Vacation From the Vacation

The bad thing about going on a trip, even a short one, is the food. Oy, all the food. Eric and Susan took me out to dinner for every meal for two days straight. Jason and Megan fed me good beer and tried to convince me to move down to LA. (Megan: “You already have a built-in network of friends… and if Sarah goes to Scripps, more than half your family will be down here…”) My Uncle Mitch went in to work very late just so that he could serve homemade omelettes and bagels and fruit. (I think Uncle Mitch was feeling guilty about taking me 1800 feet up in a pre-dawn hike up Camelback Mountain in Phoenix. “You ready for an adventure?” he said, rapping at my door at 4:30am.1) But the grand prize goes to Derrick, who took the entire day off to hang out and force-feed me home-grilled steaks and bread and cheese and salad and pumpkin pie… for lunch.2

So last Sunday, I drove down to LA with Eric and Susan. I thought we were being clever leaving at 4:30pm — we’d miss most of Thanksgiving traffic. To provide an idea of how brilliant this notion was, it took us over an hour to get from Gilroy to Pacheco Pass, about six miles. Eric said that the drive wasn’t so bad, because he had two people to keep him company in the car. He’s just being polite, though — Susan and I both fell asleep about two hours into the trip.

On Monday I helped Eric move his new furniture out of storage and into his new place in Pasadena or wherever it is (the hell if I know). We got the furniture out without too much trouble3, but the tricky part was getting the furniture into the apartment. We managed to work the couch around the corner of the doorway in the usual manner, but the dinner table wasn’t going to make it. I suggested that we tilt and flip the table over the 5′ patio wall. Eric was a bit dubious, but the idea worked brilliantly, and I was quite proud of myself for coming up with it on the fly. That is until last night at poker, when Jay pointed out that this was the exact same maneuver we used getting his furniture down a tricky staircase. I had completely forgotten about that. “You’re a real mover now,” said Jay. “That trick is buried in your spinal reflexes.”

I also got to see Eric and Susan’s law offices, and met a few of their colleagues. Susan told me later, to my horror, that her female colleagues were asking about me. Suddenly the downside of being “temporarily retired” became crystal clear. “So what does your boyfriend’s friend do?” the attractive young senior associate had asked. Well Susan hemmed and hawed and finally told them that I worked for Sun Microsystems, but she wasn’t sure exactly what I was doing for them.4 She also mentioned that I had helped my old mentor edit his Statistical Mechanics textbook, and apparently both of her friends were quite impressed by this. So for all you naysayers who think that studying physics will never get you chicks — HA.

1. The part that makes me feel guilty was that right near the summit, two 70ish ladies passed us on the way up. They were chatting amiably and not even breaking a sweat.

2. As I grow older, I’ve realized that my ideal vacation revolves around talking and eating. By these standards, this particular trip was an unqualified success.

3. No thanks to the inexplicable doorways in the corridors of the storage place, which only serve to narrow the maneuvering area for large, inflexible, scratchable pieces of furniture.

4. Which was technically true — the way the “notification period” works, I was still an employee on that date, strangely enough.