We went to Berkeley last weekend for a little wedding getaway. I spent two years thinking I went to a wedding on the Berkeley campus, so I was very confused when we drove by the campus and didn’t recognize it. Which is when I remembered the wedding was at Stanford. I get all of my California schools mixed up.
I do not do well with air travel. I get to the airport too early. I scrutinize the pilots and flight crew too harshly. I pack too much. I wear the wrong outfit. I am a total mess. When I discovered xanax, my world changed. Then a nice commenter told me xanax is not good for ladies trying to get pregnant, so I talked to my doctor and she told me it was fine if I was in the first two weeks of my cycle. I bet you can guess which part of my cycle I was on when we went to Berkeley. Not the first two weeks. I think Seth contemplated divorce, and/or a seat assignment change. After a complete post flight air train clusterfuck of meltdown proportions, wherein I wondered if Seth was trying to drive us off the Bay Bridge because he’d had enough of my whining, we arrived at our hotel.
We stayed at the Claremont, which is a Northern California dead ringer for the hotel in The Shining. I wouldn’t say we went to bed mad, but uh, sometimes my moods are not easy to get over. For the person on the receiving end of them. My whole entire family is nodding their heads and saying a little prayer for Seth.
The next morning things were looking up as we ate an enormous breakfast at Rick and Ann’s, browsed books at a little bookshop, and walked around the town all amped up for the Colorado v. Cal game. College towns are magical to me. I think in my next life I’d like a little house, a tenured position at a small liberal arts college and many sordid trysts with students half my age.
I had the best deep tissue massage I’ve ever had at the spa. But the spa itself… It was of another time. Kind of janky and weirdly decorated, no dry sauna, a scary looking jacuzzi and some kind of waterfall shower that freaked me out. But that massage made up for it. If you are in Berkeley and want to drop a little dough and you don’t mind a weird doctor’s office type waiting room, see Michael at the Claremont.
We had dinner that night at Chez Panisse - Alice Waters is a genius. We eat out a lot in Los Angeles, and Campanile is probably our favorite restaurant, but man, sorry Mark Peel, Ms. Waters has you beat. I’ll be dreaming about that meal for a long time.
The next morning we had plans to get up early and play tennis. The courts looked so pretty, and we actually woke up in time for our reservation, but we canceled our court because we decided to drive up the coast and see Stinson Beach and some Redwoods.
The drive to the beach was very Highway 1. Windy roads, steep drop offs, beautiful views and hundreds of tourists. We got to the beach and I spent a good thirty minutes in the bathroom, um, doing stuff a person usually likes to do in their own bathroom. It wouldn’t be a vacation if I didn’t get sick! After a scan of the beach we thought would be deserted, we decided to head to less touristy pastures. The redwoods. Which is when we got caught behind a tour bus. And we realized the vision of deserted redwoods and lonely beaches was something we would only see in our fantasies (maybe ones that included tenured professors and half my age students!) and we headed back to San Francisco.
A trip over the Golden Gate Bridge brought us back into the city and we motored up steep streets with pretty Victorian row houses, ate French fries and chicken pot pie at an old hotel bar, shivered at the fog rolling in and headed back to the airport.
We’ve been back five days and it wasn’t until yesterday on my drive from the valley back into Hollywood when I looked over the sprawling city cloaked in smog, concrete overpasses and iconic buildings surrounded by the bad architecture of the 80s that I was reminded why I love Los Angeles so much. It’s a real big mix-up of good and bad, right and wrong, pretty and ugly. Kind of like me.
And as I screamed an obscenity at an idiot cunt in Audi who cut me off at my exit, I thought to myself, “It’s good to be home.”