Friday, May 19, 2006

Raise a Glass

Today in history... 10 years ago today, I slipped behind the wheel of the UHaul and began my third trip to California, my second in three months. Graduation 90 minutes earlier and the hot, wet gowns finally off. It had rained while we all stood outside waiting to process, but now it was clear and dry and the sky blue. This would be the longest trip. Not just the drive down, which took an entire extra day due to the truck never exceeding 60 miles an hour even as the spedometer read 90. But, the trip would ultimately last just shy of 10 years. I'd leave for California all my possessions in a tiny UHaul, my future ex-girlfriend behind the wheel of my Audi. (I was thinking about this today... not only did she drive my car all the way down, including backtracking to find me when I ran the diesel truck out of gas - never do that! - but she actually also helped me unload the truck into my apartment. That was above and beyond.)

The return trip was slightly quicker, though much more of a production. This time, I had my car and four cats, my wife in her truck with the baby and the horse-dog and my mother-in-law with her cat in yet a third car. All of our stuff now taking up a considerable portion of a gigantic North American Van Lines truck heading up on its own schedule.

But what happened in that almost 10 years will be much of my memories for a long time to come. A party that ended at a Denny's long after the beer was gone, a church that met at a Dave and Busters, friends who stuck by in stupid times, a life ended too soon, palm trees and crisp, hot dry air, an apartment that should have been condemned, a house that should have been condemned, thankfully failed dating relationships, an internet start-up, a major movie studio, a video chain, a large non-profit that has no right to be that large, a sadistic cop. A comedy club, a little TV show and a million fans, data entry at a worker's comp. processing facility, websites for an audio/video company, a youth runaway shelter and a Christian research firm. Ventura, Sepulveda and Van Nuys Blvds. Encino, Van Nuys, Sherman Oaks, Burbank, Studio City, Pasadena, Arcadia, Anaheim, Monrovia, LOS ANGELES. 5, 405, 101, 134. Dating, proposal at Disneyland, wedding, joy. Doctor's visits, late night race to the hospital at full speed down a thankfully empty freeway secretly hoping to get pulled over and a police escort the rest of the way, beautiful bundle of warmth in my arms 9 hours later. Stress, traffic, smog, torrential rain, expensive.

What a ride it's been. To the 10-year anniversary of graduation. Salut and thanks.
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