July 29 - August 6, 2004
-- Raise your eyes to the symbols of Los Angeles: the nation,
the state, the sign, the palm tree, the shopping mall, Will Smith ...
Sometimes the best vacations are the ones you least expect.
As the story goes, it came to my attention that two of my friends from Feeding Hills were planning a trip out to Los Angeles. They were going to visit a third friend of mine, who was working an internship at Boeing where he was legitimately doing things he could not tell us for fear of death and/or capitalism. The three of them had previously gone on a week's vacation to Maine together, which I knew had involved whitewater rafting and hiking, but only later learned also involved lots of peppered bacon and the sandblasting of a car's interior to remove the smell of farts.
Now, many of you understand I've developed a soft spot for Southern California. Without getting into specifics -- there's plenty of time for that, believe you me -- I decided I had to somehow get myself involved with this trip. I had an extra week's vacation in the bank, and really, I wasn't looking to spend it in Feeding Hills pretending I was adopted. So, I did what any good friend would do.
I invited myself on the trip.
And it actually worked!
And now, since I'm sick of not identifying anyone by their real names ...
-- At the Yard House in Irvine, Orange County, holding far too much beer are ...
Erik, future member of the Massachusetts State Police;
Mario, future millionaire who I will leech off of until beaten;
Erin, Mario's girlfriend and, um, a New Yorker;
and Jim, who vomited seven slices of pizza on my kitchen floor when we were in kindergarten.
Technically I'm also there, but since there's like four pictures of me from the whole trip, let's just call me that tumor-like dinner roll next to the French Onion soup in the foreground.
-- It's a better choice than the phonebooth shot on the Queen Mary.
And oh yes, I mustn't forget this.
While we were in the process of booking our flights, I got a call from Mario just checking in on everything and how the planning was going.
I thought it was odd he would call me over Jim or Erik, but it quickly made sense when he told me the following:
In their defense, they didn't really need to be sold on it.
And in my defense, the fact that my two trips to Las Vegas have prominently involved July -- that's a yearly high of 106 degrees on average, thanks very much -- proves once again that I am, in fact, an idiot.
-- Just don't forget that I'm not alone in that.
AOL IM: JonCoochBU