Don’t get me wrong — there was a lot to love about this trip to Northern California. I saw some dear friends, including my old cohort Tom Gogola, the latest, best, Sidney–prize winning journalistic transplant to Sonoma County. Stopping by his new newspaper in Santa Rosa, I also happened on Treehorn Books (see photo above), a terrific little shop, where I picked up a copy of Death Comes for the Archbishop, which, despite considering myself a major Cather fan, I have never read.
And yet ... I always pick stupid fights when out west. I always get really aggressive about my non-tech-i-ness, making stupidly hostile comments to show just how little I would fit in out here. For example, visiting a friend who works in the Zynga building in San Francisco (she doesn’t work for Zynga, but for a company that rents space from Zynga), I had to make a point of saying, when she mentioned that “Zynga bought this building after their IPO,” that I had absolutely no idea what Zynga does. “What?” I demanded. “Apps? Something like apps? Something for smart phones?” They make games, my friend told me. “Yeah, I don’t use my phone for games. I use it for phone calls. If I get bored, I don’t stare at a screen — I read a book.”
Which is of course partly a lie. Like everyone else, I use my phone for distraction, too, even if not for games.
I also took this trip as an opportunity to trot out my great line, which I believe deserves to be famous but isn’t yet (because there is no justice), that “the Northwest is where people will drive 40 miles to hike five.” And that’s true, but why do I always have to say it?
Is it because some part of me knows that the West Coast breeds happiness?
Or is it because I get justifiably annoyed at all the vapid talk of gadgets, by men wearing sandals?
Either way, I’m glad to be going home. Even as I wish I could stay.