Friday, April 4, 2008

Same as it ever was


The temperature is a brisk 47 when I wake up - I believe I've just brought crop failure to the formerly warm clime of southern California. Hate it when that happens. Tonight I meet my old friend Kristine and her husband for dinner. When Kristine goes to the ladies room, I chat amiably with her husband, who seems like a relatively astute man. That is, until he too starts with the whole "pshaw, you don't control the weather" thing that I'm starting to find really annoying.

Me, matter-of-factly: "Yep, pretty much been crappy weather since I got here."
Him, wrongheadedly: "Nah, this is normal for spring. Warm, cold, sunny, rainy, that's how it is."
Me, pouncing upon this bit of nonsense: "Oh really? Then tell me why as I was tracking the weather here in LA for the last 3 weeks, it's been beautiful and sunny, not a hint of cold or rain?"
Him, reminiscing: "Hmm.......yeah, last weekend was just perfect........" as his voice trails off, until he suddenly snaps to. "I mean, clearly THAT was an aberration. This is normal. Really."
Me, going in for the kill: "If this is so normal, then why were people pelting my car with frozen citrus earlier today, huh?"

Knowing that I've won the argument, he lapses into silence. Hmph.

When I get home, Andrew is waiting for me with his new invention, some kind of bacon-cheese-cheese eggyolk concoction, awash in peanut oil. He tries to push this on me, "with a mug of coffee to wash it down," he notes in his typical disarming fashion. That night, I sleep with Big Boy tucked safely under my pillow, as I'm sure that's what he covets so much that he's willing to bump me off heartlessly. Vigilance is key.


While some would treat a week in California as a vacation, I of course am always aware of the need to hew to my stringent training plan, and so I've decided to make this a "crash week" of sorts. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, that's where you basically train a LOT. Every day. Now, while I'd be perfectly happy in my usual element, i.e. swimming the endless (theoretical, dry-land) laps, biking the endless (visualized) miles, etc., I've decided to shake things up a bit with some serious hiking off in the mountains or canyons or whatever. On my way out, I contemplate getting a scone at Starbucks as the carbs necessary for the long day ahead, but I'm determined to stick to local food, so I get a bacon-cheese biscuit at the local diner instead. Tough, but necessary.

Having not asked my brother for directions, I find the Malibu Canyon National Park without any problems, though the signs at the trailhead do give one pause. There's the requisite ones saying that alcohol, dogs, etc. are not allowed, but then there's a whole host of them warning of the dangers lurking ahead. Rattlesnakes, poisoned grasses, wild boars, and of course my friends the mountain lions. This particular sign tells one how to act should one come across a mountain lion (as if we don't all know that already!): "Make yourself appear larger. Open your coat if you are wearing one. Make noise. Do not crouch down. Pick up children." etc and so on. Now, I read this as their telling us to use any nearby small children as a shield, which makes sense to me. If they're going for the little ones, then that gives the adults a chance to escape. Though maybe that's not what they really meant. Hmm.

After reading the final sign warning about the extreme DANGER and HAZARDS in hiking alone andhow one should never ever do this, I set off. Adventure awaits!

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