The forecast was for rain. But Monterey was calling. It had been more than two weeks. The chorus concerts were done, and there were too many events for Memorial Day weekend up in the Bay Area. If I wanted to sneak in two nights at my beach house, I needed to go.
Rain or no rain.
Monday was a window of no precipitation, but Sis had a doctor’s appointment, and my worker woman was scheduled to come that day. Then a guy friend called and invited me to dinner for Thursday night. That really forced my hand. If I wanted two nights, I had to drive on Tuesday through the weather.
The next morning I packed the car and watched the skies. If I left too early I’d get caught up in the morning commute. I did laundry, cleaned off my desk, assembled more stuff, and loaded the car. The dogs were getting anxious. They knew the rolling suitcase meant a road trip.
Pepper sleeps in the car in the cozy little car bed I bought for Daisy. Daisy is a nervous Nellie, pacing the back seat, as far as her tether will allow. Once she got off the leash and ended up in my lap. Twenty pounds of crazy would kill us all (I need to look into giving her some kind of drug to calm her down. At least she doesn’t puke).
I’d eaten a light breakfast with no fake coffee or even tea. I didn’t need my acid reflux acting up on the car ride. I’d once tried eating nothing before driving, as my doctor had suggested, but that just seemed to make it worse.
It is six highways to Monterey. The first two are the most stressful with the most traffic. I have trouble with acid until I get onto highway 101 in San Jose. It’s a bottleneck every time, and those San Jose drivers are aggressive.
I chewed on a Tums and listened to relaxing songs on 98.1. By the time I reach 101, Daisy had calmed down a bit, too.
Daisy, rain, acid. The rain was light and intermittent. I kept turning the speed of my windshield wipers, aware that I was tensed up about having another acid regurgitation with the need to stand up. I stayed in the right lane with the slow trucks but decided it was better that dying in a middle lane with nowhere to pull over.
The traffic was moving along well. No accidents this morning. When I reached Morgan Hill the skies opened up and let it rip. All lanes slowed down to 40 mph as we struggled to see the roadway.
“I’m glad I’m in the slow lane,” I said out loud.
Then I realized part of my explosion of acid had come after lots of talking with my riders on Saturday night.
“Better not sing,” I said.
There was no turning back. I was halfway to Monterey. I told myself I could take any exit and pull over if I needed to stand up. But it was pouring, so I didn’t really want to get out of the car.
I made it to Gilroy and had to switch radio stations. KOIT was fading out. The Eagle of Sacramento (70’s Rock and Roll), one of my station presets, was the same frequency as KWAVE in Santa Cruz. I punched 96.9 and listened to Bruno Mars.
The acid was receding by now, and it suddenly occurred to me that the two times I’d had the big regurgitation that closed up my trachea had only one common denominator – wine. I had blamed the first time on the Cheetos that I foolishly ate (trying to be like everyone else). The second time I’d had my usual two glasses of white wine (but realized they were generous pours in red wine glasses).
“I have to stop drinking,” I said to the dogs.
I relaxed after that. I wasn’t going to have to pull over to stand up, since I hadn’t had any wine for breakfast.
The rain came and went the rest of the way, and then I saw blue skies ahead. I thought I was in the clear, but a strong wind the last fourteen miles threatened to blow me out of my lane.
I finally exited Highway 1 the first chance I got and wound my way around the Fisherman’s Wharf and through the tunnel toward Cannery Row. I knew it had been a long time since I’d come that way, when I saw that my favorite garden ornament shop was empty and gone.
“When did that happen?” I asked the dogs.
I hadn’t been that way in probably two years. The metal ladybugs hanging on my house were from that place.
“I need to put another coat of varnish on them,” I said.
Ten minutes later, I pulled up to my old house and felt the stress melt away.
That evening, the guy friend called and cancelled the date. His back hurt. He needed to see the chiropractor.
Oh well. At least it got me to drive through the rain to Monterey.