Kage Baker loved 3-day weekends. And really – who does not? It’s like a snow day for grownups, but you don’t have to pay it back. But Kage loved ’em even after she had left the pink collar ghetto to work at home. The glee of that extra day just never wore off.
Also, when you live in a holiday town – as we did for years – three day weekends always assume the aspect of a broad-spectrum festival. The ordinary weekend tourists are thicker, more crazed, dazed and amazed. Merchants stay open later, the sidewalks are crowded, the beach is a festive field of holes and sand castles. People walk around with ice cream cones. There are banners, and the bars leave their doors open so music spills out; and people are lined up at the takeout windows, visibly jonesing for barbecue and clam strips and kebobs and chow mien and cheese pizza slices.
In good years, we usually had a nice assortment of friends and family camped out in the back yard. The Fourth of July was most crowded, but Presidents Day usually drew a nice lot of refugees, too. Our tiny cottage was crammed with loved ones, and it was bliss.
Even when no one came to visit, Kage was in bliss – writer’s bliss, where the time meant nothing and the hours flew away as she fell through the magic portal of her monitor screen into the worlds inside her head. When that happened, the characters tended to come out and relax in our living room; Kage’s invention would spread like the tide running up the beach and the story would fill our house. Prose became performance and the narrative got tangled up in our daily life; meals were based on what Lord Ermenwyr liked, or Mendoza’s favourite torta recipe, or things Kage invented to be representative of the cuisines of the yendri or the Children of the Sun …
I swear I have shared home-made egg rolls with Dread Gard – though Kage left out the caustic oils that the Sun-born favoured. I’ve shared sardines in severely deformed tortillas (in the absence of a tortilla press, Kage put my vintage Grey’s Anatomy on top of them and jumped up and down) with Edward Alton Bell-Fairfax. All Kage’s worlds were plotted out over meals, around fires, while ferrying pancakes from the stove stop to the plate; the eccentric physiologies of The Magnificent Variable Erdway and the Company Operatives were plotted at picnic tables in a dozen turn-offs above Highway 1.
While eating Funyums and drinking Mr. Pibb.
The diet and the rigours of this kind of adventure would likely kill me at the moment. Still … I think I’ll pack a couple of out-of-season Chilean lemon plums and a nice bottle of filtered water, and drive up into Griffith Park. Maybe round some curve under the sea-foam walls of the Observatory I’ll come up on a red-haired girl walking hand in hand with a Very Tall Person.
It’s worth a try. It’s a three-day weekend.