The backseat of the car was draped in several layers of old bed sheets, towels, and “piddle pads” to help absorb what ever the cats could not hold back in their state of drugged out panic. As we had rented a car for this maneuver I suggested we let the felines have free rein, go ballistic if they wanted to. Not because I’m a freak like that, I’ve just always wanted to turn in a rental car that is in a state of condition that would suggest Hunter S. Thompson had come back to life and decided another drug induced road trip to Vegas was in order. Perhaps that’s a lot of stress to put on some cats—here kitties, take some downers, some uppers, pee where ever you want too and pretend there are wolves chasing you inside the car while it is on fire. Instead all I got was some really freaked out pets who had shed half their weight in fur all over some old laundry. If only I was a member of a country club then I could regale Ted, Brick, and The Judge with this tale and it would come off as being more like my deranged fantasy.
And to think at that point we were only as far as Kettleman City. A place that exists solely because someone realized it was a good place for people to pull over and do something other than drive themselves further off the flat earth and into the type of mind numbing sheer boredom that encourages people to drive faster than you really should in effort to shave a few precious minutes off your total drive time. Perhaps if I had stocked for the road trip properly I could have enjoyed the trip but no amount of Pringles or Svenhard’s Horns A Plenty would have taken my mind off the fact that I had to power through eight hours of pavement. Thankfully I did not have to endure this journey in something like a Honda Civic otherwise I would have jumped the hybrid vehicle off the road and into Harris Ranch wherein I could have Duke Boy’d a few doughnuts, knocked over a few filet mignons on hooves, and prepared myself for a thirty-day summer vacation at the local lock-up. I had to dig down deep and bring forth and remember my training as a Cub Scout to power through the rest of the bang-hammer-to-the-head drive up north. All that time planning, designing, carving, painting, assembling, and racing that Pinewood Derby car finally paid off.
It is different living up here, among the real Obama voters—not like those posers down South who plastered an Obama/Biden ’08 sticker to the back of their Hummer—the real kind, not the limp-wristed H2 that General Motors churned out like Rock Crack Cocaine for the masses of The Sopranos Compete Set owning, suburbanized short men. The big difference, thus far, has been the weather and the constant noises that remind you that you do have neighbors. Some good, some who are aggressively auditioning for the next season of COPS, like the gentlemen I saw being cuffed by no less than five “po-lice” while on my way to the market. Hopefully that was nothing more than a little casual racial discrimination and he’s now at home, like me, sitting comfortably in a nice chair and bitching aimlessly into a glowing screen.
As if migrating office, home, and my own Siegfried and Roy show wasn’t enough excitement for the week, I had to fly back down to Southern California days later to meet with a potential new client. This is ironic, you must understand, because I moved up North so the Rocket Scientist and I could cut down on all the flying we have had to endure in the last two years. I now know that it doesn’t take a full hour to get to SFO at 5:30AM on a Sunday morning. Who knew? I can’t tell you how much fun it is to wake up with the world’s melting pot with the sounds of vacuum cleaners and the smell of eggs and bacon wafting throughout terminal—everyone looking like how the other person feels. There is no joy in traveling between the hours of 10PM and 6AM. None.
I spent the night within visual range of Los Angeles County’s largest fire on record. From my hotel room I could see flames as tall as buildings lashing about trees and shrubbery that hadn’t committed a single act of violence in their lifetime. The view was nothing short of spectacular and I found it disturbing that more people weren’t pining for a view of an event on a magnitude that only comes along every one-hundred years or so. Shame on them, sitting in their cafe’s, pretending as if the fireman killing hellfire just up the road was nothing more than another cloudy day.
Here at home—the new home—we have a man-made miracle occurring a mile (as the crow flies) from where I sit now. As I write this hundreds of people are performing an engineering feat that should be considered a small wonder of the world—altering the route of a major bridge by moving hundreds of tons of road and steel to the side while a new path can be slid into its place. It’s invasive surgery on a major artery of commerce and connectivity. The grandeur and scale of such ambition leaves me feeling silly for stressing about constructing digital experiences, none of which, that I know of, ever put anyone in harms way or had so much risk involved. I am glad to be here, to watch from the shore as progress is being slid into place.
This weekend we’ll continue to settle in and add to the mountain of boxes and wrapping paper that is slowly starting to resemble the base of Devil’s Tower. With any luck we’ll have it removed by recyclers before I start to think it’s really important and develop this need to head to Wyoming because I don’t know that I can put another hundred miles on my car without seriously going out of my mind. In the meantime the cats and I will be at home, adjusting to all the new sounds. Eventually we’ll be able to get through the day without hiding under the covers.