That’s the happiest I was, driving to Cal Poly. I had been chasing pre-mission days of waterballooning cars. I thought the neighborhood was full of ghosts, now gone and married, with short hair. I never saw them again.
I was the 40-year-old virgin, like the movie posters. She was just the latest girl I told Tyson and Quinn about.
She told me they were entertaining.
“Harrison Ford! Quinn, do the boy scout thing from Clear and Present Danger, the one where-“
“-Jack, computer theft is a serious crime.”
“So are crimes against the constitution. You’re going to jail, pal, you broke the law.”
“You are such a boy scout! You see everything in black and white!”
“No no no! Not black and white Ritter, right and wrong! I didn’t sign up for this. Who authorized this, Cutter?”
“Cutter couldn’t tie his shoes without permission.”
“If I go down, you’re coming with me!”
“Wrong again. I have an autographed get-out-of-jail-free card-
‘The President of the United States authorizes deputy Director of the CIA Robert Ritter to conduct ‘Operation Reciprocity’ including all necessary funding and support. This action is deemed important to the national security of the United States etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
“You don’t have one of these, do you Jack? Gray! The world is gray Jack!”
“Entertaining,” she said.
The Tunnel. “Look, the tunnel Paul Giamatti drives through in Sideways babe, the lights. I go through that tunnel to see you.” It was maybe an hour and fifteen minutes out. She wasn’t as impressed. I loved that drive. The world, north of LA. When you leave that mess, there’s a huge hill I would just coast down in neutral with the ocean on the right. Santa Barbara, and that bridge overhead with those intersecting beams. the beams were so close. At night the oil rigs were way off, about a mile or two out. You could see four or five at a time. Then it got real quiet, and a little greener. It just got better and better. She drove back once, after I went and picked her up. I had trouble sleeping, the way she drove.
I parked her car outside the dorm building after a sorority dance. She was doing the low-carb thing even though she didn’t have to. She was upset that I parallel-parked for her. I realized this after I saw that she was really putting away the low-carb mint chocolate ice-cream. I told her I knew that it was because she could then tell me she was too full to fool around. She just stared at me, with green in the corners of her mouth and the spoon in front of her lips.
Real happy. Maybe nine months or so.
We ate mexican food at Sombreros, but not the one that Blink references in the song. That one is in Carmel Mountain and has a framed Dude Ranch Album on the wall. At the booth in front of us, I swear there were the cutest half-Japanese girls, eating with their mother. They were like 2 and 4 years old. Well, OK, they were half Asian, anyway. We both cried. We got on the freeway, but she got off at the next exit, and went to her parents house.
And then it was the same drive up to see her, except I that I kept going past San Luis Obispo. Bigger trees. More hills. It was greener.Then California got busy again. The frightening battleship graveyard in San Jose. All those rusty warships stranded in shallow water. Then San Francisco on the left, where Dave did his thing and had so much more sex than I did. The spiraling, claustrophobic overpasses in Oakland. Quiet again through Lake Shasta and those huge mountains in Oregon. I couldn’t deny, there was more.