Friday, April 15, 2011

California Dreamin'

Last night I spent some time in California. It started with a spring snowboarding trip in the Sierras with some guys, but the details are hazy. I remember looking back up at deep powder tracks in the back country, feeling that wet, clammy sweat that built up on the hike-up starting to chill as the sun was setting and the run was over, and then getting into the car. At the end of the trip we returned to San Francisco, but I needed to get back to Oakland, so I borrowed "my guy friend's older brother's friend's car" (this is how I would later describe it to the police). It was a little beater of a car, but got me on the road.

I went and picked up my friend Vera for some brunch and shoe shopping in the city before heading back to the east bay. I also had my Polaroid camera with me and wanted to take some shots while driving through the city, and conveniently, Grandma was suddenly in the car and offered to drive. Vera and I sat in the back as Grandma drove like a crazy person up and down the hills, scaring the bejezus out of V and me. We started yelling, "Stop! Stop!", but she wasn't stopping due to not being able to hear us over the hum and rattle of the beater.

Finally she stopped at a red light, and Vera and I jumped out of the car so that I could take the wheel, but dementia got the better of grams and she seemed to figure she was just dropping us off, so off she went into the city on her own. Panicked, we set off on foot chasing the speeding granny through the city, shouting, "Stop Driving? Stop Driving!". She looked back, almost seeming to hear, but didn't stop.

That architectural walking tour and that Vera and I took a couple of years ago and the visions of the Maltese Falcon seemed to come back to me, as we followed the routes through the public rooftop gardens feeling a bit Sam Spade, but with Clark Griswold style. At some point I pulled a parkour maneuver off the roof and emerged through a port-a-potty at street level. I shouted to Vera, "I feel like a superhero!", and we laughed.

Vera morphed into my friend Jessica sometime during the chase, and we continued running all over the city. Moments later grandma flies past us in the car, but she is no longer driving she is just ghost riding in the back seat (no driver). She had "stopped driving", taking me literally, but not stopping. Soon, the car came to a halt safely at the bottom of a hill and I caught up to her. Jessica had gone around the corner in case grandma didn't stop and would intercept her at the next corner. But I got to her and got her out of the car and hugged her and hugged her.

Unfortunately, Grandma happened to be wearing a sheriff's uniform for some reason and it attracted the attention of two officers who just had to come and meet this 90-something woman sheriff. I was so flustered, that as I babbled out an incoherent explanation about her dementia and how she was lost and had just been coasting in the car, and that she wasn't really a sheriff, but just liked the outfit, and how that wasn't a real gun in the holster, this just prompted them to search the car for illicit material that could have put me in my state of mind. And then they literally took the car apart, like a cartoon car. Doors, the roof, etc, came off piece by piece. As I fumbled for identification after they found the weed of the "guy friend's older brother's friend" (they always have a stash in their beater cars, right?) Grandma wandered off. Somehow I talked my way out of the whole thing and they let me go find my grandma.

After a bit of a search with no luck I wandered back to Jessica's house (who in real life lives in Oakland, and somehow that's where we were now). As I walked in I was relieved to find Grandma there, just hanging out with Jessica like nothing had ever happened. Jess had found her in the meantime. Whew! I got Grandma up to take her home and as we walked out the door I grabbed and snapped the back of her bra strap and said, "Now, let's go get you a new biscuit holster. I know this one is too tight." Ha!

And that was it. I had a great adventure, got to see some great friends, invented a euphemism for bra, and had closure in a dream for maybe the first time ever. I know exactly where the anxiety that caused this dream came from. Grandma has been getting up on her own while I am out in the yard and it scares me to death that she is going to fall and break her hip. Yesterday I bought a baby monitor that is good to 2000+ feet, so I can take it to the garden with me, so hopefully that will help and I won't have to come back to the house every 5 to 10 minutes for a check-in.

We're falling into some sort of routine. I'd say the honeymoon period is over and reality has set in, but this is good for me. I can't just break-up with her and move on. There's a new sheriff in town; I hope it's good for her.

Thanks for reading.


  1. Oh B,that really made me laugh,freaggin hilarious!
    Loved the 'and got closure' part,rare!
    May i share this?
    You're a great writer.

  2. Thanks V! I'm glad you finally got a chance to read through it all. You were a fun partner in crime that night. :) And yes, of course you may share it. Please do. Glad it made you laugh.