Thursday evening Kevin and Jill arrive. We are their last stop on a trip that went from Seattle to Portland to San Francisco to Sonoma and maybe a couple others in between. They’ve come bearing gifts – a bottle of wine, a coffee table book of 501 must-see movies, and most importantly, news that they’re moving to California! They’ll be a little far in San Francisco, but hey, it’s closer than New Jersey. Jill was offered an awesome job, and Kevin can transfer to a location in Oakland, so it’s a pretty sweet deal. I’m already looking forward to holiday get togethers. We are making ourselves a family in California.
They’ve had a long drive and seem eager to just relax and drink and catch up. We listen to music and share two bottles of wine, talking all the while in between. It almost feels like we’re hanging out at 1203 Washington (our Hoboken apartment). I’m up for anything – it’s their vacation – so I ask Kevin and Jill what they want to do. Both seem perfectly content not doing much of anything, Kevin especially. “We haven’t gone out at all this whole trip. We’ll go out to dinner and be like, yea there’s a band playing at this bar or something else going on at this other bar. Then when we’re done eating, I’m like Jill do you want to go? And she’s like, nah, let’s just go back to the hotel. And I’m like, YES!” Yea, I can relate. We’re getting old or something.
Mike really wants to go to Nikki’s, so Nikki’s it is for some food and drinks. It’s a short walk, and we can walk by the Venice sign. We get a table and order a couple pizzas to share. I notice some girls in the corner – shot girls. The ones who walk around with shots of whatever they’re trying to advertise – in this case Jeremiah Weed – along with shirts and beads and hats and whatever else they can give away for free. One of them walks up to our table with a tray of sweet tea vodka shots. I guess Mike has never seen this before, because when she offers, he wants to know if they’re free. Well in that case, yes. Not me – I think the stuff is gross. And gives me a terrible hangover. She comes back a little later. “I have two hats left if you guys want them.” Mike still can’t grasp this. “For free?” Again, yes, and obviously, yes to the hats.
Kevin notices a couple guys at the bar do the slap and pound. It’s what they do out here – slap hands and then pound fists. It’s something Mike and I have had to get used to. Mike would slap people’s hands at work and then leave them hanging, waiting for the pound. Kevin has been noticing this his whole trip. “People in California are so weird.”
Back at the apartment we pull out the couch bed and set up Jill and Kevin on the floor next to us. I pour myself some wine and we start watching something on TV. I look around and everyone is already passed out. Well then. I guess it’s time for bed.
The next morning Jill and I walk over to the farmer’s market – it’s right across the street every Friday. We grab some fresh berries and makings for blt’s. Jill cooks up the bacon, I make the sandwiches, Kevin wraps them in foil and puts our names on them, and Mike plays music. Typical.
We pack up the cooler and reach the beach by noon, but not before walking past the boardwalk where I get harrassed every time I come to the beach. There’s a weed doctor on the corner, and the people outside in white lab coats always let me know, “the doctor is in!” Today the guy is especially clever as he hands out business cards and urges us to come inside. “Yes you cannabis.” That’s pretty good, I like that.
Not many people are here, probably because there’s a very chilly wind – we even brought sweatshirts. The clouds eventually disappear and even though there’s still a cold breeze, the sun feels good. Kevin and I walk to the liquor store and grab a 6-pack of sierra nevada summer ale. I don’t have a bottle opener, so I ask Kevin is he does. “No, but I’ll figure out something. I can use someone’s keys. Or my shoe. Or my teeth.” Kevin is very resourceful.
We’re on the beach until 3:30. Since it was so cold none of us realized how much sun we were getting – especially Kevin and Mike. When they walk into Lilly’s later for dinner, I can see it. Mike’s face and only one shoulder are really burnt, while Kevin has some crazy burn lines on his legs. Both don’t seem to mind. (Mike wants to be tan when he goes to Jersey so he looks like he lives in California.)
The three of them have dinner and later Troy and Jason come for drinks. Lilly’s seems to be the spot to meet up when we have visitors. It’s not a crazy night – except the computers stop working, of course – and they all head back to the apartment around 10. I get done work pretty early and make it home a little after 11. Troy and Jason are just leaving. Everyone is drunk and sleepy – actually Jill is already falling asleep on the couch. She apologizes for being lame, but uses the excuse that we had been drinking “all day.” We each had less than two beers before they got to Lilly’s, but that’s OK. Kevin makes fun of Jill but is passed out next her by midnight. Another early night, just the way I like it, especially since I have to wake up at 4:45am to drive Mike to the airport.