I can’t help but think, “Is this what’s it’s come to?” I know it has, but when I look back at the girl who was married 18 years ago, the girl who believed, the girl who was so confident about the future, I think,You had no idea.
“You know what this is, right?” says my sister.
“It’s the last hurrah.”
“The last hurrah before winter comes.”
I walk outside with the phone, as is my habit. I can never keep still when I’m on the phone, and usually pace up and down outside, weather permitting, or inside if it doesn’t. It’s about 85 degrees, clear blue sky, a light breeze – pretty much perfect. Once winter comes, it will bring rain and cold, mudslides and road closures, power outages . No sunny days again until spring. I’d better enjoy the last hurrah.
It’s on its way.
Three phone calls later, the cab finally arrives. It’s 9:10, and the flight is at 9:47.
The driver thinks this is a good time to hang out in the street beside the car, blaming his tardiness on the dispatch people. I suggest that we get going, since my flight is in half an hour. He gets in the car and starts punching the address into his GPS.
Is it possible that I have the only cab driver in town who doesn’t know where the airport is?
I hustle onto the plane, which is approximately the size of my car, as the door slams behind me. Forty-five minutes later, I’m at LAX, which is disappointingly free of celebrities. There go my hopes of being on TMZ.
It's 95 degrees today. Just right for lunch beside the turquoise pool.
I'm attending a conference at a historic hotel, the Langham, in Pasadena. Built in 1907 and formerly the Ritz-Carlton, it sits grandly beneath the San Gabriel Mountains.
It also has the best room service coffee I've ever had. It almost made up for whatever East Coast Idiot called me at 6:30 this morning, disturbing my much-needed beauty rest. It never ceases to amaze me that they can’t seem to grasp the concept of time zones. If it’s 9:30 in New York, it’s 9:30 everywhere, right?
I never get tired of the valet parking, though. I love the car being brought up as if it were much grander than it was, with the air conditioning already on and the radio tuned to the baseball playoffs.
The next day, he got his revenge by leaving a dead mouse beside his bowl, which sent me screaming into the house while he smiled smugly. That'll learn ya.
So I did, and they still didn't want me for the 1:30 session, and thank you, that concluded my service for a year. Though relieved, I perversely immediately felt slightly insulted. They should have wanted me and given me a chance to attempt to reject them or appear to be undesirable.
I'd give it an A for effort but about a C over all, since you can't read the whole word at once due to the pumpkin's small size. It was much harder to get all the glop out of the middle than I remembered. Not to mention stickier.
He walked up the stairs to the screen door. Hissing ensued, and there was a blur of claws and curses until I managed to get the girls in the house.
No, it was...a puppy.
A beautiful red pit bull puppy, to be precise. He was sitting happily in the middle of the road, stopping traffic.
His owners turned out to be two guys working on their truck. When they headed toward the puppy, he stretched and wiggled joyfully.
I looked through case after case of beer and mixers. Finally, I asked the guy at the cash if they had milk. He just looked at me, and then started laughing. I retreated, milkless, with the sound of his laughter trailing behind me. I bought milk at the nearest gas station, unmocked.
On the way home, the bus stopped suddenly at the sight of an unexpected police car blocking the road, and I toppled into the lap of a high school kid, who said, "I just got me a lap dance, baby!" and high-fived me.
Across the street from a shabby building that looks like a motel converted to apartments, there is a strip of valiant garden beside the freeway on ramp. Among the flowers, it has a scarecrow, a statue of a fawn, and even a white picket fence.
The air is heavy with the scent of eucalyptus from the tall tree out back, the wet grass, the sodden flowers.