Final Tally: I had a great time.
But I didn’t love it.
Add that to the “Opaqueness Sweepstakes.”
Okay. Watch this circle. You’re gonna love it.
What made it a great time was that I encountered more people than I do visiting the Ranch as a couple. (Couples invariably only meet couples.) But the reason I didn’t love it – this is somewhat embarrassing, but she’s doesn’t read this so it’s okay – was because I hadn’t visited the Ranch as a couple.
You see how that goes? I’d have loved it more if I’d have come as a couple, but I’d have encountered less people, and encountering more people is what made me have such a great time.
Conclusion: I’d have loved it more if I’d had less of a great time.
Did your brain just explode? Mine did. All over my stand-up desk!
The reason I know I had a great time was not just because of the conventional elements – the magnificent setting featuring the luminous Mount Cuchuma, the congenial company who enjoyed my stories, like the one about the venerable Indian living on the premises who announced he would reveal “The Secret of Life.” But when the time arrived for his awaited presentation – which required us to skip lunch, no minor sacrifice in a “No snacking” environment – we were informed that “Chief Silver Raven” had dropped a rock on his foot and was heading for San Diego for x-rays. Costing us the chance to learn “The Secret of Life” – and lunch.
Throw in the fact that the primary reason for my trip was because my pants didn’t fit, and now – an encouraging indicator – they almost do.
But also in the mix, some disturbing stuff happened – nitpicky and serious – and I still had a great time. That’s how you know you had a great time. The unwelcome stuff can’t ruin it.
By now, you’ve heard this first one more times than you’d understandably like to:
After my requested “ranchera” close to the lounge was ultimately granted, I discover that they had closed the lounge for repairs, and had arranged a “temporary lounge”… not close to my “ranchera.”
An added misfortune was that, cordoning off the lounge “work venue” for safety purposes, they had also roped off the adjacent hammocks, chopping my scheduled activities by a third, down to “Men’s Nap” and “Men’s Bath.”
The cramped “temporary lounge” demanded library-like silence. So when I downloaded the YouTube broadcast of Woody Allen’s masterful AFI tribute to Diane Keaton, his words and my eruptive guffaws drew immediate rebuke, which would have imaginably increased substantially had they been aware that the source of my comedic convulsions was Woody Allen.
And that’s just stuff about the lounge.
Furthermore, in no organized order…
A good friend of mine lost his job… in the United States Senate.
My expensive hairbrush disappeared and, leaving me disheveled “Crazy Hair” from Tuesday evening until Saturday.
Wildfires ravaged many areas of California, one of them within “gusting distance” of our Santa Monica home.
I received tangible evidence I was indeed approaching seventy-three when the doable “Morning Hikes” became demonstrably less doable.
And then there was this one.
While I was away, my daughter Anna, scheduled to deliver her baby in seven weeks, after a worrisome Sonogram, was now scheduled to deliver in three weeks, and after a subsequent examination, the delivery was re-scheduled for three days. (The day after I get home.)
I know, right?
How dare they impinge on my restful vacation!
So you know… all that happened.
But then, this happened.
I wake up Saturday morning, “Getaway Day.” My packed suitcase is sitting outside, awaiting “pick-up”, and I am off to an early breakfast before my departure,
Suddenly, as if on cue, my invisible Mariachi Band dotting the ridge of the sacred mountain, bursts melodically to life.
I am scared. I am nervous. And I am alone. And here’s their latest spirited release, proclaiming our approaching “blessed event.”
Classic Mariachi-style rhythm and harmony:
(The bandleader’s “countdown”)
(Boom bada boom boom boom)
They’re gonna have a little baby
(Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom.)
They’re gonna call her Golda, maybe
(Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom.)
(Bada beeda beeda beeda bum.)
It’s going to be a young muchacha
She’s gonna learn to do the cha-cha. (These are not professional songwriters)
Buoyed by this bolstering musical message I board the returning bus, heading off to the hospital.
But with hope.
You see why I like that place?
That would never have happened if I were leaving Las Vegas.
(Like she’d allow me to visit Las Vegas alone.)