A Little Ditty about the OC

Like a song from the Eagles, my visit to the OC (Orange County, CA) for those not in the ‘know’, was a trip to a bit of California that I don’t see very often.

I don’t know if it was the Rolls Royce dealership located in a quasi industrial zone near the John Wayne Orange County Airport (that’s right the Duke has his own airport) , or the older lady with the giant dark glasses driving the brand new $300,000 Bentley convertible with a $500 chaise lounge sticking out the back seat and knicking the paint job, but something told me you’re no longer in your safe zone. The OC is a clean place, not very much shrubbery, or many trees, but just clean and tidy. No litter, no outward signs of garbage anywhere, even the more seedy areas looked pretty nice and well kept.  A man in a Mexican wrestling mask holding a sign for 7-11 sandwiches danced alongside another man in a guerrilla suit advertising hoagies from a competing sandwich place, they seemed to have the adversarial relationship down to a somewhat mock novela of a sandwich war. It was hot and muggy, both outfits looked quite uncomfortable.  The John Wayne Airport is buzzing alongside almost everything in Costa Mesa, my slice of the OC for the day.  Private jets are everywhere, not just on the ground, but constantly launching in all directions. Traffic is full and congested even at 11am in the morning, the streets are wide, straight and long.  It is not uncommon to have four and six lane streets butting into one another every few long blocks. They sell fireworks here, everywhere. Another thing that struck me, gates.  Gates to everywhere, driveways, homes, businesses, apartments, even some industrial areas. I found this strange as many of the places I’d seen didn’t warrant the security of a barrier to entrance, but this was day time, maybe things change at night. Gates are not very inviting. The weather although warm and muggy was gray and bright, so bright I needed my sunglasses to reduce eye strain, it was kind of painful.  My business associate called it June Gloom, a term I had heard before, it’s a very appropriate label, as it was truly gloomy and kind of ugly.  At least there was no smog. When I travel to the LA area or Las Vegas I have taken to flying down on the earliest flight in the morning and returning to the Bay Area in the late afternoon or early evening, this trip was no different.  Into the OC by 9am and out by 3pm.  Pretty easy actually and kind of serene, in a travellin’ kind of way.  I did notice something funny this time, on my return trip I counted 11 people who had been on my morning ride down the same morning.  This route apparently has become a real commute trip, and these other folks had decided that it was just as easy to get on the flight in the morning and return that same day, just as I had done.  Was this for budgetary reasons? Or was this a real choice like mine to be back home in the evening, with my family, among the tall, tall, green trees, watching the fog that exits and re-enters each day leaving clean and scrubbed blue sky behind in it’s wake. Whatever their reasons for their respective return trip to the Bay Area,  my rapid return was for my sanity, nothing else.  The OC is nice, and clean, but just not my slice of pie. Now in tribute, Hotel California: “Hotel California”

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air Up ahead in the distance, I saw shimmering light My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim I had to stop for the night There she stood in the doorway; I heard the mission bell And I was thinking to myself, ‘This could be Heaven or this could be Hell’ Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way There were voices down the corridor, I thought I heard them say…

Welcome to the Hotel California Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place) Such a lovely face Plenty of room at the Hotel California Any time of year (Any time of year) You can find it here

Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys she calls friends How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat. Some dance to remember, some dance to forget

So I called up the Captain, ‘Please bring me my wine’ He said, ‘We haven’t had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine’ And still those voices are calling from far away, Wake you up in the middle of the night Just to hear them say…

Welcome to the Hotel California Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place) Such a lovely face They livin’ it up at the Hotel California What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise) Bring your alibis

Mirrors on the ceiling, The pink champagne on ice And she said ‘We are all just prisoners here, of our own device’ And in the master’s chambers, They gathered for the feast They stab it with their steely knives, But they just can’t kill the beast

Last thing I remember, I was Running for the door I had to find the passage back To the place I was before ‘Relax,’ said the night man, ‘We are programmed to receive. You can check-out any time you like, But you can never leave!’  Posted on July 8, 2010

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