San Luis Obispo, California – Camille was reading to me from the bumper of some guy’s pickup at Morro Bay – “Commercial Fishermen, the real endangered species.” Below where we stood – along a street crowded with sea food restaurants, gift shops and bars – a small, tattered fleet of fishing boats tugged their moorings. The wind that had plagued us since the plains of Kansas keeping most in port. I called the captain of one such boat and he said the seas were at least eleven feet. He’d take us out if we liked, but we’d just get sick.
San Luis Obispo (SLO) is less than a half hour from Atascadero where we have left Wilson, LeRoy and Sal on a hillside. Most of the wedding activities will take place near the Pacific so we rented a car and moved to a hotel near there. We chose a small hotel with tiny rooms so we wouldn’t contract “Expansion Sickness” from any sudden explosion of space since leaving the confines of Wilson’s narrow aluminum hide. This is working well but both of us are like sailors long at sea, touching solid ground after so long our equilibriums are disturbed and we stagger. We try and compensate for the motion of the road. Two thousand miles of swaying, bouncing, lurching and sudden braking. Or maybe it’s the champagne and orange juice we had for breakfast.
Last night I slipped out of Arnold and Bernilda’s house to sneak a cigar. My two nephews, Casey and Wyatt, joined me on the deck and we caught up on a few things. We’ve talked very little over the last twenty years or so. I picture them mostly as kids but was glad to see they remembered my teaching them to smoke at a young age. They don’t inhale, and now seem level-headed, sensible, motivated young men, unlike the parents who believe I’m a bad influence. Neither of them understands the great stress relieving powers of cigar tobacco, which is why the Indians lived longer and more satisfying lives than white folks.
The rehearsal dinner, held in Avila Beach, a small seaside town, was a disappointment. I expected loud Rock & Roll, tofu and soy burgers, but instead everyone was well-behaved and we ate Mexican enchiladas, salad, drank wine, and dipped fresh strawberries in chocolate. Apparently these people don’t understand the value of a good freak out. Do they think I want to write about sensible people having a pleasant meal in a quaint seaside town? Hardly. No one got drunk and had a fight. After dinner they all pitched in, swept the floor, hauled the garbage away, and went home at a sensible hour. Dullsville, Man. What is California coming to when people act like that?
SLO is a small city and quite clean. Since Highway 101 runs through the midst of it, it’s easy to explore even if you aren’t familiar with the area, and that’s our plan for tomorrow. If the wind lets up we’ll try for an early morning boat trip, otherwise we’ll be forced to shop and eat like good Americans until the wedding begins. I’ve already wasted hundreds of dollars on unnecessary and forgotten purchases, so what’s a few more. Maybe I’ll put new tires on the rental car, since these are the kinds of things that make you popular, or get you into the early commitment program at your local nursing home.