I am currently in Calistoga with my companion, who is a bit self-conscious about his recurring role in this blog. “People can figure out who I am.”
“Only the people who really know you,” said I, and quoted a friend of mine who said she admired this blog’s ability to “be specific, yet vague”.
He did not look reassured. It probably didn’t help when a friend of mine and another friend of his started referring to him not by his real name but the pseudonym I use for him.
We decided that for the purposes of this trip I will refer to him as Dude and photograph him only as bits and pieces of body parts or Anonymous Walking Figure Glimpsed from Discreet Angles.
This is only the second time I’ve been out of Los Angeles in about a year, so I was ready. I had agreed to write a zombie story for “the ultimate zombie anthology” as edited by one John Skipp, and I like the idea of incorporating zombies and vineyards and Napa Valley in some way.
Dude and I started out in San Francisco, where I slept like I haven’t slept in I can’t remember how long. I am a night owl, and my older sons wake me like clockwork at 6:30 every morning, and so now even when they’re at their father’s I am unable to sleep past 7. As a general habit I don’t mind this — too much to do and too little time — but there’s at least one person in my life who, every time I see him, pointedly asks how many hours I got the night before and lectures on the importance of Enough Sleep. So I am pleased to report to him that I slept so hard for so long that I woke up groggy and almost killed myself stumbling across Market Street to get my morning Starbucks.
I forgot how much I like SF and made a mental note to get up to the city for a real visit, hopefully in June. Some of my favorite people are in SF, and the city holds amazing memories for me.
Dude and I drove up to Napa Valley and received a private tour and wine tasting at a mountainside vineyard. One of our guides was British and remarked on how Americans “like scores. In this country, wines that receive high scores sell a lot and wines with low scores sell little. In Europe, no one cares about scores, people trust their own tastes and like what they like.” There was also some lamenting about what the movie Sideways did to the industry, laying waste to the poor merlot and elevating pinot noir to new heights. “You can see the effects in vineyards right around here, they took out the merlot and started growing pinot noir. But merlot is coming back. People are coming round.”