Written at Rancho La Puerta, October the Third, 2018. (Somebody special’s birthday.)
I write this, surrounded by spiritual mountains. On my last trip here, when my granddaughter accelerated her arrival and was born six weeks early the day after I got home, the mountain’s “House (invisible, but to me) Mariachi Band” sang me an encouraging song, assuring me not to worry that went (in part),
“She’s on her way,
They’re gonna have a little baby,
They’re gonna call her Golda, maybe,
She’ll be okay.”
And as it turned out, they wound up calling her Golda, and she was – and is – robustly okay.
So there is definitely mystical craziness around here. “Skeptics Unwelcome.” That is simply the way it is.
Also on my previous visit about ten months ago, if you’ll recall, I had requested a casita (an individual cabin, as are all the accommodations at the Ranch) conveniently located near the Main Lounge, and had been fortunate to receive one.
Unfortunately, as I discovered when I arrived, the Main Lounge was under serious re-construction and my “conveniently located” strategy went immediately out the window. (Introducing of an interesting “wrinkle” to “irony”: You get what you want, minus the precise reason you wanted it.)
Understandably, therefore, upon my arrival for this visit – and once again receiving the “conveniently located” casita, I wanted immediately to check out the new and improved “Main Lounge”, which, I’d been told, had taken four months to refurbish.
Before even unpacking, I proceed the conveniently short distance to the Ranch’s nearby Main Lounge location. From the outside, it is a little disappointing.
It does not look at all different.
I step inside… and here things get eeIily, “Doo-doo-doo-doo.” (Twilight Zone theme song.)
I head into the main room, I sit down, I look around, searching for the upgrading adjustments…
And I cannot see…
The Main Lounge looks exactly the same.
I mean exactly. Nothing at all has been altered. Same layout. The doors, the fireplace, the windows – all in the same place. They’d even retained the adjacent room’s closeted "Phone Booths”, where I used to call home. Why did they keep those? Even I have a cellphone. Who sits in a booth to call home?
The place felt curiously bizarre, being the duplicate image of its earlier incarnation. If there were a ranch contest called, “What’s changed?”, the “Trick Question” winner would be, “Nothing at all.”
This was an alien planet, that looked exactly like Earth.
Four months of constant construction?
And we get the old lounge’s identical twin?
What a confident building!
ARCHITECT: “Any suggestions?”
CONFIDENT BUILDING: “Yes. Take pictures of the current arrangement. And then, copy those pictures.”
Can you believe that? Imagine you had to the opportunity for a “do-over” of yourself. Would you really change nothing?”
“Better eyes, and considerably more muscles.”
That’s the minimum I would ask for. And given time, they would definitely be more.
But this place…
“I am perfect the way I am. Hit me, again. Exactly the same.”
I had heard that the lounge’s most serious issue was fixing the roof. Could it be that that’s all that they did? I don’t think so. We just had a new roof put on our house. It took two-and-a-half weeks! And our house is considerably bigger than the lounge.
We’re talking four months of construction! They had to make more changes than that. But if they did…
Where were they?
Like a bad actor going, “Am I dreaming?”, I kept showily rubbing my eyes. Could nobody else see what I saw… which was nothing? I felt like the kid in the Hans Christian Andersen story, beholding the “Emperor’s New Lounge.”
“Isn’t it beautiful?”
I have been here 37 times. I know how this place works. So I’m wondering, is this just some mystical “Ranch Magic”?
There could be this beautiful new lounge. And somehow, mysteriously,
I am still seeing the old one.