Many days in the life, from Fresno to Spartanburg.
HERE I AM UP in the air high above California. I am in a tiny little Embraer regional aircraft flown by American Eagle. In the row ahead of me is a woman with a small child who is crying as if the devil was coming after her. But I mean really, really, SCREAMING. Like a madwoman. Or a mad child. Just going crazy. The mother, a psycho with tattoos and a T-shirt that says, in Magic Marker, “GO AHEAD AND STARE!” has no clue about how to quiet a crying baby. She is not offering her food, milk, soothing, nothing. She told me she and her daughter had been flying all day from Ft. Lauderdale and had missed a flight and the daughter was exhausted. Also, the daughter is sneezing and coughing. I am just a few inches away from this tyke.
Naturally, about 10 minutes before landing in Fresno, the kid fell into a deep sleep. The mother apologized to me. “I hope it didn’t bother you too much,” said the witch. What? How on earth could it not have bothered me to have a wildly screaming baby in front of me?
However, in my new calm incarnation, I just thought, there is a lesson here. The kid was obviously exhausted. None of us should allow ourselves to get too exhausted, or otherwise our inner baby starts to shriek in fear or anger or depression.
Off in a nice little Town Car to my Hilton Homewood Suites Hotel in Fresno. Not my usual. No room service. But they did bring me a toaster, a loaf of bread, butter, and orange juice, so I am happy. I got a driver to take me over to the International House of Pancakes. I had dinner with my old pal, the beautiful Tami, and her sweet little daughter, Savannah Suzieray. Good pancakes. Good orange juice.
Then we met Tami’s parents, lovely fine people. Then I watched Tropic Thunder in my hotel room, and then to bed. Come to think, I like this Hilton. It is quiet and the bed is comfy and I like my toaster a lot.
OFF FOR LUNCH AT Marie Callender’s at a shopping center in Fresno. My companions were Tami and Savannah Suzieray. I had never been to Marie Callender’s. I had turkey and stuffing. It was amazingly good and very cheap. This will be a new destination for my eating pleasure.
Then a very short nap and off to speak at Fresno State. I had a short meeting with some sweet, smart young students, all of whom seem to want to do good works and work for government or the nonprofit sector. (I guess the whole economy is a nonprofit sector now.) Then a reception with a group of faculty, administrators, and donors. I talked to each of them. Many of them talked about what a terrible water shortage the growers of California face. It is terrifying. I think they should be having major desalination of ocean water, but apparently that’s very expensive. But, still, I guess it will eventually have to happen.
California without water is just a temperate wasteland. Desalination or desalinization seems an inevitable part of life for California. Anyway, the people at Fresno were just delightful. Fresno is basically a small farming city and has friendly, small-town qualities. I liked it a lot, but then I rarely go to any part of America I dislike.
My speech went very well, and the kids were delightful. There were many questions, ranging from serious issues about bank capitalization to whether pot should be legalized to help the California budget deficit. (My view: no. It is way too powerful to be legalized. But then, come to think of it, so is gin.)
Then, off in the Lincoln Town Car, driven by my trusted driver, Milky Imtaz of Bangladesh. That car is my real home. We headed back to L.A. Three and a half hours through the night. I slept the whole way. I love sleeping in a moving car more than sleeping in bed.
Then home, a kiss on my sleeping wife’s lips, a long swim, and then a sleep in my bed with my beloved dogs, Brigid and Cleo.
This is my life. I love it. I do not want to catch that kid’s cold though. Or TB, or whatever it is. I actually just want to sleep.
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