annual Ed Blute Memorial Golf Tournament, where it was snowing. Megan, Chris' daughter, and her boyfriend, Chris, came over, and we spent the afternoon watching the 49ers, eating barbacoa beef tacos and salad.
California has always seemed like such an unattainable dream that it was not even on my radar, and now i am here. What a gift I have been given. This time, I promise I will not squander it.