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The Left Coast

San Simeon, CA—Today’s drive was by far the prettiest of the trip so far. If I could, I’d take it out to dinner and a movie. I’d bring it home to meet my parents. I’d buy it a blood diamond and audition wedding DJs with it. We’d honeymoon at Disneyland, put a down payment on a mortgage in a Toll Brothers gated community, and have cute disagreements over paint chips. We’d have three kids named after our favorite movie villains who would each play one musical instrument and two seasonal sports at our insistence. We’d shed tears of pride when our youngest child was presented with her MD. I’d tenderly hold the drive’s wrinkled hand as the motorized chairs on our front porch gently rocked us into twilight.

But I wouldn’t photograph it. No, sir. I wouldn’t want to make it uncomfortable.

The day began with a nice breakfast with my cousin Rachel, which led to a visit to Santa Monica Pier, which led to a Los Angeles exodus via the Pacific Coast Highway. A glorious drive up the coast followed, with nearly every moment finding us surrounded by some combination of postcard mountains, beaches, and vast, sparkling ocean. As the city became more distant, the view was extended with the slow dissipation of the smog.

We stopped in Santa Barbara to have a look around and get some lunch. There is a Sliders episode concerning an idyllic beach community which secretly feeds people to giant underground worms and consumes the worms’ subsequent secretions to achieve eternal youth. I got the impression the people of Santa Barbara harbor a similar dark secret, and the key to the mystery lies somewhere in the lack of public toilets. I had to ask six different people to trade me a quarter for a dime and three nickels so I could use a McDonald’s bathroom five blocks from the unaccommodating pizza place that fed us. Maybe that new X-Files movie is actually a documentary about Santa Barbara.

The day ended in a creepy Motel 6 with paper walls, which should contrast nicely with the obscene opulence we expect to observe at tomorrow’s regal destination.