We left in a whirlpool of Burning Ipods and the deliveries of secret packages at 3:00 a.m. (those are stories for another day). A Sea of impulses. Utter madness and altogether organized chaos. The Plane boarded at 12:30 or thereabouts, I can't quite recall. It was a short burn across the western wastelands. Hurtling at 400Mph. We were greeted by the strangeness of Long Beach airport. A small dinky place with trailers for terminals. Not the smallest airport I've been to, but certainly the most peculiar. why had I come here? what was the purpose of this trip? How had I been conned into this? I thought. I don't even like California. and I certainly don't like sand or heat! But the deed had been done. I was standing on pure concentrated Californian soil. Sweet Jesus! what am I wearing? I'm liable to be shot in clothes like these, this is So, Cal. A man can't wear red or blue around here, not to mention both! After realizing my awful choice in wardrobe, I began to peer around. looks safe for now, but I'll have to be sure to change. Moments later we were greeted by a big red Suburban wheeling into the passenger pickup lane. The bags were stowed and it was off. Next I found ourselves racing down the Californian interstates: Tangled messes of writhing asphalt serpents. Pure madness! Everyone here drives like Need For Speed Underground, and you need 5 GPS devices in your car just to make it to work every day! I was getting antsy, nervous, terrified. Why was I here? I needed to get out! and to make matters worse, I had to help little Zander pee in a bottle during all this.
After about 2 hours of this wild ride, we arrived just in the nick of time. A few more minutes and I would had 3 heart attacks. Surely the Rolling Stones must have written the song 19th Nervous Breakdown about such an experience. My nerves were shattered by the time I stumbles through Kathy and Tommy's front door (my aunt and uncle). Here I was. Riverside California. Finally able to relax a little, sit back, eat a hamburger and chat with my siblings and other family members who had ventured out two days before, mostly by car. Night time found me sleeping on a couch swathed in fine Scottish wools.
The morning came early for me. I tend to wake up at 6 every morning, thus 5:00 there. After a scrumptious breakfast of pancakes and bacon, the troops were mustered and we set out on another venture down the Interstates. This time was different though. Slightly less terrifying. I was prepared this time, listening to Jim Morrison's sexy voice chanting in my ears. The destination came into sight. Our jaws dropped. We were in for a day of true adventure, adrenaline and excitement: Six Flags Magic Mountain. There were already hundreds of people there, I had to fight for my very life to approach the front gates where they took my ticket and turned me loose. And that's where the true chaos began! People everywhere! All of them there to test their wits and bravery. And Lines! Lines everywhere! so many lines! After a day like this, I think I'll sit at home for a while. where the only lines are the ones I draw myself. Many a ride was tackled by my band of thrill seekers and I. Including a stand up roller coaster! Around 9 p.m. the park came to a close and we were given the boot. It was time for some dinner! So we rolled down the highway to a In and Out Burger joint. And I thought the amusement park was wild! This was a whole other kind of mess! over one hundred people in this little restaurant, fighting over empty tables like ravenous wolves after a fresh kill. Civilization at it's finest. On Fortunately we escaped the place in one piece and it was off for home.
Ahhhhh Sunday. A day to relax and collect my thoughts. But that was not entirely the case. I headed off with a few of the devoted for 9 O'clock church. and received a brief tour of the town on the way back. This place seems decent, I thought to myself. Wait a minute, Wait a minute! listen to yourself! what are you saying? This is California, this is the enemy! Everyone then met up and we booked it off to L.A. It was the Getty Museum of Art for us today. What a magnificent building! a true masterpiece among architecture. The house of many a valuable painting. I spent the afternoon amongst fine company such as: Rembrandt, Cezanne, Van Dyck, Monet, Pissarro, Van Gogh and a few others. Now this was my kind of place. a shelter from the storm. But it did not last nearly long enough. The children were restless. So we Headed on over to Venice beach. The hub of California crazies. The very stomping grounds of Jim Morrison. A whole carnival of free thinkers and drugged out weirdos. My relatives seemed pretty down on it, but I couldn't see any of the negativity. How could one not enjoy the drum circles on the beach, the man rollerblading around with his electric guitar and amp strapped to him, the fire dancers, the medicinal Marijuana shops on every block, and the wild street performers? Surely this must be heaven, or some sort of strange delusion! I like it! It was like a Grateful Dead concert without the Grateful Dead. In other words, Home. Just as I was beginning to settle in, it was time to go again. on the journey home I pondered. long and hard. Yeah, I could live here.
At last it was the day I had been dreading. Beach day. Laguna beach was the destination of choice. It was cold and overcast when we arrived. Which meant no swimming for me. Why would I risk being dismembered by a shark in water as cold as this! I needed exploration! So I hit the shops. This was a town of fine art. Where there are more galleries than actual houses. or almost. I strolled into the Fingerhut gallery. What a pleasant surprise I found there. A few original Rembrandt's and a whole slew of Original Dr. Seuss painting and sculptures. all priced no less than $3,000. Who would pay such a price! outrageous! But wait a minute. This is Laguna beach, not some sick dump of a town. This place is loaded. Everyone filthy rich! Where Cadillac Escalades are shunned. Not good enough. and Every 10th person drives a Ferrari. I stumbled across a few original Salvador Dali sketches. and strolled around a few more galleries but only one really caught my eye. There was a lovely lady working there. The most attractive I'd seen the whole trip. Fortunately the art there was amazing so I had another excuse for sticking around a while. Super vibrant and vivid paintings with paint an inch thick in some places. Truly an Inspiring collection of works. A few galleries later, I hit the beach again and we soon packed up and rushed off to dinner. Some strange Chinese place named Pei Wei. With magical soda machines of which I had never previously seen the likes of. Wait a minute! no real chinese place would have fancy machines such as these! The chinese are all about tradition. hmmm, but then again, I bet these new fangled machines were made in China. I suppose that's alright.
Day 5We had come to the last leg of our journey. This was the end. The return journey home was to be simple and smooth. But it began with a quick rush to the bathroom and an epidemic of vomiting. Sage was sick. Possibly dehydration? It did not look good. I had been in her situation before, having to fly on a sick stomach is complete hell. She stuck it out pretty well til we made it to the airport. There we checked our bags and all that other boring airport stuff. Cept when it came to security I slipped right through without ever showing them I.D. Didn't even look twice. Just turned their heads and let me walk right on to the plane. The goons didn't even check me! what now? maybe I'm supposed to blow up the plane! Naw. That would be too much work. I'll just read my book. Dear old Sage was transferred up to the front row seats to help with her illness. As we took off I reflected on the wild trip while I watched the Golden state disappear over the horizon in the rear view mirror (or rather I would have if planes had rear view mirrors). This place wasn't so bad after all. I found myself giving in. Succumbing to the California dream. And considering living in Venice beach. But only for a short while. Few months. No more no less. But we were pointed in a new direction now. Hurtling off to fulfill our lives, our destinies. Back to reality.