Leave me alone; I’m on vacation
By the time this flutters into your mailbox I’ll be long gone and at the halfway point of my super-rare vacation down the coast to the faraway land of San Clemente, where, as obsessively compulsive readers of my ramblings will note, my wife and I have vacationed about 100 times.
Why San Clemente? Well, Dad’s Liquor Store, obviously, but also glorious beaches, a quaint little town, beautiful sunsets, super-friendly coyotes, Port Pizza, South of Nick’s and the fact that my late parents saddled us with a timeshare there from which we simply are unable to extricate ourselves. We’ll happily trade it to you for a pack of gum and a set of steak knives.
What’s there to do in San Clemente?
In addition to Dad’s Liquor Store, there’s also hiking through the adjacent state park and down along the arroyos and barrancas to the beach and then, sadly back up again; getting my hair cut by Kate at Revival on Del Mar, the only person I trust to do it—no one in Long Beach can handle the job; having cocktails on the balcony and watching the aforementioned sunsets; frolicking with the aforementioned friendly coyotes (my wife won’t allow me to feed them, saying they’ll eventually turn savage and hurt someone which is ludicrous because, as mentioned twice already, they’re friendly); and, most importantly, doing nothing. I’m so adept at doing nothing that I make it look easy, so long as I can read while doing nothing.
There’s a bit of a sub-genre of fiction known as “beach books,” which tend to be rom-com-lit or the events surrounding the real-housewives of whatever town.
I dragged along the June 5 New Yorker with a new short story by George Saunders, an author I’ve been a fan of since I stumbled upon his brilliant short story “The 400 Pound CEO” in Harper’s in 1993, before he published his first book, “CivilWarLand in Bad Decline,” and the latest (No. 15) book in the series featuring Norwegian detective Harry Hole (pronounced HOO-leh, happily) by Norwegian author Jo Nesbø.
The Harry Hole character is inspired by Michael Connelly’s LAPD or private detective Harry Bosch, which is a good thing, but I think Hole wins in a battle of the brains as well as gruesome crimes. He’s also a bit more depressed than Bosch, probably because of Norway.
What am I probably going to watch?
Another bit of nothingness will be catching up on some streaming stuff, primarily the Disney Channel’s “The Mandalorian,” which my willowy yet stridently insistent executive editor Melissa Evans is forcing me to watch—three seasons’ worth as well as an intermediate season, “The Book of Boba Fett,” which I am to watch between Season 2 and Season 3.
I’m not a big fan of the main guy (your eponymous Mandalorian) so far, but I do like little baby Yoda, if that’s the correct term for it. It’s cute and makes little squeaks and coos, which are all the sounds I want to hear from a Yoda. I can’t stand the old Yoda’s speech. He’s 896 years old and still speaks semi-backward. Yodas should be seen and not heard, unless they’re cooing and squeaking.
What am I probably going to eat?
One thing I don’t like during vacation is having meals.
You have to stop whatever form of nothingness you’re doing and make plans for the next meal and then actually sit down and consume the meal. This can take an hour or more, precious time that I could be doing nothing.
Probably, though, we’ll get at least one dinner out of Port Pizza and maybe another from Pedro’s Tacos, then most likely a blowout dinner at South of Nick’s (coming soon to Belmont Shore), possibly on the day I’m getting my haircut, since that chore will already squander an hour of time, so might as well ruin the whole day’s inactivity for $65 worth of Nick’s Classic margaritas (milagro reposado, cointreau, fresh lime, agave, chile-lime salt rim) and some food, although we’ll probably fill up on chips and guac and end up waddling out of the place.
Maybe I’ll sneak out a coyote bag for the friendly coyotes. For God’s sake, don’t tell my wife.