Postcard from California


Some things you should know . . .


Thing One: When you are fresh off executing the most masterful courting job on the girl of your dreams, do not get caught woozy and drunk on Cabernet and Pinot Noir at three a.m. after everyone has gone to sleep for the evening with your jeans down around your ankles, hulking rear sweating on the toilet seat, head dangling in the adjacent sink. Do not allow the tender sister of said dream girl, unaware of your haphazard lock-job, to nudge open the bathroom door and shamble in stark naked as you let out a percussive fart and startled yelp at the same time. As the sister whirls and screams, do not notice the soft curve of her smooth waist or sloping buttocks as it disappears out the door in a spasmodic burst. This you will not find in any travel brochures or vacation guides. You are welcome.


Thing Two: While in Napa overlooking the most majestic scene of rolling hills and blooming vineyards, sipping blended wine out of a thin stemmed glass, do not tell a sarcastic joke about how you’d rather be back home in Lincoln because everything there is more impressive and savory. This will elicit a swell of laughter and flirtatious cooing from the girl in which you are falling in love and her younger sister, and this will only serve to give you unbridled hope that will later be vanquished by the rueful boot of fate. Do not picture the way the object of your affection might look down the road, sweet and smiling as she wakes beside you, cloaked in nothing but your oldest, coziest T-shirt and winking those impossibly blue eyes. Don’t imagine all the mushy nicknames you will later give her as she sits in the morning sunlight of your apartment drinking coffee from one of your chipped mugs.


Thing Three: When the trip is over, do not think about how the entire spectacle seems like a metaphor for every relationship you’ve had and didn’t have, about how the whole thing feels like a microcosm for the remaining stretch of life you have yet to undertake or overcome. Or do. Do it. Let the experience wash over you, curling like an ocean wave, appearing like the flaccid penis California resembles from north to south, from Eureka to the Salton Sea. Get comfortable; make it your replacement girlfriend. The taunting nature of the seasons and shifting tides always tending downward before too long . . . Greetings from sunny California . . . Don’t let it weather your resolve, all stubborn and resilient, bubbling to the surface of your memory every seventeen months or so . . . driving in the car or while trying to fall asleep . . . It’s nothing, dear. Don’t clench or brace for blow. Do not fight it, and you have fucking won.  

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