At some point before it had even started, I declared that April was going to be a long blob of travel and chaos… and it absolutely proved itself to be just that. I’ve been taking the past two days to embrace the warmth that has suddenly descended on the Tahoe regions and parked myself happily at my outdoor desk setup and have already acquired a healthy (but not healthy) base-layer of bronze (thank you, skin that tans too quickly) but also probably enough Vitamin D to keep my happiness levels coasting high for the foreseeable future.
Anyway, a lot happened in April, and I spent a ridiculous amount of time in planes, on trains and in automobiles of various shapes and sizes and covered a ridiculous number of miles from sea to shining sea both on foot and on my arse. I spent a lot of time muttering what my ‘Toto, we are NOT in Tahoe anymore’ refrain throughout various encounters. My favorites, in no particular order:
– Day 1 in Boston, in which I am stood at a Green Line train stop, quietly staring ahead… and the guy next to me turns to me and says (in a very heavy Bahhston accent), ‘Excuse me, miss? That guy that just walked by was staring at your chest. I mean, he works here, that’s just not right.’ … File under moments I wish I were wittier on the spot, because I’m fairly sure I just crossed my arms and pulled my jacket even more closed and shuffled right.
– A gas station I encountered in the middle of the desert, in which there was an alien-themed souvenir shop, alien-themed diner… attached to an alien-themed brothel. At the cash register, there was a book prominently on display written by the owner entitled ‘How to Be a Pimp’ (it was signed). I sat in the parking lot for awhile, jaw dropped in the kind of ‘this place is real, where the F am I?’ state and then thought ‘this is how I die.’
I was informed, upon my arrival back to safer lands, that Nevada has a law that towns can have either a casino or a brothel. Until this month, I liked Nevada, and I was actually alright with Reno. I’m now positive that I will be sticking very close to California for the foreseeable future.
– Halfway through my very impromptu hike in Sedona (I will absolutely be returning to those red rocks for an extended stay… I’ve been before, but so worth it), when I literally bumped into two rather large women, bleach blonde hair, heavy black makeup, jean cutoffs and tank tops with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths asking me how far it was to the first platform (‘the platform! not that top!’) of that 0.5mi section. I will never judge people who get outside. But.
I jest, but this is the rawness I like about travel. I’m not sure I could ever do it in a ‘sheltered’, luxurious way – the appeal to getting out and seeing the world (to me at least) has always been the observation of authenticity of the normal day-to-day, as bizarre as it might seem.
There were actually some awesome moments though, like:
– The aforementioned hike through Sedona, which seriously rectified any confused perceptions I had about Arizona post spending a week on a house-hunting explore with my dad, where our criteria for potentials rapidly became if the neighborhood hds mature trees and houses that weren’t completely the same, we’d pull in and make a hilarious attempt with failing technology to not get lost down identically named cul-de-sacs while using Zillow to identify which of the 4000 houses currently on the market were for sale on that block (I need ice cream, now.).
Phoenix will grow on me, but in the meantime, those red rocks, ya’ll.
– The eight hours I spent completely absorbed in the S Town podcast, which sucked me deeply into psychological thought spirals and struck a lot of sad chords. Not so good: my other book, I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh, which started slow and then had a very rough, traumatic twist that had me engrossed for several hours and then sat in shocked, sad silence for several hours.
– My arrival back to Tahoe, which turned into an impromptu Sunday funday adventure of roadtripping down the lake and included some last ski runs of the season, random Reno adventures, the smell of summer, a rainbow mountain sunset, and copious amounts of popcorn, ice cream and movies.
– RailsConf, which pleasantly surprised me by not being like a science conference, where speakers try to rapid-fire convey the context and complexities of a very specific aspect that only they study, describe in excruciating detail the execution of some very specific protocol, and then defend their honor when audience members barrage them with very specific questions in an attempt to shatter them at the knees. (Science conferences are exhausting, in a very unique way of exhaustiveness.)
I went to the ‘fluffy’ talks (because I do what I want), but I got a lot out of it (because I know what I like).
– Otis’s one-year adopt-a-versary (which he spent snoozing by my side).
– The discovery of my high school computer (which weighs at least 20lbs and is complete with a random John Mayer sticker, obvi) in the box of all things left from my childhood and beyond, which contains essays written at age 16. I read one I wrote about some book I’d very obviously read that was very clearly written by me and made me actually stop and be like, ‘wait, I actually wrote this? I really did know what I was doing way back then?’ The bigger shocker is really that that monster still turns on. We’ve come a long way in 15 years, folks.
– The number of ‘aha!’ moments that happened, particularly over the past few weeks, where it feels like suddenly all of the ‘It was all unknown to me then’s are becoming known, thanks to random events, tough conversations, written words, and hours of solitude.
I keep saying this, but it smells like summer, ya’ll. And I am definitely a child of the sun.