Friday, April 23, 2004

My Trip To So Cal- Part the Second
by Paul Mathers

Let's see, we're at Sunday now I think.
Sunday I went to my parent's new church which is the Calvary on Westminster Boulevard and is terrible. The pastor's sermon was on how he had more love for a screaming, rolling, tongue speaking, poison drinking, snake carrying pentecostal than a member of his own congregation who studies their Bible and is a bastion of integrity and the model of forgiveness and just happens to believe in predestination. Or at least that's what I got from the sermon. That's what he said. He said a lot of other junk too and I left feeling angry. Of course, I was also touchy by this point in the trip. I didn't want to be in Orange County.
That afternoon I went to see Charles, Phish, Yod, Jessica and Nissa. They cooked food and we sat around and chatted. They gave me a refrigerator for my birthday. It was a nice afternoon, but brief. I said my goodbyes to all of them. On my way to the car it hit me that I was on the last leg of my trip and I felt a little lighter.
Monday I finished my library hopping. I probably ended up with upwards of 200 books to bring back all said.
Monday night I did something I haven't done in two months. I sat in front of the television with my folks. I learned that American Chopper and Monster House are really cool television shows. I enjoyed it with the kind of detachment one has when one knows it'll be a long time before one enjoys that again.
Tuesday was my birthday and probably the most pleasant day of my trip. My mom took off work and drove me around, which was nice because I was starting to get used to driving in Orange County at this point and I didn't want to be used to it. I finally got that haircut that I've been needing. The barber used one of those massagers on my back after the haircut too.
Mem was at my folk's place too and we went to lunch with Aunt Ginger and Uncle Frank at Kaye's in Garden Grove. Big chicken club sandwich with really good onion rings. You go to Kaye's for the onion rings. It's on Main Street in Garden Grove. Go there for the onion rings.
Aunt Ginger gave me a book for my birthday and Mem gave me a check.
Mom and I went to Mother's and bought me even more groceries. Then we stopped by my old comic book store and I splurged a little. I bought an American Splendor collection. Probably shouldn't ought to have, but I never get to do that anymore.
For dinner we went to the Fish Market on Seal Beach Boulevard. I say it's the best clam chowder on this coast and I've been to San Francisco. Then blackened catfish. Then a brownie sundae. Then squeezed into the car with a crowbar.
And then there was loot. The big present was the DVD player. I also got a set of John Wayne films and A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to the Forum. A Thea Gilmore cd (really great stuff), a Garrison Keillor cd, a Silly Wizard cd, a Norman and Nancy Blake cd (old timey country music with simply two guitars and two voices), and the best present of all, possibly the coolest cd I've ever heard, a Sir Harry Lauder cd.
The drive home on Wednesday was long.
Yesterday I made chili.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Happy Earth Day and Arbor Day. Yesterday was John Muir's birthday. To celebrate I came home. And with that:

My Trip To So Cal- Part One
By Paul Mathers

Start off with my thesis here. Southern California is very dirty and cynical. I spent a good deal of my trip shell shocked from being back in that. I spent all of my trip with clogged sinuses. But this is not to say it wasn't a very pleasant and educational trip in many ways.
It was a Phish concert and 3/4ths of a Dead concert worth of driving. I tricked everyone and came down a day early because I wanted a day down there where only my folks knew I was there. So Wednesday I spent library hopping. Bought beaucoup books. Took a walk with Mom. That type of thing. That night was bad because I was seeing Nissa on Thursday and I told her I'd give her back the Nintendo she'd left with me like eight months ago. I thought I'd put it in the closet down at my folk's place before I moved. It wasn't there. I tore the closet apart. Finally found it in a box and sat down sweaty with a cup of tea and thought, "You know, when I pack up, I could set a match to everything in this room and probably never miss any of it."
The next morning I knew what I was going to tell Nissa. I told her that and told her that I felt much the same way about a lot of aspects of my life down there. Not to say I want to burn any bridges. But I told her that she might be hearing from me less. Another one of those things I didn't want to do but needed to. I've heard adulthood described as being just that.
She understood. It's always been rough on me and probably always will be because I had a my strongest relationship to date with her and it was a difficult severance for me. I still experience phantom pain.
Luckily though, having told her all of this, we then went on to have a nifty day together. We went to Chapman and saw nobody that I knew. I did some book shopping. We took a long walk down the beach, much longer than we'd expected to walk. We ate dinner at Mother's. We went to Prissy's and I bought an oil burner for the peppermint oil I'd bought at Mother's AND Prissy's had licorice root. I love chewing licorice root. Just a nice day together.
Friday my father gave me what was probably my most expensive birthday present. He paid to reregister the purple potato in my name. We went out to lunch with Mem, my maternal grandmother. The strangest news of the whole time down there is that she has a dog now. A dog named Lady who lives in the roses behind her house.
I drove Mem home, met Lady, and spent most of the rest of the day sitting in her front room chatting.
Then my folks took me out to eat for dinner.
So I think I gained back down there most of what I've lost up here. That's not true. But they do eat a lot heavier down there (said the guy who's fixing to make his chili tonight.)
Saturday Mom and I went to Trader Joe's and the movie store and probably some other places. All I know is that I came back up here with like seven bags full of food stuffs. My folks were going to the Varmint Hunter's awards dinner that night, so I planned to go see a play with Nissa. I made a few mistakes here. First of all I only brought down a pair of birkies as far as shoes and it was COLD down there. That ocean cold. You know I went through the end part of winter up here and it was cold, but I stand by what I've said before. The ocean chill tears right through you and can be colder than cold. My other mistake was that she said she'd make dinner and we'd do a picnic thing and I depended on her. She called later and said that all she had was a stew that she remembered had tomatoes in it. My other mistake was showing up early (like I usually do) and expecting her to show up when she said she would.
So I was a little cheesed and rather chilled when she finally showed up. And just like the old days she tried to turn it around on how I was reacting to her rather than taking responsibility for treating me poorly. A little into the argument I think we both realized that this was old crap that neither of us have to deal with anymore and we dropped it.
The show was at Chapman. Couple of kids wrote a really great show and put it on in a classroom. I saw one or two people I knew. So it turned out alright. After the show I told Nissa that I'd try and think of her fondly when I think of her. Now I'm left to try and make that true.
Alright. I'm getting tired of writing this and I want to do other things, so I'll end Part One here. Part Two is probably the more pleasant part of the trip, so we've all got that to look forward to. The harshest part is behind us now and we'd all do well to bear that in mind as we prepare for the next installment. I'll finish this soon while it's still fresh in my mind.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Back safe. Jiggity jig. Will report on the trip tomorrow. Most likely in installments though because it's a long story.