The Stone Soup House

paradise For you busy types, here's the topline: the communicatrix is well rested, the happy couple is well (and legally) married and (surprise, surprise) I did not get half as much done as I thought I would on my merry jaunt up the coast.

For the rest of you, settle in. Because that last bit was the source of a lot of deep thinking over the past several days.

I thought about it as I gazed out the window at the view of all views, not doing the Important Writing I was sure the solitude would facilitate. I thought about it as I walked the six happy, hilly miles to get my cup of espresso from the village every day. And I thought about it quite a bit on the long and tedious drive home this afternoon.

One of the excellent civic truisms I learned from my ex-husband, Chief Atheist of the West Coast and World-Class Urban Driver from way back was "If you're passed on the right, you're wrong." Clearly, 95% of the people on the 101 S never had the Chief for their traffic school instructor. Between the uptick in asshats and the population boom overall, what used to be a beautiful drive is now little more than a colossal pain in the ass, at least for sadly long stretches.

Get mad at the people for being in the way. Get mad at me for not being perfect. Expect things to be different without really changing. How ridiculous I can be! How amazing it is that anyone at all listens to a thing I say! How fortunate it is that I have my monthly shrink appointment in two days to sort out some of this mess!

Of course, the heavy lifting of shrinkage is done outside of the 50-minute hour. You get assignments and perspective for those 50 minutes, but you do the work on your own. Or you'd better, unless you like wasting time and annoying the pig. And I have done a bunch of mine this week, even if it wasn't the Important Writing kind.

  • I spent a day positively convinced I had back-of-the-leg cancer, when really I just had a case of too much exercise for too-atrophied muscles. Because I worry about everything.
  • I spent two nights watching Law & Order marathons. Because I am an addict.
  • I spent five nights freezing my ass off before I finally broke down and turned on the gas furnace. Because a part of me will always be 12, forced to live in my grandparents' drafty barn of a house and afraid afraid afraid to ask for anything.
  • I ate cookies and burritos, beans and bread, chips and corn and god-knows-what in the delicious sauce of the meal my friends Terry and Gus bought me, and paid for it all in many square yards of methane output. Because I am the spawn of the King and Queen of Denial.

That's a lot of thinking for one week, huh? I wish I could give credit to my wonderful brain and ferocious will to change. The truth is, though, it was the house: I was staying in a magical house.

Its location is magical, certainly, poised as it is a mere 10 yards up from and 20 yards away from the mighty Pacific. Few things are as restorative as viewing a fine sunset over sea water and a cold beer.

But I think the house itself must be magic. Compared to the outsized homes of the neighboring "Yankee fuckers"--swathed in decks, crapped up with all manner of aggressively country decor, my house is a pint-sized throwback to another time--a kinder, funkier time, when four swingin' cats might just bake a doob in the glassed-in turret (accessed via the bathtub!) or while away a rainy day playing strip Yahtzee. My house all crazy angles and dark, moldy wood--including the countertops! It's practically decomposing before your eyes, with its long-busted pocket doors, its non-functioning locks, its stop-gap newspaper insulation held in place with brittle masking tape. So what? There was a broken recliner and high-speed internet and a view: I was ready to move in, brother.

And I'm not the only one. My fellow outcasts--the ones without yellow magnet ribbons on our SUVs, the ones who like things a little sexy-grubby-rundown, had all left pieces of themselves there. Books with loving inscriptions to future guests. A closet full of puzzles, games, and 8-track tapes. A pantry full of foods, fancy and plain, with a little extra stock in the fridge.

People leaving stuff instead of stealing the toiletries. I was ashamed of my fleeting thought to abscond with a jar of barely used peanut butter--which I'd bought myself.

Never fear--it was fleeting, and just the lack talking. The weeks and months of people not letting you merge, not saying "please" or "thank you", avoiding "hello" or even eye contact. And I can't blame them: I am them, on my not-so-great days. I left my own contributions to the pot: Mrs. Meyer's Dish Soap, the aforementioned jar of Laura Scudders, a lone Sierra Nevada beer.

I suppose the real topline for this week's adventures is Wherever You Go, There You Are. I had my Dorothy Gale experience and it was all marvelous and trippy and very, very Technicolor in nature, but now I am back in my own backyard, ready (I hope) to deal with the accumulation of rusted out cars and old refrigerators that have been piling up there.

Because I would like to have fewer not-so-great days and more dancing-around-the-house days. More laughing days. More reading, walking, thinking, skipping, lounging days. I got an infusion of good mojo from the residual juju of a thousand happy Stone Soup House inhabitants before me; now it's up to me to get some of that good witches' brew going down here.

xxx c

Photo of paradise courtesy of The BF.