Saturday, December 16, 2006
They say, here in Santa Barbara, that the Santa Barbara Courthouse is "the most beautiful courthouse in America"; everything looks like it should be in a movie (about heroic Spanish explorers, with stilted dialogue spoken by tan white people). Judges are movie stars, and maybe the outlaws are movie stars too. All this was designed after the "real" (Victorian) downtown Santa Barbara was destroyed by an earthquake in 1925, and civic boosterism bursts from the "educational" murals. In the Meeting Room, tourists can walk around and take pictures even when there's a meeting going on. I tried not to accidentally insert myself into the commemorative photos of a commitment ceremony and a quinceañera as I wandered, imagining myself enthusiastically heading to my court date.
After my attempt to infiltrate Hearst Castle on foot failed, we took the bus up the hill for a tour. The driver told us to be on the lookout for strange animals.
We had decided on Tour #2, which meant you got to see Hearst's mistress's bedroom. And Hearst's own bathroom scale. In his dustless dressing room, a pink silk nightshirt hangs. But Hearst's beloved Castle seems almost empty of echoes. I was listening hard, in between trying to figure out if the tour guide was going to give us any good dirt. As she gestured toward dull tomes and ancient Greek drinking cups in the guest library, with a rustle of skirts a blonde starlet, hearing something herself, quickly put down her hard-backed volume and rose up from the couch, vanishing.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
I was walking to the bathroom in the evening. Adam was unable to walk, due to his weird foot infection. There was this shape up ahead--a wobbly, mutating blob. What was it? The man from the harbormaster's office who had checked us in the night before (nasty, unwashed, and, in Adam's case, infected) was standing next to it. I asked him what it was. He said it was an otter that had escaped from the aquarium. "All they do is eat and rub themselves," he pointed out. I made Adam limp down to check it out. We marveled at the dexterity with which it rubbed its head, over and over.
San Francisco was ours. We were beat poets on the internet. We ate huge mounds of pasta. (So uncomfortable!) We watched the crazy swimmers' little heads bobbing around Aquatic Park. We fell off our kayaks into the surf, and found out the water wasn't that cold.
So I stole a shopping cart from Albertson's. It was because we needed a whole lot of water. And then I bought a bunch of other stuff. It was raining, and I pushed the shopping cart a mile past fancy condos toward the marina, hoping that not too many people would come the other way. A few did. Then I recommissioned the shopping cart for use in the dish shower ritual, in which I take a shower with the dishes. To wash them. (Often, the maintenance person at the marina will try to clean the bathrooms at this time. Maybe they notice the unusual torrents of water.) On my way, another marina resident skeptically demanded, "Can I help you?" I feel sort of close to homeless people. A homeless woman even asked me if I was homeless. I am giving off a homeless vibe. It's interesting.