...as I took yesterday off from all my various woes to fly South for a day with my friend Juan.
Of course there are lots of people named "Juan" who live not too many miles from him. I had directions (though I didn't need to look at them; I've been there once before) so wasn't concerned about confusing one Juan with the other Juans.
I knew I was on the right route as soon as I got off the freeway: there was a guy walking along the roadside with a chainsaw slung over his shoulder. I don't think it was running.
It being a beautiful day, we sat on his back porch and talked. Our places are similar in size -- his is slightly larger -- but I have to give his maximum points for ambiance and view. It is a separate little cabin, while mine is in what used to be called an "apartment court." The actual view out any of my windows is no more than 50 feet; his stretches for miles....
After a while we made our way toward the ocean and spent the afternoon with his "family." They are the kind of people who make you feel genuinely welcome; it was relaxing and fun. Snack-laden, too.
Then it was back to Alpine, where we solved all the world's problems -- or could have, if only everyone else thought the way we do -- and generally babbled away at matters of lesser import.
It got dark fairly early, and the lights of bustling Alpine could be seen in the West...
That area meets one of my prime requisites (alas, I have never found it for myself) which is: isolation, yet a Big City is maybe 20 minutes away. The best of both worlds, say I.
Eventually, the howls of coyotes out in the brush reminded me I still had a long drive ahead and, fueled by strong coffee and facing roving packs of hungry chupacabras and other creatures worthy of calling into George Noory's radio show about, I hit the trail. I neither saw nor participated in any alien abductions, of either kind....
Juan is a good friend and good host. I -- and I hope we -- had a good time. There are rare people out there who, despite the few times you see them in person, simply fit into one's life like a long-time friend, and he's one of them.
The four hours spent dodging tour buses filled with Asians heading for the Indian gambling casinos nearby, Mexican truckers and the general run of dimwitted and drunk drivers (I didn't get home 'til 0200 this morning, by which time the bars were closed) were well worth it. The recent substantial drop in gas prices helped, too.
I need to get out more.
51 minutes ago