“I’ve been thinking about you all week,” Barbara said. “I was gonna call you. ‘Cause what’s up with that, right?”
That would have been the same week I was thinking about her ‘cause I want to stay in her palatial mansion in Piedmont next week when I materialize in the Bay Area.
I’d been putting off and putting off calling her.
I don’t know why.
I absolutely knew there would be no issue whatsoever about staying at her house.
I guess I just really, really hate talking to people on the phone.
Although God knows, I’ve been doing a lot of it lately.
Barbara was my best friend in nursing school.
My running partner.
Also my runaway partner because, periodically, we would pile into her ancient, battered 1962 Porsche and drive eight hours to some outpost in the Los Padres National Forest where we would hike for three hours before piling back into her Porsche to drive eight hours back to the Bay Area.
We could not have been more unalike.
Back then, I was even louder and brasher and more hyperkinetic than I am today. Also much, much bossier: I loved telling people what to do! I was pretty good at it, too, because horrifying childhoods create the kind of hypervigilism that’s really good at identifying everything people are doing wrong in their lives.
Barbara was silent. As though those great wings of chestnut hair were a type of fog, a magical mist that hid her like the heat distortions of a mirage. She had—still has—this incredibly otherworldly quality. In my mind, she was Tess of the D’Urbevilles, and indeed, she is the scion of a famous San Francisco pioneering family that made its fortune with the boats that ferried passengers to and from San Francisco and the East Bay and the little islands dotting San Francisco Bay, which in those days—the late 19th century—were inhabited.
They owned a lot of real estate in San Francisco and Sonoma County.
These days, the only property that’s left is The Petrified Forest outside Calistoga. Home to the largest petrified trees in the world!
I still remember the first time Barbara took me up to her family home in Santa Rosa.
It was this huge, dilapidated Spanish-style house with an enormous swimming pool, filled with murky water on which dead leaves floated, with this fleet of rusting Mercedes lining the driveway.
Barbara had four sisters, each more beautiful and fucked up than the last.
As the oldest, it fell to Barbara to be their caretaker. Their Cinderella.
These days, Barbara doesn’t talk to the sisters.
“Oh, Patrizia,” she said. “Life is too short. All I want is to be happy in the time I have left. You know?”
When I first knew her, Barbara was the most beautiful woman I had ever met. She looked just like Ingrid Bergman.
She’s still striking.
But, you know.
Barbara is actually going to be in Belize for the first week I’m in CA, so I’ll be the solo occupant of the palatial Piedmont mansion.
The accommodations are looking like this:
Nov 19: AirBnB
Nov 20-Nov 24: Barbara’s
Nov 25-Nov 26: Mendocino (Eleanor H)
Nov 27-Nov 28: Eleanor B
It’s all coming together.
Yesterday, also, I had a bizarre thing happen: For a four-hour period, my phone stopped making phone calls. Max tried to call me, and then RTT tried to call me. Neither call went through. Then I tried to call them and got that weird beep-beep-beep. I did every software reset imaginable, no luck, so I figured it either had to be a carrier issue or a hardware issue. But I could text just fine without WiFi.
My carrier is AT&T, which has the worst customer service you can possibly imagine plus they’re shutting down FilmStruck. So, you know: Fuck AT&T.
If it was a hardware issue, I was gonna replace the phone. Which I’ve had for a really long time. Little Megan had an iPhone 8 Plus that I absolutely fell in love with, coveted and craved with every quark and lepton of my soul. But how could I justify spending mega-$$$$$ on a phone, right? Especially since the phone I had worked perfectly fine.
But if my phone was broken…
As I was on my way to the AT&T store, the phone rang!
I am still fantasizing about that iPhone 8 plus, though.
I take a lot of pictures. A lot of pictures.
And the camera on my present phone is not great: Even with Photoshop post-production, the pictures I take never turn out the way I see those images in my mind.
I would like to be able to take the photographs I see.
In other Little Megan news, the club she and her sisters hang out in when they’re home with their parents in Thousand Oaks got shot up last night by one of those anonymous, incel, black-trench-coated guys. Twelve dead. More supposed to be dead soon.
I imagine this will be the incident that shatters Little Megan’s innocence.
America, America, America.
Something’s got to change.
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