"Home is where the heart is."
I've heard this quotation many times and quite frankly, it's cheesy. I'm not trying to anger anyone, but you have to admit that it is! Where am I going with this? Well, this past weekend, I had a chance to travel the 3 hour trek back home to the Central Coast, more specifically San Luis Obispo. Where is San Luis Obispo, you may ask? It's off of 101 on the way towards Santa Barbara. You know you're in SLO, as we SLO-cals call it, when you see the California State University, San Luis Obispo exit sign. I won't be offended if you've never heard of the place before. Most people haven't.
Desiree and I decided to head home to get away from the 'city life' and visit our parents and friends. You know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you're nervous before a test or interview? Well, that's the feeling I had once we started driving down the Cuesta Grade. It's not like I have an estranged relationship with my parents. It's just I haven't been home for so long and I'm accustomed to a certain style of living. And for those folks who moved away from home for college, you know what I mean. All of a sudden I have a curfew, they expect me to eat dinner with them every night I'm home, etc. Of course, these are the negative sides of the entire situation. Trying to stay positive, it's good to be home and reminisce. This time-out from the 'daily grind' was therapy I needed especially after a hectic week at work.
Work was pretty difficult this week. On average, I didn't leave until about 7pm every night. A fellow editor quit recently to go back to school to acquire her teaching credentials. Pretty gutsy to go back to school, in my opinion, but inspiring. That feeling quickly faded since the majority of her work was routed to me. So I was left without much sleep this week. Desiree felt bad for me, so she suggested an impromptu trip home which I reluctantly agreed because sleeping in and being a bum was pretty enticing. But, in the end, I remembered that it was my mom's birthday on Sunday, so it worked out.
The ride over wasn't too difficult since I've done it countless times before. We grabbed a quick bite at the Salinas In-N-Out, did our customary salute to the "It's Happening in Soledad" sign as we passed Soledad, slowed down to barely 60 mph on the stretch of highway close to King City and after, took a stretch break at the old-style looking McDonald's at Paso Robles, and finally, yelled "I'm back home in SLO" with all the windows down once we passed the Monterey Street exit.
By the time, we got in, it was about 10 o'clock at night and not wanting to wake our parents, we ended up nestled in our usual booth at the Denny's off of Madonna. Desiree was barely hanging on, but a phone call woke her up. She was on the phone for almost 20 minutes with someone I think I knew, but couldn't guess who it was between the "Oh my God's" and "You're kidding" outbursts. So I ate my Philly Cheese steak and upgraded season fries with a side of 3 buttermilk pancakes in silence (on my part), as Desiree picked at her Classic Fruity French Toast. Finally, Desiree ended her call and with eyes as big as donuts, she smiled at me. Immediately I knew this weekend wasn't going to be as much fun as I thought because she led with the foreboding phrase of "Guess who I just got off the phone with?"
Now, typically it's one of two people when this phrase is spoken. First, it could be an ex of either party who heard randomly from the parents of the aforementioned they were coming home for a visit and trying to casually set up a 'friendly' get-together to catch-up, meaning "talk about old times." Or, it could be the one person you wish you weren't friends with because they are so annoying and think everything that comes out of their mouth is the funniest thing in the world, who is successfully making tons of money and who happens to be in-town wanting to meet up to flash around their new watch or sports car or whatever.
With that devilish smile, Desiree teased me with silence. So, I played along knowing that I didn't want to hear the answer that was inevitably coming. "Umm, since you were so exited at the beginning of the call and are looking at me like I'm going to be shark lunch, I'd have to guess that Kate Beckinsale called begging you to hook us up because we're so perfect for each other, and she's been dreaming about me ever since Matt and I almost got arrested for stalking her at the Starbucks in LA" (which is a pretty interesting story that ironically happened when we weren't drunk).
"Ha" was Desiree's answer. She just kept smiling and picking at her bacon. I downed the rest of my Limeade (conveniently in a kid's Rocket Cup with the slogan "Drink with attitude" on the front) and asked "so how's Jennifer?"
To Be Continued ...