My Story, Yours Too.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Woman on the Verge of Paradise, and a Man: Draconian Measures!

Sign reads: "May you find Paradise to be all its name implies."

Thanks for joining me on the verge of Paradise, as a new chapter of my life unfolds. If you're new to Life by Chocolate, or just madly trying to catch up with your blog reading (Can we ever truly catch up?), this non-fictional autobiographical story begins here.
Remember Michael – the first man I met in Paradise, the one who was handsome until he started talking? Yeah, something about the way he declared his intent to attend a health lecture at the church gave me the willies.

Last week, I spent a bit more time with Michael. I stayed at Sarah’s (his mother’s) house again. Clearly, it’s his house too. Per Ames’ advice, I locked both the bedroom and the bathroom doors behind me. Thanks Ames - for suggesting a possible resemblance to Norman Bates. Nonetheless, I was unable to avoid interaction altogether.

“Draconian measures!” Michael stampeded through the living room, where I sat perusing housing listings on Sarah’s computer. “Draconian measures!”

He’s not talking to me, is he? I spun the chair around, and, yes, he was.

“This is outrageously wrong! I got a $1200 ticket for driving without my lights on, and it was daytime! It’s that stretch of freeway between here and Sacramento. Watch out over there. They get you every time. Take another route, or keep your lights on all day long. They’re looking to steal from you. I didn’t have my new insurance card, so they hiked it up to $1200. Draconians!”

Gulp. I could only support him. “Twelve hundred dollars? That’s just criminal!” I confirmed.

“You bet it is. If you can’t drive, you can’t travel. You can’t travel, you don’t have the right to peaceful assembly. You’re robbed of your freedoms. I’m fighting this to the full extent.”

The man knows his constitutional rights. I was ready for him to hand me a rifle and command, “March with me, woman!” We’d go parading through the streets of Paradise, rifles in hand, shouting “Draconian measures! Down with Draconia!” I’d do the beauty pageant wave and become very popular in my new stomping ground.

Lucky for me, Michael cooled down a bit and left the room.

Truthfully, I have no idea what Draconian measures are. If they have anything to do with Dracula, though, I’m definitely on his side. Dracula’s side, that is.

On my way home, I pulled over to take this photo. I didn’t see Michael or anyone around. Still, I snapped and jumped back into my car very, very quickly. To avoid any further Draconian measures, I made sure to keep my headlights on all the way home.


  1. Draconian - qualifies a rule as being of great severity.
    Or it's an alien race from Doctor Who.
    Or a race from the PC game Age of Wonders.
    Or a death metal band from Sweden.
    Take your pick!

  2. I am an idiot. There I said it. I see you every Saturday -ish and popped over for a deeper look around. I like what I see. The idiot part...I can't tell if these posts about Paradise are fact or fiction...really. maybe I am just exhausted or stupid...but is this really a big new step for you in life or creative writing? Either way you write superbly and I too ADORE John Denver to the sick and demented point that I actually watched a PBS special about him this week...and living in Colorado I can't drive to the mountains without listening to Country Roads and Rocky Mountain High...- that said, while I am busy out here trying to find my way home...I can't wait to read more about your adventures (real or fiction)

  3. PS - Bird by Bird was an amazing book.

  4. OMG! My internal red flags are going up. There are goose bumps on my arms. The hairs on my neck are standing up. Norman...uh I mean Michael appears to be ODD! Either name is frankly creepy at this point.

    You know you can buy those little door knob hanging alarms at Home Depot.

    Maybe before you agree to rent in Paradise, you should go to a neighboing town, say for lunch, and inquire as to whether or not the people of Paradise are normal. Try to be nonchalant about it.

    Maybe Paradise is one of those experimental open living asylums. Shiver! :0 ~Ames

    Heh heh heh heh wahahahahaha!

  5. Alex, thanks for the definitions and for the correct spelling. (I'll just go change that now, and nobody but you and I will know I did.) I think I'll go with Dr. Who. It's less intimidating than the other options.

    Terra, don't go downing yourself! This is an actual new chapter of my life, but I haven't made that very clear, and it really is quite surreal. I really am going to live in Paradise to work for Writer Nora Profit. Gorilla Bananas didn't believe me either, and he's pretty gullible.
    THANK YOU!! I appreciate anyone who also loves John Denver and Anne Lamott. ;0)

    Ames, I knew you'd keep making me laugh. I think I'll need to consult with you every few hours once I'm living there. xo

  6. PS The neighboring town is Chico. That's where I'll likely land, while working in Paradise. xo

  7. Oh my stars! I'm just catching up with this story. Congratulations! This sounds like an exciting adventure. I hope you find housing soon, although this is great background for future stories :) Geez, I hope Jenny doesn't read this. Our next prompt may have the word Draconian in it lol. Kat

  8. I didn't know what draconian meant either. Stay away from that guy Robyn!

  9. I love the sign with directions to the freeway.

  10. This was hilarious, but I really lost it with "I was ready for him to hand me a rifle and declare, 'March with me, woman!'”. Too funny!!

  11. Did a blood vessel almost pop outta the side of his head when he yelled "Draconian Measures"?

  12. Ahaha! Sounds like my last date! :) It's okay Robyn, I didn't know what that word meant either! :)

    I'm new to your blog, by the way, great writing! ;)

  13. I've never been to Paradise. I have been to Hell a few times.

  14. It wasn't that creepy until I saw the sign. Are you sure you want to go back to Sarah's? Do you have maze? Stun gun?

  15. Who says that?! $10 bucks says he invites you to the bomb shelter in his back yard that has been fully stocked with supplies and weapons "just in case of revolution, or something."

  16. I'm gullible? What other yarns have you been spinning with my fur, you devious woman? Draconian and Dracula both come from the word 'Draco'. I think he wants to bite your neck.

  17. Hm, has he invited you to "Church" his cult yet? Ah, ha ha! Poor guy tho' that is a lot of money!
    Happy Wed. Friend :)
    Love hearing all your wild adventures!
    gi gi

  18. He's weird....draconian is weird....I think it's best to just avoid him like you're doing...

  19. Hey! I was just thinking about you this morning and hoping things were going well for you! So glad you are making new friends!

  20. Sometimes it's "Draconian Measures" that are necessary, eh?
    Oh, and I don't think seeing anyone parading through the streets of Paradise would really seem too out of place. You're probably safer in Chico... or Durham, definitely not in Oroville.
    BTW - how'd you end up in Princeton?

  21. Thanks, friends. xo

    TS, there are a few similarities. ;0)

    Jane, that's $10 I'm not going to waste. I'm sure you're right. xo

    GB, you are fun to tease. <-;

    IT, you recognized Princeton! I couldn't find the big university, just this sign. My tom-tom took me through it - definitely NOT the quickest route. It was a long drive, but an amusing one - when I saw this sign, at least. xo

  22. Rawbine: Maybe Michael can move in with the plebotomist and you can stay with his mother. . . (if she's real). . . (P.S. it's Jo trying to be anonymous)

  23. This is a riot! Draconian is really bad...from Draco, 7th century Athenian statesman who prescribed the death penalty for most offenses. I know you don't deserve that ;-) Peace and blessings Robyn

  24. who do feel sorry for...the lady who tolerated draconian rants only to find Norman on the freeway...or the guy who was ripped of 1200$ (that's around Rs 55,000, 2 month's wages for the average Indian here )

  25. Robyn, I recognized Norman Rd.
    It appears your Tom-tom is subscribing to draconian directions... definitely not the quickest, but surely the most direct. Oh, and there are far worse roads in the area.

  26. Jo, good suggestion. They both like the blood thing. I mean, if Draconian and Dracula are in the same family. Thanks for visiting anonymously! xo

    Jeff, thanks for further explanation. It's helpful and scary. ;->

    Rek, true. $1200 is outrageous. I'm pretty sure he was driving without insurance. Still, it's not right. I'm confident he'll successfully fight this one (without my help). xo

    IT, touche. Tom-tom is pretty draconian. Thanks for the tidbits. It didn't seem bad, until I saw that sign. [-:

  27. Hmm, draconian, draconian...there's some kind of folk tale where a traveler stayed in a Draconian inn and they sawed his feet off because the bed was too short for him. In other words, it means something very not good.
    P.S. Does Michael read your blog?

  28. First of all, what the hell can I learn at a church health lecture except that touching myself 'down there' while washing up will not send me to hell or the various ways that David put it hard to Bathsheba? Now THERE is a nice Biblical image in my head.

    The worst part is that having a body in the trunk would have only added an additional dollar fifty onto his fine.

    He does sound like a gooney bird (as my mother would say) but he seems rich as a source of comedy. I am torn as to how you should deal with him. You do realize at SOME point you will have to kill him to save yourself and forewarned is always forearmed. I wish like in DUNE you could have your own poisoned GOM JABAR (basically a thimble with a poisonous needle on it) on you at all times.

    Good luck and keep us informed. Wicked cool GF. And let me know when you know when you might be in NY or somewhere else. I would come meet you in someplace like Disneyland for a few days. Stay in the hotel on site and do the park right?

  29. Ah the Draconians from Dr. Who! lol.. I remember them! Theyre everywhere! Including impersonating Norman Bates by the looks of things.. stay away from that Norman sign!


    ps, 1200 big ones is a total rort.. i think yr 'friend' is right!

  30. Marg, thanks for the info on the folk tale. It's crystalizing that word for me. Let's hope Michael isn't reading this. I believe he's focused on the US Constitution. xo

    Kal, I've gotta file that comment for next year's best comment awards show. Can I order a Gom Jabar on-line? or does Walmart carry them? Yes, Disneyland or NY or somewhere else in the near future. :~)

    Cheeseboy, yes, down, way down. xo

    Anthony, that's funny - the Draconians impersonating Bates. He is right to be upset. Most of us would not express ourselves quite that way, though. {-: