Kage Baker always worried about being benighted on the road home from Fair. Especially if the weather looked bad.
We drove a lot of nights down I-5 with lightning flashing continuously to the east across the width of the San Joaquin Valley. It was like skirting the edge of a huge holodeck, close enough to see where the special effects kicked in. She always worried the storms would sweep west and catch us, like the ghost of the inland sea the Valley once was.
So when I woke up this morning in Vallejo and found it was pouring rain, I called a personal rain-out. I decided to display a rare moment of common sense, and head home by daylight before the rain could spread all the way to Los Angeles. I loaded up my luggage, my parrot and my nephew and we headed home.
The wonderful friends who open their house to me during Fair live in a magical part of Vallejo: near their house is, on one lot, a gas station AND a McDonald’s AND a mini-market AND a drive-through Starbuck’s. It was probably Kage’s favourite comfort stop in the entire state;. One can get anything one needs there, and a wide variety of things (mostly chocolate) that one has never imagined one needed but which one desires as soon as one lays eyes on them …
We ran through rain half way to Los Angeles, and just before it the rest of the way. Now the wind is rising, and it’s clear the storm has followed us over the Grapevine. Had we stayed, I would be somewhere near Gustine about now – searching the darkness through the rain for the glowing arms of the Pea Soup Anderson’s windmill, and cursing the windshield wipers I forgot to change last week.
Instead, I’m home in the warm and dry, the parrot is grooming on his perch and all is well with the world. I can imagine Kage saying, “Told you so,” and actually sounding pleased instead of disapproving: since I’m not, after all, upside down in a wet ditch off the I-5.
Comfort and self-satisfaction.
Tomorrow: more about I-5 and Dickens Fair.