The thought of a road trip . . . Well it excited me to no end. I was also admittedly scared. The thought of spending a weekend sans the safe surroundings of SLOville filled me with trepidation. Granted, the idea of spending a weekend alone with Solange also filled me with butterflies. I was so sated nerves wise that I don't really recall eating anything at all. Wonder if you could massage that feeling and sell it as a new fad diet, nah no way to package it I guess.
Of course. the first hurdle was getting my parents' "Okay." This seemed insurmountable to me. I had never really lied to the folks before. Never had a reason to, save of course the lie of abstentia keeping my travels to myself. I hadn't any friends who's home I could claim I was sleeping over for the weekend. My only friend at the moment was Solie I guess, since I think I already considered Solie a friend and believe she felt the same, but I couldn't very well ask to sleep over at a girl's place. Nor was I a badge toting boy scout with camping outings every month or so.
Any lie worth swallowing truly escaped me. I told Solange this trying not to sound as uncool as I felt, "I guess you'll have to go ahead and see Diamond without me."
"Diamanda, not Diamond, Diamanda Galas. Totally different sound, although checking out a sequined Neil would be fun." Solange replied nonplussed. "I see your predicament. Still I'm sure we can take care of it, relax. Your rents know you've been hanging out with me and I get the gender snafu, but you can tell them you've been invited by me and the family to come with us to Santa Barbara for a swim meet. "
"They'd want to talk to your parents I'm sure." I contradicted a bit too tiredly.
"You are a newbie to this teenage rite of passage aren't you." Solange said with a smile. She patted my head as if I were a little tyke with a scraped knee, "You'll give your verwandte Crash's number telling them it's mi poppa."
"Crash would lie for me?"
"Well I don't see why not. It's not like we're asking that he take a bullet for us. Besides, if you think about it he's also lying for me as I'm the one that wants your company, and I know for a fact that Crash has no problem lying for lil ol moi."
After my fears were appeased, the plan was explained to Crash whom quickly smiled at the idea. Chuckling, Crash playfully hit my shoulder saying "Be glad to aid and abet a worthy adventure! Where will you be staying? Is Jed here gonna luck out and share a hotel room with a woman? Do I see any base running in your future?"
Solange hit Crash's shoulder in return "Haven't figured out where we'll crash Crash. If it ends up being a hotel bed I'm sure Jed will be a perfect gentleman. Doubt there will be any base running of any sorts, neither of us care a wit about sports." Solange replied with a twinkle completely ignoring the crass innuendo.
I, on the other hand, couldn't ignore it and was beet red, nearly as purple as Solange's hair and dead silent. Spending time alone with Solange was nothing new, but the thought of spending the night with her hadn't really clicked until Crash hit me over the head with it.
After an hour of so of razzing from Crash with a tickling from Rob and some patiently served repeats of what I should tell my parents from Solange, I was fortified enough to face those whom feed and cloth me.
It was alot easier than I expected. Simple really. They were actually excited and made happy by the thought that I had made friends with someone enough to be asked along for a family weekend. They did call Crash to confirm. It was hard for me to not burst out laughing hysterically when I heard them praise how much of an upstanding man Solange's father sounded to be.
The days leading up to the adventure were painfully long. I could hardly think of anything but what it would be like to drive up north with Solange. I'd never been in San Francisco my time, and I was interested to see what north beach was like. I was looking forward to hitting North Beach if we had time, where I could go to City Lights without 'haunting it' and try sipping an espresso at Trieste while listening to arias on the juke box. Well that's what I thought of any way. Thinking of spending the weekend with Solange managed to throw me in a tizzy and I kept up ending up in dimly lit poshly pillowed Amsterdam rooms whenever passing out. Darn the hormone driven thoughts of male youth.
The weekend finally arrived and early at that. Both of us skipped school around 11 am in order to make good time and 'avoid traffic.' We stopped off at my house, where Solange briefly said hello to my parents and appeased any concerns they might've nurtured. Lickety split, we were on our way. It was amazing how Solange made my folks feel at ease. Both of my parents slipped quickly into talking to Solange like an adult, a peer, rather than their son's teenage friend.
The ride up north was superbe!
We took the scenic route, highway 1. I enjoyed the fabulous moving vista of California's coast. Solie had a great playlist set up on her ipod for the whole trip. Songs about bay area added to the cool road trip feel. "I left my heart in San Francisco" "Journey to the end of the East Bay" "Mean old Frisco" "Moon over Marin" "San Francisco Days" "Samba de Sausalito" "Planet Fillmore" "Mission in the Rain" "Golden Gate" "Frisco Blues" "Frisco Town" "Condition Oakland". . . I had no idea there could be so many songs about a single california area. No Diamanda Galas though, Solange told me to not listen to her. She decided that since I had never heard of her, the experience would be all the more greater if I faced the Galas cold.
On the way up north we stopped at Hearst Castle. Solie was humoring the tourist bug that seemed to have bit me. I can honestly say it was the funnest day of my life, I was happy and even relaxed. We avoided the subject of time traveling and Solange did most of the talking. She opened up with memories of her childhood and vignettes regarding her sister.
I actually caught her getting next to livid, animated any way, when she shared her love/hate relationship with waitresing at Michael's. She seemed to like it and would have fun character acting like a roadstop Flo-like waitress. When she was bored Solie'd pretend she was a spy working behind enemy lines and play it on thick with a french femme fatale accent. There were days of course when she couldn't stand it. Either business was slow, or patron's were stingy tipless nincompoops, or worse yet she would have to do her acrobatic best to fend off hands that seemed to reach for her ass or avoid the owner who apparently was the worse kind of lech. Not only would he pocket tips when Solange wasn't looking, he also couldn't take a hint and continued to attempt to grope her or ply her with offers of booze after work. Luckily. most of the time Crash or Rob was near and Michael was smart enough to recognize that their evil looks portended more than a glare whenever he attempted to get too close to Solange.
I felt so good, so different. I managed to stay awake for the majority of the ride up north. Once, while driving during a lull in the conversation, I did fade away for a bit. I ended up comfortably on some California beach where I amused myself in the sunshine by listening to the waves and watching the kids play in the sand and surfers doing tricks in the horizon.
The second time I fell asleep was far from pleasant. Truth be told, I can't remember where I went. I do remember vividly how I found myself when I woke up. We had stopped at a restaurant along the coast near Carmel for dinner. The place looked nice, rustic, filled with wooden furniture and a great view of the ocean. The place was emitted yummy fishy smells and pleasant chatter. I threw caution to the wind and ordered the lobster bisque. It was their special and there was a rave newspaper review copied in the menu. I remember it tasting good. My first time trying that bisque so I had nothing to compare it too. Anyway, while eating I passed out. When I came back to the present, my face felt all warm and sticky with bits of soggy crackers stuck to my eyelids and cheeks. Rising my head, I became aware of the entire room staring at me along with laughter eminating from the waitress and man behind the bar. Solange was livid. I had never seen her mad before, and glad of it. I made it a point then and there to do be sure to keep Solange's ire away from my direction. She was standing, pointing violently into the waitress's personal space, cursing the entire room in French and German, yelling for the inane laughter stop and demanding to speak to the owner or whomever was in charge.
When the manager finally showed her face, Solange started berating her for the way the staff had treated her friend. She went so far to threaten a discrimination law suit seeing as I suffered from narcolepsy and no one should be treated in such a way. I distinctly remember slinking down in my chair trying to become invisible and reaching for napkins to clean up my face and shirt. Though, after I got over the shock of witnessing Solange on fire, I started to enjoy the show. It was priceless to witness the crowd go from laughing to stuttering and mumbling and fumbling trying to appease a firecracker without getting their hands blown off. I had to keep myself from laughing lest I break the angry spell and hurt fascade.
Long story short, we ended up having dinner for free in addition to another couple of courses to go and to top it off a free hotel room and free breakfast waiting in the morning if we chose to come back to the place. Any way, this was by far the most memorable day of my life. Unfortunately more memorable events would follow. I'd have to say Solange's disappearance will rank forever as the top most memorable and deplorable day of my existence. I laughed so hard when we left the restaurant that my gut began protesting in pain. Solange quickly joined me. She laughed and danced her way back to the car. The whole event put me so at ease. I can't say I was a bit nervous when we availed ourselves to the free room entered the comfortable and quaint hotel suite complete with view of the ocean and, according to Solange, great bath products. The rest of the evening went smoothly. We relaxed comfortably atop the king size bed and recapped the hilarious events of the evening. Sometime during the night, while talking about our plans for morrow, I ended nodding reluctantly off into a blissful slumber while trying to concentrate on what Solange was saying.