As I’ve spent more time in Los Angeles, good or bad, bathed or not, I’ve felt dirtier. And not in the fun way. The grime that coats the city creeps beneath my skin. Smog fills my lungs, inflates me. Makes me want to float away. So I do.
Running away is a hot shower. It’s a dip in the pool. All you need is a full tank of gas. Or in California: several avocados and an ear of corn to tamper ‘em. Our shit runs on guac.
Needing a cleanse, I hopped in my car, picked up a willing friend, and got the hell out this hell-hole. My favorite release, as a person who has been described as controlling (I call it "caring," the internet says superiority-complex, lesser friends say bitch), is to leave everything up to chance and wrong turns on single lane highways. Which is why superior-friend Emily and I pointed our compass-toes in the direction of Big Sur and got tappin’. We put our trust in my mid-level packing skills and several camping facts I made up. We turned up Keri Hilson. We got out.
Sparing the gory details, this weekend was a lesson in following intuition and keeping in touch with my brain-noodle, which meant: spouting anxiety, aspiration, and perspiration in one breathless sentence and between sips of double shot espresso. It was about being a mess, covered in the dirt of Sweet Mama Earth, rolling in the honesty of following one's bliss, and listening to Emily puke in the woods. Don’t eat Kind Bars if you have a peanut allergy. Don’t camp with me if you want a bathroom.
Letting looser than legs on the dance floor (break ‘em), we drove North to San Francisco and were met with delay in the name of Grecian fitness. A police convey escorted us, 5mph, through a 26.2 mile stretch of coastline, following what turned out to be many ambitious walkers. The complex-haver I am was immediately and loudly upset. Being stuck behind a marathon was not on the schedule when we woke up at 5:30 am, frozen peas on top of a mountain, bound for a new, cleaner city. And it certainly wasn't on the schedule of the barefoot man shouting about missing his plane. Or the woman's with the whale watching tickets. Some planes aren't meant to be caught. Some whales aren't meant to be watched.
But as we sat, inching along one of the most beautiful regions in the whole damn country, I got over it. I laughed as we stopped, unbelievably, atop a bridge with thousands of feet dropped below us. I yawned with cows as they stared at us between grass chomps. I cheered with other supporters as we wheeled alongside actual crazies (marathons are not on my list of activities inspiring sanity), as we crossed the finish line 26 and some miles later. How unexpected. How beautifully unexpected.
We made it to San Francisco and the bridge Emily had never seen. We watched the sunset from a black sand beach. We ate burgers and contemplated Monday on a midnight drive through gusty winds, knowing our attitudes would be refreshed and that we would be insufferable to the Garfields of morning. We were clean.
In the cheesy ending to this story, which others may edit out, but I will highlight in cheddared slices: get out. Of town. Of your head. Of the drab pit you live in now that you’ve graduated from dorms and dining halls to bare floors and a pasta-only diet. But remember to come back. Because you have work to do. Stay fresh. Stay awake. Get your grind on. Make you some Lemonade.