Before we went to Lost Angeles, we stopped in Phoenix to see Huw and Eric. They have a totally fabulous place right near the Biltmore Hotel. We ate lots of great food, went running and hiking and laid out by the pool. It felt kind of like being at a resort. They even have one of those Brookstone massage chairs!
We left kinda early the next morning but in the long run it was for the best because it took a quite a while to get to my mom’s house.
I was bummed because Huw–who is a damn good cook–was going to make breakfast.
The past few times I have been in SoCal to see my mother, I’ve noticed that my quiet little hometown has turned into a wannabe upscale community. When my family moved there in 1970, Thousand Oaks was a sleepy tract-home haven with a small outdoor mall and a friendly relaxed attitude. Now it’s full of anorexic Crackberry toting soccer moms wearing those ginormous sunglasses that don’t look good on anybody except Jackie O. The outdoor mall has become a “marketplace” and the Chevy Impala station wagons have been replaced by luxury SUV’s complete with Bluetooth® technology and a Get-The-Fuck-Out-Of-My-Way driver.
There are so many people I know who just love it out there. To be honest, I just don’t understand the appeal of living in Assholeland. The people were pushy, well dressed and rude. Everywhere you looked was a store or plaza or whatever the fuck they call them now. We all know what they really are. They’re strip malls.
Thousand Oaks was a beautiful place to grow up with rolling hills, ranches, 1957 Chevy pick up trucks and, yes, thousands of oak trees. We lived in a sub division called Shadow Oaks. Every year there was a big festival called Conejo Valley Days. As a kid, I remember crawling out of my skin in anticipation when the event came near. There was a chili cook-off, rodeo, parade and my personal favorite, a midway. The best ride hands down was the Zipper.
Conejo Valley Days originally started as a community circus in the late 1940s. It was a reflection of the local culture. It was always very rancher-cowboy like and probably the defining influence on my out of control gay libido. Unfortunately it’s changing–Conejo Valley Days that is. The libido is just fine.
During my visit, mother told me they did away with the rodeo this year and in its place they had some ConejoX Invitational Freestyle Motocross Competition. They tried to cancel the parade but some company stepped in and paid the insurance bond. They can’t do a parade because of insurance but they can have a Freestyle Motocross Competition? Since when did marching in a band become so hazardous? Lookout! There’s a stray baton twirler! Someone cover her with a blanket!
To make matters worse, they had a Radio Disney Concert Night with some teeny bopper all girl band. Once Disney infects your local community fair, you’re fucked.
While I sat and listened to my mother, I realized there really has been quite a long passage of time since those days. Everything seems to be going faster and faster. There’s no turning back…I am getting older. A sudden wave of melancholy swept over me. Mother looked at me and said, “Your hair seems lighter.” and I said, “No ma. It’s just turning gray.”