Monday, August 1, 2022

September 19

Karen & RJ's House
RJ went into work at 6am and when Karen came downstairs I was working on this blog at what has become my morning spot in their house—the dining room table. Karen is verbose and animated while RJ is quiet and reserved. Within the first ten-minutes of meeting Karen last year with Caroline she was giving us a tour of not only their house, which has many old school goth collectibles, but also her closet. Even though I wasn’t really interested in her collection of head dresses and wigs her immense enthusiasm made me smile ear to ear. RJ quipped, “Once you meet Karen the shine kind of comes off of me.”  

Not only have Donna and I become good friends with RJ and Karen, but Caroline has too. The previous night after we got back from dinner, she laid down at the end of their couch in the T.V. room and RJ threw Caroline, “her blanket.” Yes, Caroline has her own blanket at their house—I'd say pretty friendly.

Caroline shares an apartment with two people about her age she met through and while this has been a pretty good arrangement for all concerned it’s kind of impersonal. I think when all three of the roomies are home together they still spend a lot of time in in their rooms in front of screens. So, it’s nice that RJ and Karen have made her feel comfortable in their home. It’s also nice to know they are there in an emergency.

Karen was just back from a week-long visit with her sister up in Portland, where she grew up. This is a sister Karen only learned existed in the last few years. And like RJ, she is kind of the opposite of her sister but in a different kind of way. Karen is a sophisticated L.A. jetsetter, and her sister is a pretty much a country girl. But in the same way she embraced Caroline she has put time and energy into this relationship with her new sister and it’s incredibly sweet.

After catching her up on some of our adventures and her catching me up on her week in Portland she had some work to do. I went outside and gave the van a thorough cleaning. The garage part of the van had become quite dusty in our travels—for you novice van-lifers, the garage is the area underneath the bed which is used for storage and houses the water tank, lithium batteries, the propane for the stove among other things. At some point I should really give you a tour of the van and talk about some of the names we are considering—that’s a big van life thing too—naming the van.

Here's a potential name: “Kurt Vannegut.” —see artist's rendering of potential van placard above. If you’ll remember from your high school reading of “Breakfast of Champions,” that star like image was a symbol of an “asshole” in the book. I’ve included it here because one of the names we also considered for the van, that I personally like is: “Big White Asshole” or “BWA.” But, Donna has opinion too, and she's not really hip to a big asshole symbol on the side of the van, so I’m probably overruled.

So after spiffing up the van I went for a walk to get those nail clippers they didn’t have at Vons. Their street is old school with a mix of traditional and Spanish style homes (flat roofs) with lots of cool landscaping. Once I hit Colorado Boulevard there was again a mix of chains like Walgreens and Target along with many unique businesses like this Kumon place, which as it turns out provides math tutoring service with many locations out here in the west. But, of course, my prepubescent fifth grade brain went someplace else—see potential van placard.

The 8K step walk included a stop at Walgreens to get said nail clippers. My toes nails were getting a bit unruly, which is a problem out here in Cali where it’s always sandal season. But the walk was uneventful besides one guy going down the street declaring very loudly, “That’s right, I’m a proud fucking Latino man.” I’m not sure if he was talking to someone on the phone or was in the throes of some kind of mental event but he was really pissed off.

After I got back it was almost football time. One of the best things about L.A. is the three-hour time difference as it relates to football. That means drinking beers at 10am for those 1pm east coast games and the Monday night 7:15pm start of the Bills v. Titans was at 4:15pm. 

We went to a place called Rocco’s Tavern in Pasadena, which had surprisingly good wings, both with and without bones. The one faux pas was when the waitress asked if we wanted blue cheese or ranch dressing. The waitress either didn’t hear me or care when I gasped at the ranch suggestion. Practical RJ answered, “Both.” Of course, I had to let RJ know getting both blue cheese and ranch might be cool with his, “L.A. friends,” but it wasn’t going to fly with two authentic “Mafia Members,” like Caroline and I and like the waitress he didn’t hear me or care.

At any rate it was a great ass kicking Bills win over the Titans. And, yes I made eye contact with Caroline and we shook our heads with a certain disillusioned sadness when both RJ and Karen dipped their wings in that ranch.  

 RJ & Karen's Street


How we got here...
An Ode to Fire and Donna
Chronological Posts From The Road 
Going Mobile: What We Learned
Our Rig: A Pictorial Essay

No comments:

Post a Comment