Off To The Golden State

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Off To The Golden State

I was not yet twenty the first time I visited California. From years of Beach Boys songs and old black and white movies, I fully expected it to be a land of palm trees, milk shakes and clear blue skies where everyone looked like Cary Grant and Farrah Fawcett and rode around in red convertibles. Confirming my belief that we do tend to find what we look for, that first trip was indeed a carefree, sunlit introduction to the Golden State. My best friend and I stayed a house in the hills above Marina del Rey, where gardenias bloomed by the front door and sea breezes sailed in through the windows . We ate fresh plums and cheese every day. We paddled in the cold surf at Malibu beach. We went to Disneyland. And it never rained once.

Upon our arrival, when our friends handed us the keys to a little yellow Toyota that was to be ours for the length of our stay, they inquired if we were experienced in driving a stick shift. Naturally, we lied. And let me tell you, that legendary laid-back demeanor that Californians are so famous for can turn on a dime into a horn-blowing, fist-shaking tantrum when confronted with two teenagers whose car goes dead at every single traffic light on Sunset Boulevard. Not the most ideal training course for learning to drive a manual transmission, but it worked.

The next few times I traveled to Los Angeles was in the company of The Songwriter and a great deal of my time was spent in recording studios and restaurants. I went to concerts and kept strange hours. I bought a dress on Rodeo Drive that I don’t think I ever wore. During late studio nights I learned to sleep with my index finger wedged in my ear, a talent I still employ today whenever Edward spots a squirrel out the bedroom window at six in the morning. (Trust me, if you master this ability, you don’t hear a thing, no matter the decibel level.)

My friend from that teenage trip was so charmed with Los Angeles that she still journeys west every chance she gets. Me? I tend to head east, usually across the Atlantic. But tomorrow, I am returning once again to the land of blue skies and palm trees. I don’t know if I’ll indulge in a milk shake, or ride around in a red convertible, but I do plan to see some old friends, and a couple of brand new ones! I’ll share more about that later. Suffice it to say, I’m meeting with two people who feel like old friends, even though we’ve never met face to face. These are a couple of people you all know and, I’m certain, love as much as I do! I’ll share all when I return next week.