And I Wrote This Book.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

California Dreamin' ~ Dedicated to the Mamas and the Papas, and to California dreamers everywhere


All the leaves are brown and the sky is grey.
“So you’re going to Berzerkeley?” Jim goaded, when I made my big announcement. My spinning brain didn't process his play on words. “Yeah, you’ll have to come visit me,” I responded. I knew it would never happen but wanted to give him one more chance. Jim and I recently worked together. He had asked me on a date a week earlier, but then changed his mind in favor of a concert with some friends. Thus, another disappointing man episode capped my life experiences in L.A. It was alright. I'd have no ties when I'd make my grand escape. Besides, there were bound to be some nice men in the Bay Area, if only of the “woo woo” variety. I wouldn’t be so likely to get dumped for an AC/DC concert. See ya, Jim. Wouldn’t want to be ya. You know, stuck in LA, and all. Sucka!


And the sky is grey.
I went for a walk on a winter’s day.
It’d been one hell of a quarter of a century thus far. With two family members buried side by side in Hillside’s grassy Mount of Olives, and a recent bout of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that limited my activity level for months, I was more than ready. Clenching my acceptance letter from the UC Regents, I looked towards a new life in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I’d be safe and warm -
“You’ll freeze your ass off up there!” they warned. So I shopped for a hundred, give or take 98, winter garments. As I threw some of my raggedy old sweaters into the suitcase, I paused. “Berzerkeley?” What am I getting myself into?

You know, I got down on my knees (got down on my knees)
And I pretend to pray (I pretend to pray)
But what could go wrong? I was escaping the frenzy of a life I was never suited for: the culture of models with their fake tans and blindingly bleached hair; everyone trying to get ahead of everyone else – whether that be in line at Starbuck’s on Rodeo Drive or the women's bathroom at Wendy’s on Venice Beach.

Oh, the preacher likes the cold (preacher likes the cold)
He knows I'm gonna stay (knows I'm gonna stay)
It’s a known fact that people flip each other off fighting for the closest parking space at Bally’s Health Spa in Santa Monica. Hello, all you gorgeous and fit people! Do you not see the irony in this?

Oh, California dreamin' (California dreamin')
LA driving is worth special mention. First, it is necessary to say “the” before any name of a freeway in LA. Thus, there’s the 101, the 405, and too many more. I cannot let go of the damn the before giving directions nowadays. Seems you can take the girl out of LA. But you can’t take the LA driving experience out of her. I only wish.

Oh, California dreamin' (California dreamin')
On such a winter's day (California dreamin')
The last time I drove down for Thanksgiving, I made it to the San Fernando Valley in 4 hours. Then, I was virtually stopped for the last 15 miles. At a standstill, I figured I might make it on time for pumpkin pie. (Well, you know that’s all I drove down for, but that’s not the point here.) My gracious sister-in-law had prepared a scrumptious meal and taught the Engels the courtesy of waiting for dinner guests to arrive (a new concept, especially when I was the guest).

If I didn't tell her (if I didn't tell her) I could leave today (I could leave today)
Back to my escape. I finally landed at my destination, eyeing Oakland’s Lake Merritt. It was a proud moment, so I pulled over to take it all in. What a glorious sight! Shimmering diamond specks dotted an expansive, green lake that oozed serenity. The skyline was less intrusive than any I had ever seen. A few drug stores, banks, and semi-high rise buildings guarded the lake. All was quiet and peaceful. Despite what I’d heard about Oakland, I felt certain the church across the way would assure my safety.

I’d be safe and warm -
Oh, California dreamin' (California dreamin')
Home alas! I made it! Life began again in that moment. Something told me not to look down, though. Perhaps it was my inner cynic lambasting my ecstasy with a bit of reality. I somehow knew that if I peered intently into the water, I might see a dead body. Or two. Or three. So I just kept looking directly ahead, and up.

All the leaves are brown and the sky is grey.
On such a winter's day (California dreamin')
On such a winter's day (California dreamin')

22 comments:

  1. That's a pretty cool way of segmenting. Plus now I've got the song in my head, so thanks. lol

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  2. Thanks TS. I've had the song in my head for a week or so. Thank goodness it's one of the best.
    Cheers,
    Robyn

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  3. i hope bay area has lived up to your expectation so far. i love food there, but i don't think i'll live there (LA, that is) people there are very different and i can't put my finger on what it is.

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  4. I love this song and I love what you did with it. Very poetic in a cool way :)

    I swear I could write one of those "misheard lyrics" books. I always thought it was, "the preacher likes the coast" ha ha ha! Duh!

    Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing

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  5. Nice, very well done..... Love the pic, hate grey skies.....
    Salagatle!

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  6. I concur. Great post / song combination. Ingenious really. Now lets see you do it with Monday, Monday.

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  7. BTW...I gave you a well deserved thanks in my post today. http://jesseacohen.blogspot.com/2010/02/lame-blogger-gives-many-thanks-for.html

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  8. WOW!! I loved this!!! You are my blog hero!!!

    HUGS

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  9. Sarah, I get it. That's why I couldn't ever move back.

    Ally, I'm the same way and had to be careful to do the lyrics by cut-and-paste. The preacher lines are curious to me. I kinda like "coast" better. :)

    Thanks Ca88, Wreckless, and Copyboy. Copyboy, I can't refuse a challenge. It is Monday, afterall. Stay tuned (maybe).

    IS, thanks. You're my blog hero too.

    Sweet dreamin' to you all!
    xoRobyn

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  10. Very cleverly done post! I live in the Bay Area and after living in So Cal for awhile I have to say it's a vast improvement. I think you will enjoy it.

    Thanks for stopping by and following! You have an amazing blog and I'm happy to return the favor!

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  11. Southern Californians can't seem to get anything right.
    It's "berserkly."

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  12. I Love L.A. and the Mommas & the Poppas were great. But my favorite NorCal song is
    "San Francisco" (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)" a song, also written by John Phillips.

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  13. I like the song/post/picture.

    Sweet dreamin' to you too :)

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  14. This was a really interesting and inventive way to make a post, Robyn! I loved the fact that you've attached bits of your life with parts of the song..(even though I don't know the song: I'll look it up on youtube!!) Genius! :D And I'm glad you like the place you've moved to!

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  15. Cool post! Now I can't the dang song out of my head though, lol

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  16. Thanks Kitty. Coming from such a talented writer, that means a lot.

    Tgoette, after reading your comment, I realized that I inadvertently deleted a line about making this escape 18 years ago: a young adult's lifetime ago (a much younger adult than I am!). I'm still glad for it. You're right, it's far superior to SoCal.

    IT, I call LA the "other state" in CA. What a state it's in!

    Thanks KW and DDG.

    Sarah, I hope you were able to find and hear the song. Warning, it will be stuck in your head. Just ask Kristy. Or me. I keep blurting out lines from it during my workday. At least I didn't do a post with "Take this Job And Shove it!" (Dolly Parton, I think?)

    Sweet dreamin,
    Robyn

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  17. PS Oops, the Dead Kennedys, not Dolly Parton. Similar but different.
    Cheers,
    Robyn

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  18. HAHA I echo everyone's sentiments. Not only is the song in my head but that was a great post!

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  19. The melody and harmony puts me in another dimension.

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  20. Wonderful post. After living in LA for 20 years I left in 2006 and never looked back..do miss the food though!! Fab's Italian Restaurant in the Valley has the BEST chopped salad ever...still think about it!!

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