I'm in Big Sur staying on the side of the road next to a fancy bakery and restaurant that didn't get $25 from me for dinner (cheapest entree). Dai, the attendant at the gas station gave me permission. Its funny how I have a 100% success rate at getting permission from gas station employees after I cozy up to them. In Dai's case, I asked him is he was Buddhist (he has beaded necklace and his name is Dai) and he was impressed that I could call him out like that. (Rewind to Val Mason and the look on his face when I asked him what part of Virginia his family was from...) People are funny when you surprise them with what you know, where you have been or what you can tell about them from subtle clues. It can be hard for me not to take it personally, like "oh, you think someone like ME wouldn't know a thing about that, eh?"
We started today in Ocean Grove just south of Monterey. We stayed in a residential neighborhood on a third tier little path. I found a box truck parked there so I just pulled head in as to kiss the truck. Got my blinds set up, magnetic sunroof screen installed and then realized that there was a dog in the yard that knew Max and I were in the car.
I skipped the Monterey Aquarium. Their main exhibit is closed and they still want $30.
While we are on the topic of skipping stuff because they are blatantly over charging: Pebble Beach. Its a peninsula that they have convinced everyone is private property and you are either an owner, an invited visitor or a person like me that they want to charge $9.50 a car to drive through their town. Telluride (Mountain Village), Aspen, Jackson Hole, or East Hampton... None have descended to this bullsh*t and I hope they never do.
Carmel by the Sea however was great. The main beach is all off leach all the time. Amazing view but it still has a little off the snob oozing over from Pebble Beach, which is half of the two peninsulas that make the cove that is Carmel. Very nice area. I wish I knew how to make a living there.
I met numerous nice people in Carmel at the beach that wanted to talk. It was great.
This is in opposition to an experience that I had recently with a man and his wife (its really his wife) at a sunset overlook on the pacific in Marin Cty. She thanked me from her window for "Being such a good dog owner" for picking up Max's poop in front of her. Fine. A little condescending but fine. Then I said I was from NYC and I was used to having to pick it up so it was 2nd nature and not a problem to me. We got into the basic, "Oh, you drove from NY" talk, which was interrupted by the dreaded "But how are YOU paying for this?" (which can feel like a double standard question depending on who it is coming from and how it is said.)
I explained and she took off on "I know you... You are a liberal from New York and belong to a city union and are taking advantage of that to go on a long trip".
I set her straight that I didn't live in distressed neighborhoods while I had good jobs for nothing. This is my payoff.
My response "He's OK, and you have to remember what he was handed to begin to measure him."
She came back with: "Do you believe in or follow Black Liberation Theology"
At first I though, "WTF is that?!? And who the hell do you think you are talking to?!?." Then I realized that it tied into her quickly mentioning Rev. Wright. At this point, I was ready to explode; Laughter, Disgust and Offended. In hindsight I should had said "Hey, you are white. Doesn't that make you a Klan Member? What White Power gang are you guys affiliated with? How many crosses did YOU GUYS burn last year?"
This story, I realize, is in direct opposition to the cool feeling I get when I deal with folks like Dai, here at the gas station. I read him but didn't go negative on him and we shared a brief but common moment of coolness along the lines of "Hey, someone from very far away recognizes things about me that are important positive identifiers of me as an individual."
I have someone that just parked next to me that I'm going to go check out (they are lingering way too long). I'll try to blog tomorrow and fill in the last missing month.
See the map below for my progress up until a few days ago.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry