One of the things Sean does that makes me love him more than I already do is this: when I'm angry and stressed and frustrated about something, he offers me his index finger---just his finger, not the whole hand, oh, I've made that mistake before---and tells me to squeeze. Have you ever squeezed someone's index finger while angry and stressed and frustrated? It's remarkably therapeutic. And the best part is that it's relatively impossible to inflict any damage on a person's index finger merely by squeezing, so you can squeeze as long and as hard as you want until you're spent and exhausted and feeling more than a little silly. It sure beats the hell out of punching a wall.
Needless to say, there was a lot of index finger-squeezing going on in a back booth of the LAX Chilis last night---oh, trust me, there was nowhere else---as we miserably waited out a four-hour flight delay for a journey that, had we just driven it, would have taken around six hours. I don't think I've been in a Chilis in about eleven years, and I was shocked to see how generous they were with the diet coke refills. Is that standard practice, do you think, to bring over another pint glass of highly caffeinated soda as soon as the first pint glass of highly caffeinated soda reaches the halfway point? Because wow, a person could really get in trouble like that. I mean, in so many ways! (It really isn't a good idea, for instance, to drink enough soda to kill a horse before stepping inside a flying metal tube with limited restroom facilities, don't you think?) (Yeah, I think.)
My head hit the pillow back in our apartment in San Francisco just short of 2am Monday morning, which meant that I spent the whole of the next day sleepwalking through the office in an unmatched outfit with unbrushed hair, eating most meals from the office candy bowl because it seemed like a good idea at the time. I...uh...don't deal with lack of sleep particularly well, you know, and sometimes I wonder, in fact, how I'm ever going to be able to have a child one day, or at least have a child and function. They take a lot of sleep from you, the children, or so I've heard. And I bet you can't even write them a strongly-worded letter addressing their abhorrent customer service either, can you?
Backing up, though, we had a marvelous weekend in L.A. and Orange County and yes, well, of course you'd have a marvelous weekend, wouldn't you, if you got to eat something like this:
That's a Diddy Riese ice cream cookie sandwich by the way ($1.50! Bargain of the century!) and it's white chocolate chip macadamia on one side, chocolate chip walnut on the other, espresso chip ice cream in the middle. I recently confessed a short list of my life's regrets to Sarah Brown in response to a post she wrote on the subject, and now I'm wondering if I shouldn't perhaps go back and amend that list to add one more: SHOULD HAVE GOT MY OWN ICE CREAM SANDWICH THAT ONE TIME, INSTEAD OF INSISTING TO SEAN THAT WE SHARE. Screw not applying to Oxford; that was my real mistake.
We spent the morning in Los Angeles, which meant that we flaked around enough to screw up any chance of the tentative meet-ups we'd planned with Y and Whoorl---Me: "hi, can we meet between the hours of two and three?" Them: "Uh, it's two o'clock now,"---before arriving in sunny Huntington Beach to spend the rest of the weekend with my dad, whose suitcase when he arrived was stuffed to bursting with treats sent over by my mum, and whose suitcase when he left was stuffed to bursting with back issues of Us Weekly I wanted him to pass on to my sister. (My poor father! He is like a drug mule, but instead of drugs, he carries contraband teabags and gossip magazines across borders.)
We had an absolutely glorious time, the three of us, eating and drinking and shopping (well, that was just me, the person who bought THREE GREEN DRESSES, I'm not sure why) and walking along the pier in the sunshine, soaking up the sun and the salty air and eating this delicious frozen yogurt with fresh raspberries and blueberries on top, the type of delicious frozen yogurt that just tastes like California, healthy and bad for you all at the same time.
Leaving on Sunday evening was quite the downer, of course---and this was before we even knew about the four-hour flight delay---and waving goodbye to my dad in the hotel parking lot, I had a sudden, sharp flashback to many Sunday evenings of my youth, when he'd drive me back to school for the week ahead, and I'd be waving goodbye with this horrible pit in my stomach, a veteran of goodbyes by that point, of course, but still no better equipped to deal with them.
But then, to cheer myself up, I thought about the fact that soon---in a year or so, perhaps---my parents will actually living in the same country as me again, if not the same state (imagine the luxury of being in the same time zone! Just imagine!) and while these goodbyes might be more frequent then, it'll only be because we see each other more often. And even though I'm 28 and should, by all rights, be independent enough not to care, I am not afraid to admit that I am looking forward to this---this finally having my parents within a few hours reach---more and more with every passing day.
Plus, as the car was pulling away and I was craning my head out of the window, waving and waving and waving, I also thought about how it wasn't exactly like the Sunday evenings of my youth because at least I didn't have to rush upstairs to my dorm as soon as I've waved goodbye to my dad and tackle the French homework I'd neglected to do all weekend because I'd been too busy watching Party of Five. And, you know, that made me feel a bit happier, too.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, by the way, for the absolutely amazing Chicago suggestions you were all kind enough to contribute, both in the comments section and by email. (And if you emailed, I'm so sorry I haven't written back to you yet to thank you personally for your lovely long lists of ideas. My mother will be apalled!) I am slowly putting together an itinerary for our trip there later this week, and my only problem is that I think we should have scheduled four months there, rather than four days. Our daytrip on the Saturday, by the way, is going to be into Michigan: to Holland, Saugatuck, and maybe even Kalamazoo for some thrifting. Honestly, Wisconsin would have been great, but the lure of driving through Gary, Indiana---NOW I JUST HAVE TO KNOW WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE---was really just too good to pass up.