Kage Baker always thought of Mondays as a day of rest. At least, as much rest as could be managed, while going to work or school, to recover from the previous weekend. Her weekends were always intense – Kage threw herself into the thorough enjoyment of days off from routine.
Summers, as a kid and a teenager, she roamed the ridges and valleys of the Hollywood Hills, picking the dusty little bush sunflowers we called “Judy Collins daisies” – because they’re all over the cover of her album Wildflowers. They’re the native California variant of the sunflower, which endeared them to Kage; she was into native and heritage plants long before they became chic. Those little sunflowers can be carried all day in a backpack or tucked into your hair, and still spring up happily when put in a glass of water later. And they smell like strawberry incense.
Kage brought them home from her rambles, along with white and smokey quartz from semi-secret outcroppings on Mt. Hollywood; shards of a distinctively chocolate-brown flint that can be found in the hills above Cahuenga Boulevard; bits of coloured tiles and glass from empty, ruined houses in the hills.
I have boxes full of this sparkly hoard, in storage. She kept as much as she could, and there are bits of fired tile from buildings that are dust under a Hollywood Bowl parking lot in there … all I did was pack them up, when I closed up the house. Someday, when the radiation of the past will not sear me to the bone, I’ll go through those boxes. There were some interesting things in them.
Later in life, for more than 30 years, Mondays were the day we recuperated from a weekend of Faire. Even though we went to work, we were slowed down like fresh-risen zombies. We had the reaction time of a spavined tortoise. Working vocabularies reduced to a couple of dozen phrases from the Employees’ Manual. We were glassy-eyed and all but pointless with exhaustion, heat, travel, hangovers – I have memories that now make me shudder, of Mondays after Faire where I didn’t sober up enough to even be hungover until mid-afternoon. But when you’re young, you can get through a day’s work like that.
By Tuesdays, we were bright-eyed and ready for another adventure. Otherwise, we’d never have survived doing the deadly laundry you accumulate after a weekend at a Renaissance Faire …
But Mondays were for resting. And this Monday, I’m resting up, having somewhere in the past week crossed some new, critical line in stamina. Though I was a good girl and wrote through my whole house-sitting idyll, I then went bounding off to Santa Rosa; stayed up until midnight chatting with my dear friend Neassa, and was off at 8 AM the next morning on the Long Bye-Bye back to Los Angeles. With the aid of iced coffee and Mentos, I made it home in a fine mood and good time.
Then I collapsed. I guess I can no longer spend a couple of days running around like a brain-damaged gazelle, bounding hither and yon. I have to actually stop and sleep, eat something sensible – or, indeed, at all; food was often optional on really interesting weekends. Can’t do that no more. You’d think I had figured that out, but no: the urge to spend days on end awake and dancing; to personally witness 2 or 3 dawns and sunsets in a row; to drive for 7 hours fueled on caffeine and sugar, singing at the top of my lungs, was irresistible.
I consider the experience educational. I’ve learned I can’t do that anymore. I can do parts of it, though. I can spread it over many days, rather than cram an entire alternate universe into one 48-hour span as Kage and I used to do. Best of all, I can write about it afterwards – because if I’m sensible and remember to eat and sleep a bit, I will have the chance to see so many interesting things!
Kage was always more sensible than I was. She knew you had to pace yourself, take some time to rehydrate and rest and find your underwear. Adventures are more fun when you can remember them.
On the other hand … the bed is never so soft as when you fall into it from a great height of speed and glory. Gotta remember that, too.
Tomorrow: the new fiscal year begins, hospitals change all their staff assignments, and your semi-faithful correspondent, Dear Readers, turns 61.