A Second Chance for SoCal
I’m not a Southern California kind of girl. My last visit, other than through LAX, was probably six years ago.
My husband and I developed terrible tastes in our mouths about SoCal. I believe this less-than-favorable impression stemmed from buying a Mercedes my husband hated, having to file a claim with the California Division of Labor Standard Enforcement, and appearing on Judge Joe Brown. Looking back, those six months or so spent in Rancho Palos Verdes were a comedy of errors. We can laugh now, but at the time nothing felt better than being east bound on I 10 in that damned CLK430.
I met Ana, better known as Mrs. O Around the World, through Twitter. We bonded over Rio, caipirinhas, and shoes. It was February and I was about to attend Carnival in Rio; she’d just returned from there in January. We got along famously, and the rest, as they say, is history. Before I knew it, an invitation to meet Mr. and Mrs. O in Palm Springs was extended. I merely mentioned “golf” to my husband and our flights were purchased for Orange County within the hour. Yep, we were headed back to the place that’d given us so much grief. We were giving Southern California another shot.
There are many advantages to my husband’s job, such as the fact that he’s able to accumulate airline miles and hotel points like I do purses. These perks come in mighty handy when it comes to our leisure travel, and we’re able to go more than we would otherwise. Due to the nature of his job, it is difficult to plan. He never knows when he’ll be needed in China, Brazil, Norway, or some other place on the other side of the globe. It’s not like he can say,“Hey, can we put that off for a week or so? I’ve got a vacation planned.” Nope. It just doesn’t work that way. Thus, when Dubai came calling, he had no choice but to answer. Palm Springs be damned.
The flights, villa, and car were pre-paid, and I didn’t want to miss out on a chance to meet Mr. and Mrs. O. After all, they’d come all the way from England, even missing all of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee festivities. Oh, I was going, come hell or high water. A quick tweet to my travel partner in crime, Lola, and I was no longer going to SoCal alone.
I’d replaced the Mercedes for a rented Camry, but I was again on I 10 traveling east. It was the same highway, but the purpose of the trip was much different. Six years earlier I was fleeing a place that I loathed. This time I 10 was introducing me to new friends and reuniting me with a not-so-new-friend. Butterflies fluttered in my stomach and the excitement brought back memories of a spring break road trip to South Padre Island.
With each mile east, the landscape morphed from green to brown and the air became much drier. Mountains rose from the dirt and giant, white pinwheels checkered the landscape. The wind blew harder and the cars moved faster. Signs of “desert” this and “desert” that flashed by. The skies were a piercing blue and the heat radiated off the pavement.
Bob Hope and Ginger Rogers pointed the way to my new friends and villa. I’d arrived in Palm Springs, and Mr. and Mrs. O were waiting by the pool. It’s as if Southern California knew she was on my bad side, desperately trying to win back my adoration. It wasn’t going to be easy, but I’d give her a second chance.