California.

[Bedford, NH.] Aj and I went into work the morning of our flight. For some reason I was under the impression that the excitement of the fast approaching trip across the country wouldn’t deter us from at least getting a solid four hours in before we took off to meet up with some friends before we took off. We left at nine forty-five, not the planned noon time. This is funny to me now because if we had left at noon time like we had planned then my back bumper probably wouldn’t have received the tiny love tap that it did from some older man in a older pick up truck. I was at a red light, he must have bumped me doing, uhm, five miles per hour tops. The thing is though, my Scion is made out of fiberglass and crap. So a puncture wound was made and the pressure in the specific spot caused the bumper to crack along the top. We exchanged information, I bitched, life went on, my car is now fixed, and I didn’t pay for any of it. Ta-da!

[Boston, MA.] We flew out of Logan because the tickets we purchased were cheap and there were zero stops involved, thus it made sense. For an airport, Logan really isn’t all that bad. Sure in places, in certain corners, it can kind of look like a dirty cluster fuck, but for the most part they have their shit together. I specifically found Logan to be a paradise once I experienced LAX. We sat at a table in Boston Beer Works and the dudes ordered a couple beers to occupy some time. I watched planes take off and land. I was anxious and still unsure of how I would feel once I was on the plane. For the most part I found myself trying not to think about the fact that I was in the air and very much fucked if something drastic and awful happened with our plane. I sat and I watched hours of South Park. I love Butters.

[Los Angelas, CA.] Blah, blah, blah picking up checked bags, finding Gina and Joey, packing ourselves tight into that same old jeep that I had grown to miss. Some babble about how great the first cigarette off of your plane ride tastes and feels as it’s clutching at your lungs and killing the little hairs in your sinuses. Mmmm. Speaking of mmm, the first thing we did (besides experience better herbage~ than most of New England has to offer) is head to In & Out Burger. I’m not a huge fast food person but I will stand by the fact that In & Out Burger is probably everything that so and so has told you it is. They put an entire fucking slice of an onion on your burger… Get the fuck out of here, oh my god. And! And those mother fuckers are all smiles and polite while doing it. We went back to Joey and Gina’s apartment and met some of their friends, who coincidentally were a lot like two of our dudes back home in Massachusetts. It was pleasant.

[Hollywood, CA.] We ventured out to Hollywood to walk around and see what there was to see, I guess. There wasn’t much of a plan other than to just get our fill of the area while we were there. We went to Amoeba, apparently a really well known record store on the west coast that everyone had heard of except me. Which is fine. I was thrilled to be seeing something so great, in size and inventory, that I didn’t know existed. I loved it. I found the entire Daria series, the two movies, with bonus material for under twenty dollars, as well as a couple Jawbreaker albums I didn’t have hard copies of. I wanted to buy so much vinyl but it didn’t make sense, I would have managed to break it or fuck it up before getting back home. That and I knew what my money situation would be like as the end of the week grew near and it looked pretty tight. I kept my spending under control.

We walked along for a bit, checking out stars on the ground (found George Takei’s!), looking through some head shops (skip them, they’re lame here), and just absorbing the street art. Outside of that, Hollywood is meant for tourists with money. We decided to eat at this place called Stout. If you’re ever in the area (it’s not too far from Amoeba) I would suggest stuffing your face there and drinking all of the beer. It was pretty relaxed, the atmosphere was interesting (pretty much all open, lacking real walls for half the building, it was different- I imagine it must be nice not having to deal with snow and much rain). We sat in a nice booth, mostly tucked away from everyone else that was dining. The lighting above our heads was a chandelier made of green, brown, and clear beer bottles. We ordered drinks, Gina and I went to the bathroom together in between making petty remarks about the attire that the restaurant allowed their female employees work in around food, the night was good. It felt like home, familiar. Gina and I talked the whole ride back to the apartment, I don’t remember much of a lull anywhere and I enjoyed every nonstop second of it.

[San Diego, CA.] We stayed in a pretty sweet hotel that wasn’t far from the zoo at all. In ground pool, hot tub, ice machines, grills, ya know~. I am easily satisfied, I guess it wasn’t the nicest hotel some of my friends had experienced. I enjoyed it. To the extent that I wanted to take the pillows with me. The night we arrived we went out to pick up alcohol and snacks, invited our friend Aaron over from his military base, and carried on with our evening. As always, I was the first one ready for bed. I get overwhelmed easily and I try to take control of situation when people don’t know how to do so. Looking to me for help in these situations isn’t a bad idea, I will get the job done. I’m just not sure I will do it the nicest way possible.

The next day we went to the zoo and saw all sorts of fuzzy, adorable animals. Also, we went completely baked out of our minds due to the “love bites” (marijuana edibles, yay) we were able to get our hands on. I’ve never witnessed an elephant get a bath until this day and it was probably the best thing of my life. Have you heard an elephant purr? Or fart even? I’m so immature that I’m laughing about it now even as I type this. You will never hear a cuter, funnier fart in your life, jesus christ… I promise you that.

We saw Red pandas, all sorts of large cats, birds, monkeys, we posed with animal statues, I took too many pictures (I promise you’ll see them one day), we rode a gondola across the park, everything was hilarious, everything was fun. We stayed for hours, right up until closing time and it was amazing. I can’t think of something else I would rather do with my best friend that I’ve been missing so immensely.

[Venice, CA.] Everything you have heard about this place is more than likely that it is very awesome or it is very awful. Both of these are true. For as awesome as I thought it was, it made me equally sad and confused. I am not complaining, it is just one of the few times in my life that I’ve been faced with what I tend to love about movies, about music, about art- it was perfectly beautiful and sad all at once and it left me feeling very, very lonely. That being said, the art in Venice is beautiful and if you have it in you to make yourself vulnerable enough to enjoy everything for what it is- go for the experience. Go for every single bit of it. Go simply to watch someone make something with their hands on the sidewalk in hopes that you or another person with the time, will purchase it. Go and drink it in.

There was a man playing piano right there. Right in front of me. Just a few steps from sand, a piano. In the middle of everything and everyone rushing around; dogs on chain leashes, people on bikes, on skateboards, on roller blades, on bicycles, people running, walking, moving around everything in their way. Among everything, there was a man directly in front of me, playing a piano. His hair was a mess all around his face, shielding it from me and anyone else that cared to stare. I imagined his life. I wondered if it were sad and lonely, maybe that was why he pounded the keys so feverishly.Such perfectly heart breaking every string of notes seemed to be. The last time I had heard someone play an actual piano in person before this was when I was in elementary school. It felt like every push of a key, the clang of a hammer, was a note stuck in the back of my throat. Before I had a minute longer to think, we were moving again and I was forced to give up on this man that I felt I had, had some odd intimate connection with. He doesn’t know my name or my face, but when I heard his music I felt like I fell in love again and had my heart broken in moments. There was an ache and my head was tumbling.

I saw a man painting John Lennon with nothing but straight lines and globs of orange, brown, and gray. The little globules would run down the canvas and in a great way they added to the piece, they seemed to be right where they belonged. I wanted to buy all of his work and surround myself with it until I passed away from old age with my ten billion cats and of course, Aj. (Providing his allergies don’t kill him, what with being around ten billion cats.) I wanted all of his work for myself. I wanted a house and I wanted him to pain every wall however he pleased. Even his pants were something else, perhaps once denim, they were now nothing but colorful splatters and his story.

On the the beach bums slept in the sand. Or they were blacked out. Either way, they didn’t seem to bother with anyone. I tried to not let my head wander to what it must be like and focused more on the sunset or the music. There seemed to be some kind of music everywhere and it made it easy to forget some of the things around me. On the beach there was the largest (and only) drum circle I’ve ever witnessed. From the other side of the beach you could hear and see it. Hands were in the air, the crowd seemed to pulse, and the drums never stopped. At dusk three police SUV’s came barreling down the beach, sirens blaring and lights flashing, in a sad attempt to break up the circle. In response, the drum circle played louder, harder. It put a smile on my face.

We ended our day smoking on the beach sitting in the sand. The sky was unbelievable. Those paintings you see in hotels and other fancy establishments where the clouds form a circle around the sun and the rays burst through, washed over with pinks and purples, blues you’ve never even seen if you haven’t left New England. I can’t explain it well enough. I’m not doing it justice. I’ve overused the word perfect, otherwise it would be used here as well.

Venice is also where: I saw an old man in sad clown make up and matching garb on, I saw a bong taller than me (banana for scale: I’m about five feet, six inches- this was a big deal to me, ok?), I saw two homeless people having a dance off on roller blades, I thought my eyeballs were deceiving me, but there was a woman in a belly shirt with a boombox, muscle beach is a real thing, muscle beach is a real thing that they make t-shirts for and sell at the surrounding shops, muscle beach is a real thing and there are bleachers for you to sit on and watch the nerds get their sand gym on, and finally many people arguing with what I can only assume was- themselves.

[Gina.] This is not a place. I’m sure you have realized the on going theme here. I was going to fill you in on the flight home and how I thought we were going down at one point, but it isn’t nearly as important (plus we weren’t really “going down”, we were just going down in elevation quickly). Gina has been a big part of my life for quite some time. I have lost family members, pets, and experienced a landslide of emotions. But nothing will ever compare to the way I have learned to miss my lady friend over the years. She can’t stay still for very long and I’ve come to terms with that because I know she’ll always come home when she’s ready. That all being said, the very best part of my entire trip was getting to see my best friend and the worst was very obviously, having to say see you later, again.

I have never met a person quite like the girl and I am very, very convinced that I never will- she is truly unique. There are things that even after being friends for as long as we have, I still don’t know about her. I have spent years around her and still she is able to open her mouth and surprise me with something else. There is never a dull moment, there are never ill feelings, there is always something to talk about, and she will always have questions for you. Because she cares. Because she’s interested. And because she truly, honestly wants to know. Not just because she wants to have an even sided conversation. She wants to know everything.

The night we were driving back to the apartment from Stout and Gina and I were in the backseat of her jeep talking and she surprised me again. First, a tiny bit of background info (I love you, don’t hate me): Gina cannot reply to most texts in a timely fashion, through out high school you would have to call her about three times before she ever answered, she is on facebook but she only really lurks, she’s on instagram but only sometimes, she’s here and she’s there, but not really. She doesn’t need to be attached to everyone as openly as the rest of us and I’ve always been pretty on board with it.

After drinking a few beers, sitting in her backseat, Gina told me that she read my blog. And I don’t think it really set in at the time just how much that meant to me. It took coming back home and realizing how much I was neglecting this silly thing to realize just how much that simple statement meant to me. Because I didn’t ask her if she had, I didn’t even bring it up. She did on her own because she could. Because she cares. Because she wants to know.

These are links to some photos:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8

Over and out.

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