Thursday, December 26, 2013

now it's over and I'm coming home

so I've been back almost a week from Californistan. It's amazing how fifteen years go by and yet there's some people that you reconnect with instantly. I haven't seen the girls since they were preschoolers and by the end of the five days I felt like I had younger cousins or somesuch because we got along so well.

They picked me up at the airport where the warmth felt almost unreal on my Decembered skin, and we got Mexican food and then drove to Los Angeles (how weird is it to have the girls you used to babysit driving you through one of the biggest cities in the country while rocking out to Bikini Kill?) where we had a heck of a time finding parking in Hollywood and watched their cousin's one-woman show that was really, really good and then stayed at her house in Santa Monica where I promptly fell asleep given my body being accustomed to a different time zone.

Her cousin cooked us amazing breakfast and then we walked down through Santa Monica, which I fell in love with, with its beautiful pastel buildings, palm trees, and flowers everywhere even though I know I couldn't afford to live there, and I finally got to dip my feet in the cold Pacific ocean and we walked around eating fresh mandarin oranges and pomegranates which were a whole new kind of delicious before driving back inland, making a stop at the Cabazon dinosaurs for giggling tourist trap purposes.

We went to Joshua Tree the next day, and while I would have loved to get up there earlier than we did, it was incredible to see, those iconic trees, the rocks everywhere that are a completely different landscape, the cactus garden beneath the sunset sky, with the moon rising over the mountains on the other side. We were only here about four hours but I could spend four days here. We drove back through the dark mountains with the luminous moon as jackrabbits darted across the road and I felt damn near euphoric surrounded by all this stark beauty. This was the soundtrack theme for pretty much the entire trip.

The next morning we took awhile to wake up but me and the oldest went out to Whitewater to hike around because I am a Kyuss fangirl and wanted to see the landscape documented in one of my favorite songs. Of course it was desolate and beautiful, with the mountains rising up on either side, the stream running through, the scrubby terrain and the dead century plants. Of course I could have spent longer here too. I don't know why this landscape has such a hold on me even though I could only live near lots of water.
The last day we spent in downtown Palm Springs before heading to the airport and I understand Coupland's generational rage so much more after seeing a town full of rich retirees spending their childrens' inheritance on $20 salads, golf courses in the desert, crystal healings, and cubic zirconia pins spelling out titles like "Queen Bitch" "Pageant Mom," and "Cosmetics Lady." Most of the women had obviously gone through Botox injections and various plastic surgeries and it's surreal to see this other part of America that's so different from your hometown where people eat lots of stick-to-yer-ribs food and it shows.

The plane ride back was full of golf guys coming from some convention, I was still happy to be home even though it was cold and icy, because the hearts in my city are still warm. My body still hasn't adjusted to the time change, my holidays went by in a blur, but now there's a week off and possible new musical opportunities on the horizon with some friends who dig Bad Brains and Faith No More, and the snow makes all things quiet and beautiful. 

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