In U2’s voice: “Californyuuhhh”
September 7, 2022
It was January 2019 since I was last in California. And I was only there for like, a day and a half. Flew out for the weekend during my birthday and there, I got my second professionally done tattoo: the “I love you to the bones” tattoo I drew some years ago that’s on my right thigh. It was embarrassing how ridiculously… *moist* I got from the tattoo session. So much I had to go to the bathroom to clean myself up. ANYWAY…….
I knew right away if I was going to fly to the other side of the country, I might as well stay a while and visit a couple different cities. I always try to get the best bang for my buck, no matter what I do. Life can be too short if one is not careful, and I actually want to stay alive, experience and learn more.
Before I left for California, I was in Memphis, spending some time with a friend and dropping off Pippin, my precious lil baby (cat, LOL) so I don’t have a bunch of people coming in and out of my apartment to look after him. Plus, this way, he’s not alone by himself all day until the sitters come. Usually, driving or flying with Pip is relatively easy for a cat, but for our DTW-MEM flight, he didn’t do so well and that only makes me worry about his stress levels. It was difficult to put him back in his carrier after I took him out to go through security. He started freaking out but luckily I had his leash on him and was able to hold onto him tight until he calmed down enough. Everyone else was gasping and exclaiming “oh my god”s. It wasn’t till later at the gate that I figured out that Pippin had cut my a few times on my arms (he got my tummy too!). It was funny to think about because he’s my baby and I know he doesn’t purposely try to hurt me (except for the times he comes running and jumping towards my legs, but even that is just like a little playful “LOOK AT ME, MOMTHER” (mom + father? I dunno, LOL).
Pippin likes for everyone to hear his roars during take off and landing. I don’t remember which instance it was (probably both), but Pippin and I talked back and forth for a bit, entertaining the other passengers.
”Pippin, you’re fiiiine, it’s going to be okay, we’re almost there.”
”You’re okay baby, you’re-“
Yeah, he doesn’t meow, he mauos.
I’m just glad others were getting a kick out of it.
Okay, let’s fast forward just a couple days.
Now I’m headed MEM-LAX-SMF. Or that would be the plan for the day but the second half of my trip spilled into the next day. Before I left my place-of-stay in Memphis, I received a notification from the airline that my LAX-SMF is delayed.
Okay, no problem. It was my first connecting flight I would be taking in who knows how long, so I was glad to have some extra time in between the flights. Before we even land in Los Angeles, I get another notification saying my trip to SMF is even more so delayed, and I wouldn’t be landing there until close to 2am.
Oookay, okay, okay, that’s no problem. I’ve got things to read, administrative work, and other things I could give my attention to. Instead… something else happens….
It’s late, or at least past my usual bedtime, and mind you, I’m 3 hours behind my brain’s clock! I asked someone sitting in front, to the left of me, if he could bring down my carry-on for me. I don’t remember exactly what he said next but it was revealed to him that I was headed to LAX, just as he was.
Fellas… I was so brain dead that when “A” said he was coming from Tennessee, I exclaimed “OH I came from Tennessee!” And then immediately realized, *pats myself on the head*, everyone on this place flew in from Tennessee. It was probably a good thing I didn’t try to bring down my luggage myself because apparently I couldn’t even think straight. I probably would have wound up whacking someone in the head with it.
It would’ve been a great idea if I didn’t want to spend some alone time amongst the crowds.
But, it would’ve been a bad idea if I didn’t want to educate a conservative white man in the military on the beautiful world of sex work and companionship, only for him to later realize he could benefit from seeing a companion, and that he supports sex work, he just doesn’t know it. He even snatched the words “so it’s like therapy with cuddles” right out of my mouth. Ruuuuude!
“I do feel a little out in my place about sex work.”
I think in the 2.5 to 3 hours of delays, I was able to do a pretty good darn job. And heck, I might even be a lil proud of myself too.
Sacramento: Day 1
I didn’t actually sleep until 5am. I woke up at 8am and couldn’t go back to sleep. But the fun doesn’t begin until later in the afternoon. My wonderful date brought me to this awesome comic bookstore where I was just able to describe and blurt out words related to what I wanted to read. The guy who was helping me knew exactly which books to pull out and recommend to me, and every pull of a book was one step closer to the perfect book. I ended up getting 3 books. Oops! I think if I end up getting only one, it would’ve been Lady Killer. Aside from the plot, it’s a big book and I like the art style. All around inspirational. No, I haven’t read it yet.
Growing up in (small city), there was this comic book store. I was actually friends with the owners’ daughter. We went to the same high school. Back then, I was invited to her birthday party and we were in the basement of the bookstore! It was a blacklight party, which would be pretty fun to explore again… hmm….
I’ve never had such an amaaaazing, personalized, friendly, and determined bookstore shopping experience before. I feel so incredibly lucky to know someone who introduced me to this store. I’m definitely a lucky duck. Whak whak!
San Francisco: Day 2-4
Cancelling my Six Flags trip with my date who I had to let go was a blessing in disguise. Aside from having another 2.5 hour delay (we’ll go into that in a little bit), I had another fun travel experience. California went all California on me.
This is my first time riding the train. I asked as many questions in the station as I could after my Lyft driver told me that the Sacramento train station can be a little confusing and some people end up missing their ride. Good thing he told me or else I probably would have missed mine too!
When I got to the boarding area, there was still some time before departure. I asked someone standing next to me. “Hi! Sorry, this is my first time riding Amtrak. Is there anything I should know?” She gave me some tips and told me about the single seats available. I definitely dashed upstairs to grab that seat. She bought me a drink since it was my first time riding the train. I thought that was awfully nice of her. I really wanted to do something in return for her but… I didn’t get a chance.
A couple minutes away from the station in Richmond, the train stops. If you look to the right, there’s a cloudy haze all around. Take a closer look and you can start to see a bright red flame flickering, desperately needing attention today. Looks like I get to truly experience the state of California! This state is on fire with the travel delays, literally!
The woman who had enriched my first train experience was on the phone. For a while. I mean, a long time. And later I wanted to thank her for all her help and compassion but she was crying. I didn’t know what to do. She told me home is in San Jose and it’s been a week since she’s been gone. She got off at the next stop she could. I don’t know what happened and I don’t know if there’s anything I could have done to help, but I think I would’ve tried to do just about anything. Still, I’m not sure what to do, but hopefully maybe somehow I can pay it forward.
“What to do in San Francisco?” Thanks to the Internet and Google (and TripAdvisor), I didn’t have to worry about being trapped within four, pretty thin, walls. “Sunset” stole my eyes and I always love opportunities to take pretty photos. Plus, it was pretty cool to sail under the Golden Gate Bridge and get a close look in a different perspective. It was cold and wet outside on the boat, so I didn’t leave the inside area, but I did run outside to snap some photos really quick. I think I took some pretty cool Polaroids! I’ll be posting photos of those soon.
I do wish I had more time to spend in San Francisco. One day with some free time is definitely not the way to experience the city. There are so many different neighborhoods, so much to look at. Now that I’m traveling, I’m developing more of a desire to explore and go on more dates with myself. While I do love good company more than not, there’s a sense of freedom and independence when I am able to walk down a street and just kind of decide to do something on a whim. Nothing really
planned, nothing to worry about. Not walking fast either.
I also need to spend more time with a sketchbook and pen in hand. I think I’m a little embarrassed to admit I fantasize about stopping to smell and draw the flowers. I do love to draw, but I can be so shy about things that I am in any sort of way passionate about. I think I’m afraid that I, in fact, don’t know anything or enough about what I love, so I must be a fraud. Is that something you struggle with too? If I could, I would even spend a whole day walking around anywhere and just drawing my way through, not only to improving my drawing skills, but to give myself time to appreciate that I am able to visually experience such beauty.
Los Angeles: Day 5-6
We finally made it to L.A., baby!
If you couldn’t guess already, I experienced another major delay on my way to L.A. The morning of my flight, I receive yet another notification from the airline that my SFO-LAX flight got cancelled. They put me on a much later flight that would affect the plans I had for my evening. If there’s anything I could control, it would be for me to always be on time (which means 15-20 minutes early). Definitely under some stress, I cancel that flight and book another one with a different airline. It would be leaving at around the same time as my original flight.
All is good.
Until 10 minutes later. 11:28am.
”Important Flight Information: Hello! Your departure time has changed. New departure time: 2:32pm”
Pushed back from 1:13pm. I guess that’s not too bad, right?
I don’t even think I sit down at my gate before I hear another “ding” from my pocket.
”Important Flight Information: Hello! There’s been an additional change to your departure time. Updated departure time: 2:54pm”
Okay, that’s not a problem. Just an extra 20 minute delay. For another 30 minutes or so, at least.
“Important Flight Information: Hello! There’s been an additional change to your departure time. Updated departure time: 3:17pm”
At this point, I’m starting to get a little tired of reading these emails. Just a little. Are you?
Only 7 minutes later, another notification.
There are 15 more minutes left until we board. Finally!
A “buzz,” now that my phone is on vibrate.
The gate attendant didn’t have any information regarding the delay until much later. As soon as they knew, they notified that there was a mechanical issue with the plane that was preventing it from taking off. Well, no matter what the issue was, I don’t think there would’ve been much to control or change it. There are a lot of things in life you have to decide and admit if it’s worth your time and energy. Most things aren’t, but people are emotional creatures, and we act on those emotions, and that’s okay. I think balance is really important too. Hopefully, you’d want your heart working with your brain.
Eventually, the plane took off from its place of origin which I’m assuming was Los Angeles, and got to SFO about an hour or so later.
But it wasn’t until 2 more delays after the supposed 3:17pm departure time.
Finally, we start boarding around 4:30pm and I finally get to rest at my hotel at about 7pm. The last thing I wanted was for my travel delays to cause an inconvenience to my plans. Fortunately, my date was understanding enough to keep up with all the time changes.
That night and the next day that I spend in L.A. made the delays worth the trip. My date took me to Manhattan Beach to walk around a little bit. I feel like it is very unusual for me to be at a beach. It is kind of surreal to me that something so expansive, powerful, and mysterious like the ocean is quite accessible to the public.
I get it now. The movies and the TV shows with the moonlit beach and walking in the sand, hand-in-hand. I get it, alright, I get it. That shit sounds cute as hell. Almost so much so that it doesn’t seem real!
Slurrrrrp! I also had my first oyster! I think first trying one in California was the best way to go. I just know those suckers were fresh! I tried two kinds, one that was very briny, and one that was not. Wow! There was quite a difference. I think I would actually enjoy something in the middle. I do enjoy the briny taste because it’s like I’m tasting the ocean… even though I definitely have a fear of it! I’m not saying my thalassophobia is out of control, but I have to ease myself into getting close to the water.
Next time I’m in California, I think I ought to spend more time in one city. I feel like I was a little bit rushed to try and achieve some sort of experience in every city I went to. Without that kind of stress, I’m sure I would have had a more west coast type of fun and relaxation. It is actually SO weird to be in the west coast. I always would hear about how different the coasts are, but to actually experience that difference is surreal. I desperately wish it was something I could put into words, but it’s almost like they are the same in opposite ways but so opposite that …. agh, I don’t even know anymore!
If you’re from either coast and have traveled to the opposite coast, have you experienced something like this?
Thank you so much for reading! It was an absolute pleasure to have you on my crazy journey through California. If the jet lag when I get back home wasn’t so ferocious, I would visit more often! Maybe I’ll just have to train my body to become immune to time. After all, it’s faaaake!!!