Marisa is a good friend, dependable, steady, perceptive, patient. She is the secular equivalent of a godparent to my children, the executor of my estate, an esteemed honorary member of the family. She is there if I need someone to listen, or a ride, or a friend to fly to the other side of the world and just hang out. And I would do the same for her. We don't talk much, because we don't need to; our friendship occupies a space beyond performance.
First impressions of Texas: cars, big cars, old cars, old big cars, then some trucks. With confrontational bumper stickers and gun racks? You betcha.
However, the weather is cool and grey - much more to my liking even if this is a temporary respite - and I feel much better, I promise, no really. And I'm not being facetious for once, the random flare of icktastic illness has abated. As predicted. Maybe I was just allergic to California? Shrug. These matters are beyond boring.
Final observation: here in California, despite plentiful allocation of street and private options, valet parking dominates the commercial landscape. Hotels, stores, bars, restaurants - even cheap shoddy restaurants!
And all the attendants, regardless of heritage, look like Jason Bourne.
Why? Are they anticipating a sudden call for an undercover mission, are they hoping to be cast in a movie, are they so bored they have nothing better to do than lift weights, or do they just enjoy the aesthetic?
Meandering down a Santa Barbara side street in the twilight I was not at all surprised to encounter Andreas, last seen where? Paris? Berlin?
My friends do tend to wander. Though right now I would prefer to have them over for a dinner party at my own house.
Summary, Week 4, Great American Road Trip: I miss London.
Santa Barbara: what to say? Great place, if you want to view the first offshore oil rigs in the country. Awesome, if you enjoy literally kicking homeless people out of the way to shop for high-end handbags.
I said a regretful goodbye to my mother, promising to come back soon, promising to arrange another European trip for her. What sort of daughter leaves home and stays away? Difficult and disobedient just about sums it up, though the older I get the more I have in common with the women who founded the family.
I couldn't eat the food when I lived here, and nothing has changed. After several encounters with dubious meat (how is it prepared - what precisely are they doing to make it so greasy and foul?) I gave up. From now on, I will subsist on yogurt and energy bars.
It is possible I will also reverse a firm anti-whining policy and moan about this, if you happen to be within earshot. I was so excited to eat tacos! It is so unfair they make me queasy!
Lesson of the week: beach towns are rarely known for the excellence of the espresso.
Oh, and if I wished to frolic in my knickers I would do so, without paying for a so-called swimsuit. Why are modern bathing costumes so ridiculous?!
My idea of beach attire? Black clothing toe to knuckle to chin. Though I left my umbrella at home this time. Living dangerously!
Since 1988, no matter where I am in the world - from Tacoma to Olympia, London to NYC - I just have to think "I wonder what Karl T. Steel is up to right now...." And hey presto! There he is!
I have too many commitments to see friends this week, let alone on my anniversary, but how could I ignore the startling coincidence that KTS once again showed up improbably nearby?