I'm writing this today, which is actually tomorrow, but all concerned events happened on the correct date, so deal with it.

I need a sunburn, I need a raincoat

The day began with the alarm going off at 9am as usual. And not after that, because the power decided that was a convenient time to go off for roughly 6 hours. Turns out the local electric utility saw fit to work on my power that day. Whatever. It wasn't a work day (I work modified third watch, phase two, which runs me 11am-9pm sat-wed one week and mon-wed the next), but I had reserved the morning for a heart-warming trip to everyones favorite monument to government slowness, the DMV. See, I called them a week or so ago, and told me I had a mere 10 days to register my 2002 Volkswagen Jetta, so I made an appointment, not because I was in a hurry, but because I wanted to laugh at the immense line of poor saps that didn't. I got to wait in line for roughly 20 minutes before being informed that, no, they would mail me something, because I have 90 days to register a new car, and the 10 days is for used cars. Thanks, unknown DMV operator.

From there, it was off to pick up my sister, and take her to get the tires rotated and a nail removed on our classy 1991 Ford Taurus (most famous, of course, for being the same car that late-night king Conan O'Brien drives), that, thank God, I don't have to drive anymore. I realized at that point that she was the first vagina to ride in my car. (For some reason I find it funny to consider the fact that when 10 girls are in a room, there are 10 boxes, or 10 penises for guys. Do I have a weird fixation or problem or something like that? Oh yeah.) Kinda pathetic. Whatever.

It was at some point (I think around 11:30) that I realized I didn't want to be at home for the rest of the day. Or at all. So it was time to plan yet another road trip to take my Green Machine on. I decided on the beach for purely arbitrary reasons. Mostly because I haven't been there in years, despite living only 70 or 80 miles from it, as the crow flies. I didn't really want to take the normal interstate route, so I chose Highway 4, which runs from my hometown to almost the coast, and through a few switchbacks can take me over to the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1). I chose Red Rock Beach, a fairly highly rated beach, for A) Tan maintenance and B) fewer trendy people to note the fact that I am overweight. So I grabbed my towel, a change of clothes, a map, and extra batteries for my portable CD player (Note: If you ever want something to stand out in a brand new car, get one of those.) and headed out.

The basic idea is to get to highway 4, make a right, and keep heading west. It was a nice drive. Lots of farmland, not too much traffic, at least not traffic that I couldn't pass. It was 2-lane for most of the way, but got way up when it met up with some more major highways. It took me about 2.5 hours to get over to highway one... it would have probably saved some time to go through San Francisco, which is the way most people go, but it was more fun this way.

A note to anyone who wants to try out their new sport suspension: Drive on the Pacific Coast Highway. It's curvy as fuck. It was about a 20 minute drive to the trailhead. Apparently the fine folks who designed the road didn't believe it guardrails, which I found odd, because of all the places I've driven, I'd think the edge of a cliff with a 1,000+ foot drop to jagged rocks, undertows, and shark infested water would be an ideal place. But they don't pay me to think. Or at all. Anyhoo, I parked the machine, got my towel and change of clothes (jeans in case there was poison oak on the trail). And, after a little difficulty, found the trail (it happened to be tucked behind some road construction, which made it a little hard to find). It was about a 10 minute climb down what felt like the face of a cliff, but was actually a switchback over several riverbeds that drain in to the Pacific Ocean. Parts of the trail had washed out, but most of it was either intact or bypassed.

The beach itself was pretty deserted. There were 5 or 6 other sunbathers joining me. I picked my spot, laid out my towel, and finally enjoyed the fruits of my labor. I let the tan set in for about an hour and headed back up the trail, as the tide was coming in and the wind was too, blowing sand like nobody's business, certainly not mine. I got back to my car, only to find that road construction had closed the road the way I had came. Lucky for me, there was an overland bypass that I took. I got back to the highway and decided to go through San Francisco, which meant over the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge.

As I drove through the city (the highway turns into city streets for a while) it occured to me that my old friend, old flame, and cause for many a nights of sorrow and many a day of pensiveness Kim, is attending the University of San Francisco and keeps asking me to visit her. For reasons that are simply to longwinded to go into now, I have been avoiding that, but I figured now was as good a time as any. Lucky for me my sense of direction is fairly good, and after about 45 minutes of aimless driving, I found the campus.

And I get no answers, and I don't get no change: It's raining in baltimore baby, everything else is the same

I found a parking spot, and headed to her building. I stopped short outside the building, as every reason I have ever felt less than affectionate or warm towards her came flooding back. I turned around and rested against a trash can outside. Three girls came out for a smoke, discussing the nothings of a classic existence. As their nicotine scent drifted to me, my mind became a flood of everything we had been, how she pulled me out of an intensely dark place in my life, but ultimately to a place that I neither needed nor wanted to be. The wind picked up and wrapped it's cold tendrils around my legs as if to punctuate exactly how I was feeling then: cold and adrift. So I decided to do what I always do when I feel lost. Find a piano and play it. I found one in the corner of the lounge on the bottom floor of her building. I didn't know what to play, but ended up with my own acoustic version of Counting Crows' "Raining in Baltimore", which just seemed all to appropriate at that point.

You get what you pay for, but I just had no intention of living this way

I walked out, half intending to leave but ended up at the cafeteria, got a cup of cherry coke, which just seemed to make me colder than I already was. They were out of straws. I ended up back in front of her building. I didn't want to go in, but I didn't want to leave. So I called her. She sounded happy enough to see me, which I guess was good. I told her I was downstairs, and she didn't believe me for about a minute. Finally she came running down and practically knocked me over with a hug, screaming in my ear about how happy she was to see me. As cold and tired as I was, I couldn't get the smile off my face or keep my face from burying itself in the right crook of her neck, where it always just feels like it belongs. She brought me to her room, we caught up... well more like she caught up. I don't enjoy talking about myself or my life, and most people don't enjoy hearing it, so we have a nice understanding. I met all her important people, it was nice. I didn't tell her why I was there, just mentioned I was in the neighborhood. We hung out for about an hour, and then she had a sorority function to go to, so we said our goodbyes. I was glad I went, and it didn't hurt like I thought it would. I guess I let her go a while ago, and never let myself know.

If you ever get a chance to see San Francisco at night, do it, it's beautiful.