6pm on a Tuesday
It is easy to find- hit the west coast somewhere around Los Angeles, then go north. Sand and palm trees will eventually turn into cliffs covered in succulents. That is Big Sur.There aren’t many people there, at least not by California standards. There are camp grounds, small resorts, and the coast. Mostly, almost completely, there is the coast.
That is why people go there.
I went there because I had never been and I needed to go somewhere.
It is the right kind of place for that. It is unincorporated, protected, and gorgeous.I am happily none of those things. Mostly I am hungry and just a touch bored.
Big Sur is also the right kind of place for that.
More specifically, the Maiden Publick House, a pub right behind the River Inn is the kind of place where you can go pretend like you are in Brooklyn in 2008… which is pretending to be Appalachia in 1920. But just like believing and clapping makes Tinker Bell real, being a talented musician who is giving it your all, makes this music great.
I snickered a little when the bearded man wearing Carhart overalls finished his drink at the bar and joined the band. It was like someone had watched too many Lumineers videos, or maybe the Avett Brothers-but they were good. I liked it. A lot.
I am sure there is some sort of line that when crossed, things like authenticity or performance become the same, but I don’t know where that is so I just try to enjoy stuff.
Stuff like elephant seals.
These giant things without legs flop around and make an incredibly loud noise when they tip their head back letting this big trunk like nose drop down inside their throat.
It is no secret that I do not drink alcohol. Never have. This personal life choice, which shouldn’t be such a big deal, has a surprising impact on my life. No, it hasn’t help me avoid a series of bad choices as I make those quite well while sober, but other things like making me the rugby team’s all time designated driver, countless corporate happy hours where you answer the same silly questions over and over and over (because drunk people think this is interesting and charming) but the biggest effect this teetotaling has had on me, is limiting my options regarding interesting beverages.
For a period of time some friends and I took matters into our own hands, and we got quite good at it if I may say so, but it was not sustainable. I need other options.
For Christmas I want something interesting to drink.
Before I dive into a list, let me point out a site for soda reviews that is unparalleled in breadth and quality: Five star soda. They are good. You can trust them.
Now the list:
Blenheim Ginger ale is always number one for me. It is a bit too hard to find but its burn your face off spiciness is worth the effort. Solid number two is Absinthe soda (made by Saiteaux). Tastes like liquid black licorice and I LOVE it. Then as you move down the soda spectrum just keep in mind super sweet is not my thing, but spicy or tart usually works. Blood orange, lime, clove, birch, anise, lemon, ginger, raspberry, etc. etc. If in LA, go to Galco’s.
I love yerba mate. I drink it mostly unsweetened, preferably through a bombilla from a gourd and in a group, but solo from my matermo is just fine. I like the taste but even more I like the equipment and the process. My default setting with most foods or beverages is to go too fast. Mate makes me slow down a bit. This is a good thing.
Don’t go to Whole Foods or some place similar and pay $25 for a 2lb bag. Find a latin market and buy a 5lb bag of Rosamante, CBSe, or Taragui for $10. Or, pretty much any mate anything from gauchogourmet.com
Just steer clear of a six pack of Diet Coke.
I do not own a set of clubs and my game reflects it.
I am OK with this, which means that most real golfers are not OK if forced to golf with me. This group was extra forgiving. It is hard not to be forgiving when it is 79 degrees in November.
Mine was rarely the drive we played, no matter what tool we used to hit the ball.
But golf is rarely about hitting that little ball.
It is more about spending time outside with people you like.
Or would like to like.
Or are getting to like.
Its called business.
That would make this work.
So I wonder what the weather is like in Philly?
I hear the train goes there from the city, but not my city. I had to fly on a little two propeller plane into Albany then drive another hour north. Spring doesn’t hit upstate NY till sometime after it is summer everywhere else, so as I drove through woods and resort towns all I saw was boarded up windows and stacks of canoes with tarps pulled snugly over. Then after crossing a small bridge, winding along a manicured little path, I was at the Sagamore.
Mine were not the fanciest of furnishings but the staff treated me as if I was in fact somebody. They were a little like those crazy people who work at Trader Joe’s. They work at a grocery store yet appear to like their jobs, which in turn makes me like to shop there. I liked staying at the Sagamore, even if it did snow in April.
I was there with an organization that puts potential science students in contact with science schools. I represent a science school. This means I eat at fancy dinners with youngsters and while looking down my nose say “So, young chap, what do yoooooou want to do with your liiiife?” To which the say “IDK maybe like, research and stuff? What-evs.”
Yet this was not cause to begin a rant on the loss of hope for tomorrow but rather a lesson to the adult in the room to relax a little. These aren’t bums from the street, crooks and hoods from the corner, but straight A students. These were kids who know a thing or two about working in a lab and smart stuff like neuroscience and microbiology. But they are still kids.
The Sagamore sits right on Lake George. Back in 1920 they hosted boat races and according to the old photos lining the walls, all sorts of festive occasions to which one would wear a skimmer hat and knickerbocker pants.
I wore neither of those things but simply sat in the Adirondack chairs and asked the staff to keep me well supplied with pitchers of hot water so I could sip mate while doing important work. Like blogging.