Looping the Bay One Saturday

You wake up in the morning and you’re feeling fresh and you don’t even know why. You’ve gotten 6 hours of sleep, which is enough, but just seems like it wouldn’t warrant this level of bright eyed bushy-tailedness. So you hop out of bed and decide to go for a run along the Marina. It’s been a couple weeks, but there’s a spring in your step and your legs are going and you’re not even out of breath. You’ve been listening to the same 2 GB of music on your iPod shuffle since your dad bought it for you four years ago but the songs never get old. It’s as if you’re hearing M.I.A.’s song “U.R.A.Q.T.” for the first time because you finally decipher the lyrics “Tighter than R.Kelly in his teens”.  This resonates with you and you spend the next few miles wondering what exactly that means and your mind is blown. Suddenly you’re back home.

Turn on the radio, hop in the shower, boil some tea water and you and Ari are out the door, on your way to Saturday morning brunch, stopping only briefly at the supermarket to get fruit and deodorant. The brunch is at Lydia’s in Oakland, and you don’t quite remember the address even though you should because you’ve been there more than a few times, but it’s been a while. You won’t ask for directions. Under any circumstances. And then you get off the freeway and you know exactly where you’re going.

The sun is shining, and you walk through the open door and the pancakes are almost finished. You’re right on time even though you originally had agreed to be there 26 minutes ago. The birds were probably chirping but their songs are drowned by Fleetwood Mac echoing throughout the house. You expected this soundtrack and know it’s planned just for you, but you’re still surprised and without even knowing it you’re singing even though you are still searching for your voice you lost the morning prior.

You’re enjoying brunch in the garden and then you’re watching the kitten chase bees and then you’re cleaning up and just when you’re about to part ways Eric suggests going swimming at the Lake and the next thing you know you’re getting your oil changed in the drive through oil change place on San Pablo and 64th because you’re 17,000 miles overdue and it just seems so convenient to do it now. You leave the car there because you might as well swim while you wait, and then you’re not waiting. You get in his car that was right behind you and you’re off to Lake Anza.

You get to Lake Anza and that rock across the way from the lifeguard tower that is so familiar is waiting for you to lay on it. So you lie down and the sun bathes you in it’s warm rays and the boys jump in the water while you watch from above and the lifeguards yell at you because there’s no swimming, wading, diving, or anything in the water allowed beyond the orange and white buoys across the way. You know that and they know you know that and both parties are content knowing they’ve done what they’re there to do.

On your way back from the Lake you pass a garage sale so you have to stop. There’s nothing worth buying, but you imagine how worthwhile everything could be. And then there’s the construction sign up the street that you try to hack into to change the words, but there’s a lock on it. You don’t know how to pick a lock but you try with your bobbypin anyways, on the off chance it all clicks into place. It doesn’t work.

You’re back in Eric’s car to get your car with it’s fresh oil and the music is playing and you’re headbanging to Aerosmith. It’s the end of September but it’s summertime and it’s the best day of your lives.

You see a Solar Drive-through car wash and you don’t care that your car is dirty but you go in anyways. The cheapest wash is $3 but you get the $5 double wash because why not – it’s solar powered. The car is cleaned, and you realize that it’s Solar’s carwash, and wasn’t solar powered at all, and even though you’ve been duped you’re still glad you got the double wash.

You’re back in Ari’s newly oiled car after parting ways with your buddies and realize brunch has worn off, but the taco truck around the corner is your savior. It’s four o’clock and you thought you’d be in Santa Cruz by now, which was at one distant time the whole point of the day, so you eat the burrito in the car and you’re finally off to start the day.

You arrive at Don Quixote’s and buy your ticket for the evening’s show, but since there’s a whole hour before it begins you walk up a hill around the corner that takes you through a neighborhood and you wrap around looking for a viewpoint to see the sunset and the path takes you to a beautiful cemetery. There are trees for climbing so you climb one and even though you can’t see the sunset, you perch and imagine what it would be like to sleep in a tree.

You’re feeling funny in the best of ways as the day melts to night. It feels like it’s the end even though you know it’s only beginning but you never knew what it was in the first place. You walk down the path that’s in front of you even though it wasn’t the one you came up on, but somehow it takes you right back to Don Quixote’s and John Craigie goes on. He tells stories, and plays his guitar, and sings his songs and it’s beautiful beyond words. There’s a five-minute break so you run back to the neighborhood you walked through earlier because you’re buzzing and it just feels so good to run.

The second set is even better than the first and you’re lost in the sounds and your mind wanders and then it’s over at the perfect moment but you wished it would never end. You spend some time at the merch table area and admire Ari with his sparkly hat and wild blue poncho as he expresses his admiration unabashedly to John Craigie. You’re slightly embarrassed by the scene this may or may not be causing, but are more so embarrassed that you’re embarrassed – for what is this world but a theater to play upon. They hug. You stand there. They stop hugging. That means it’s your turn to hug John Craigie – more so for Ari’s sake than anyone else’s. Then Ari proposes a group hug and despite slightly hesitating for reasons beyond your control, you would love nothing more than to group hug. So we did, with all of our might.  You giggle uncontrollably and know there couldn’t have been a better way to end the evening with John Craigie.

You decide to walk the streets of Felton with Ari and his sparkly hat and his poncho. Felton is unextraordinary in every way and you are in awe of just how extraordinarily romantic that is. You find yourself imagining what it would be like to live in such a place, and even though in reality you’d never live there, you’re lost in the fantasy and in love with all the possibilities in the world.

You walk down the street and bump into a bar, but the bartender won’t let you stay because Ari forgot his ID and she says you’re the icon of youth. You proudly walk out of the bar, happy to have seen what there was to see in there because you were only curious in the first place.  A man outside the bar needs help seeing which headlight is out so you let him know the right outside front headlight is out and then you end up talking to a real Feltonian named Aaron about all Felton has to offer. When you ask Aaron why he lives in Felton he replies without hesitation I was sick of Santa Cruz. And there it was.

You walk into the woods across from the bar and enter a new world with an entirely different symphony of sounds; the flow of the river, the whoosh of cars passing by on the freeway, the crickets chirping, and a faint sound of a song in the distance. It’s not loud enough to place the song, but you know in your heart of hearts it’s probably Jimmy Buffett’s Pina Colada song. And you smile to yourself. You walk a bit in the moonlight until a cat is there rolling on it’s back in front of you. There’s nothing more joyful in the world than watching an animal scratch it’s back on the ground.

You turn back and then you’re in the car and then you’re driving up the 1. You stop to get gas and a few snacks at the Safeway across the street and at the checkout line you bump into one of the girls who lived on the floor above you in your old house and you immediately say hi even though she didn’t see you and you didn’t even know her very well and you’re as awkward as can be, but love the interaction for all that it is. She recommends going to MoonRocks up the road and you’re going that way anyways so you decide to go check it out.

You turn up the road off the 1 and go and go and can’t find it so you turn around and get back heading north on the 1, knowing you’ll be back for those MoonRocks someday. You’re not sorry you didn’t see it, but you’re glad you tried. You head North and see a row of cars parked so you pull over too and park your car in line and see a bonfire down on the beach. You can’t decide if you’re intruding or not, but you decide to go check it out anyways. The sign says Keep Out, but the gate is open so you walk down the path and find a campfire. There’s a group of people in their late 50s to early 60s sitting around and they seem to notice you but don’t acknowledge you’re there and it’s just like any other campfire you’ve ever been to. You’re intruding but you’re there so you say hello and ask what’s going on even though it’s a campfire and you know it and they know you know it. The woman to your left says it’s a private event and doesn’t smile,but the man sitting next to her smiles and says it’s the annual Waddell Creek reunion started years ago by some people who were our age. He introduces his girlfriend, Jill, and she still doesn’t smile, and he smiles and tells us to make ourselves at home and ask questions. You’re not sure to stay or go so you thank him and go. The interaction with the man and his girlfriend remind you how important it is to be nice to strangers.

You’re back in the car, driving, and starting to get tired because it’s two o’clock in the morning but you want to go to your favorite full moon spot and your friend who you’ve been with all day wants to stop at his favorite lookout at San Gregorio and so you do. You look out onto the ocean and remember his memories. Memories are best when they are shared.

You’re back in the car and going North and miss the turnoff to your spot, so you turn around and park and walk down the steps to Gray Whale Cove and now you’re sharing your memories. The moonlight shines on the waves crashing and your friend plays guitar and you sing along. It’s perfect.

You know this is your last stop and you are entirely satisfied. You’re not in a rush to go but you’re ready. So you dance one last dance.

Ari twirls you round as you sing when the moon’s in the sky like a big pizza pie, that’s amore and he is just so glad you didn’t sing Dancing in the Moonlight because he says the only thing he hates more than that song is Jimmy Buffett. And you remember to earlier in the day when, in a moment of weakness, he admitted to you in confidence that he actually loved the Pina Colada song and you laughed and yelled to the world that Ari loves Jimmy Buffett!! Everyone loves the Pina Colada song.

Then you’re back in the car, driving, and snacking on the cheese and crackers you bought from Safeway.  And then you’re back at home and you sit in the car a minute longer after you park to listen to the song on the radio finish. You go inside and the day ends and sleep drifts in…

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