Saturday we go back to the Valley for hopefully the last time – to collect the last of our things. Well, Mike has to pretty much get all his stuff because he hasn’t brought anything over yet, so we fill the car. I vacuum most of the rooms since I’m taking the vacuum with me. Farewell, good riddance, see ya later North Hollywood. We get back by 3 and I have just enough time to go for a run before shower and work, so I leave Mike to it. I’ve already had to do all the cleaning and unpacking four days this week, so I don’t feel too guilty about leaving him alone. Just in case, I ask. Are you mad if I go? He smiles. “No.” Good answer.
Running on the beach is wonderful. I don’t even need music. The waves, the sun, the smell of the ocean is enough for me. I could get used to this. I think a lot. I write in my head. I plan. I guess I stress out without even realizing it. Work tonight is busier than last night. Don’t finish until 12:30 and then drive to Rich and Tara’s. I think everyone will be asleep but they’re all still up, drunk from shots Aunt Tara surely poured. I hate missing the fun stuff on the weekends, but I should be used to this by now. I’ve been working weekends for as long as I can remember. Most of the time it’s not a big deal, but I do miss out on a lot of parties. Or I get the tail end when everyone is silly and I try to play catch up. Rich is at the door when I walk up, welcoming me in. The rest of the gang is at the table, along with Marcus and Tara’s friend, Craig. Clyde is here, too, of course.
Tara doesn’t last long. She announces she’s going to change, but I know better. She and Rich go to bed. Marcus follows suit, saying goodnight only to me because I’m the lone Giants fan in the room – we need to stick together. Stay up chatting with the rest. This is my first time meeting Craig. He’s sweet. A huge TV fan so we talk about all our favorite shows. I’ve been obsessed with Vampire Diaries lately so it’s the only thing on my mind. Mike can only shake his head. Troy is loud and repetitive. He keeps clapping me on the shoulder. “LINDSAY, did I tell you….?” Yes, Troy, haha. You already told me. Stop hitting me!
The next morning we all go out to breakfast at Pat’s of Topanga, the local diner. Everyone is mostly hung over. I’m not – one of the perks of working weekends. Tara cannot get over Marcus – he’s grown a a beard and today he’s sporting dark sunglasses. “Seriously, Marcus, if I didn’t know it was you I’d swear you were Keanu Reeves. Doesn’t he look famous?” Marcus seems amused by this, as he does with most things. Clyde sits at the table next to him. This dog is funny. When Rich gets up to use the bathroom Clyde tries to follow him and immediately starts crying. Marcus explains: he needs to keep everyone together. He wants to round everyone up and keep his eyes on the group. As soon as Rich returns, Clyde seems more at ease. Marcus goes on to explain how paranoid Clyde is and talks to him as if he’s a person.
He’s always got a story. He tells us about flying Virgin airlines – “it’s THE best airline to fly. It feels like you’re in a club. Seriously, it’s cool. I think they put more oxygen in the cabin or something.” The table next to us gets up to leave when Rich leans in. “Did you guys hear what was going on at that table?” No. Tara and I are clueless. I never pay attention to my surroundings. “He was like, yea it was horrible, my wife cheated on me, with my best friend.” Someone else at the table is sure it was the old guy from Fringe, or at least he was sitting at the table. I didn’t see any of them. Marcus makes a joke of it. “He’s talking about his wife cheating on him and we’re over here like, yea Virgin Airlines is like a club! It’s awesome!” Tara and Marcus have been trying to work on a script together – a comedy – and for some reason, Tara thinks boners are hilarious. The boys bring this up and start talking about it as a family sits down close by. Tara senses that we’re not being appropriate when Mike continues talking about it. “I love those kind of comedies.” Troy isn’t really clued in. “What kind of comedies?” “You know, (whispering now), boners.” Tara and I are silently, hysterically laughing. Tara keeps trying to get us to leave when Marcus loudly pipes in. “Blah blah blah ejaculate blah blah blah.” At the word ejaculate Tara starts to stand up. “OK guys, we really have to go.” We’re all laughing; Marcus is unphased. “What? They don’t know what ejaculate means.” Oh my.
We head back to the house. Mike goes back to our apartment to do some laundry and things, while the rest of us head out for a hike in Topanga Canyon. I realize as we get there that I’ve never actually been on a hike before. It’s pretty cool. Rich, Tara, Marcus, Troy, Clyde and I head up a steep mountain. At one point Troy and I are way ahead and we stop to wait. I turn around and see Clyde come around the corner. He looks at us, then looks back to where the rest follow. Keeping an eye on the group. We finally reach the top and sit to rest while Troy and Rich continue on for a bit; exploring, I guess. It’s a beautiful day. Warm, sunny, clear blue skies with a nice breeze. Mom would love this. I picture Mom out here a lot. I think she would love it. Dad would, too. Who wouldn’t? I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t want to live in California. Marcus, Tara, and I talk for a bit. They both seem to be pretty happy at this point in their lives. Tara voices it. I’m really happy for her; when she says it, I wish I could say, ‘me too’, but I’m not at that place yet. At least I’ve surrounded myself with good people. That’s got to be a step in the right direction.
We work our way back down the mountain. We’re on a schedule: the Superbowl starts at 3, and there’s two New York fans in the group. I shotgun shower and change to get ready for work. On Friday, I asked Francis if I could wear my Giants jersey for the game. “Of course, baby. It is the Superbowl, c’mon.” He seems genuinely offended that I even asked him. I love Francis. I watch most of the first half at Rich and Tara’s. Thank God Marcus is here because Troy is so annoying. He talks shit, as stupid Eagles fans do. Sorry, Troy, but I already win, because my team is in the Superbowl and yours isn’t. He’s rooting for the Patriots, like this will offend me. I’d root for the Patriots, too, buddy. We’re winning the game when I leave for work, and I can’t get it on the radio, so when I arrive at Lilly’s at halftime and see we’re losing, I’m pissed/nervous/worried. We’re not busy at all. I have mixed feelings about this because I want to be busy to make money but I want to pay attention to the game. I spot a customer with a Giants hat on and soon realize there are no Patriots fans here. Thank God. I intently watch the game and chat with my few customers at the bar. I meet one guy – Sam – who is very cool (obviously, a Giants fan).
The game is so close, as I figured it would be, and then finally heads into overtime. I’m freaking out. So nervous. Francis keeps assuring me that the game is over and we’ve won, which makes me even more nervous. When we win, I think I could cry. I shout only once, trying to contain myself. I can’t believe we won the Superbowl, again. I can’t believe we beat the Patriots, again. It’s a glorious feeling; kind of crazy how it really feels like they’re my team; like I’m a part of the team. Wish I was home celebrating with the fam as I know they are, but at least I got to have that celebration with them once. It was amazing then, and it’s amazing now. Go Giants! Ohhhhh yeahHhhhhHhHhHH!!!