Monterey, CA – There’s Good in Goodbyes

I have always liked writing goodbyes like hellos. Maybe because I like remembering the good things, and there is ‘good’ in goodbyes. Wrote this months ago, but I saved it because I wasn’t ready to let go till now. I always felt the end was coming, but I don’t think I could ever have been ready for it. Is that weird? Probably. Pessimistic? Definitely.

Sometimes it takes seeing through someone else’s eyes to help you appreciate the things you take for granted. I’ve been to Monterey, Carmel and Big Sur about a half dozen times, but aside from the customary jellyfish photos that I’ve done multiple times at the Monterey Bay aquarium, I just don’t remember any of those adventures very well, or who I went with. This time, I remember much more of the details maybe because I was hosting someone, or maybe it’s just the recency of it all that still remains in my short term memory. Who knows?

Video Game Face (VGF) was visiting and when we were discussing where to go, I realized he’d already been to a lot of the normal tourist attractions in the Bay Area. Finally after scouring my Google Maps of locations I throw out Monterey and we have a destination set.

Day of, we get up, get ready. He is about to head downstairs while I continue primping, but before doing so he comes by where I’m standing by the mirror and mentions how nice I smell. In my head I just think “Oh. No one has ever said that to me before and it’s really nice.” Heading down to the kitchen, I pack my bag supplies needed for a day road trip. Snacks were a must in my book, because really, when am I not thinking about food?

Packing List

  • myBKR water bottle – trying to be green.
  • Extra bottle of Smart Water – failing to be green, because I’m sure we’ll run out of water in our individual bottles, and not sure if there are fill up spots.
  • Kirkland Organic Apple Sauce Pouch – Lately I’ve been in love with these pouch foods ever since Yvo had introduced me to them during Christmas gift exchange.
  • Justin’s Organic Peanut Butter Cups – 2 per person
  • Random Bag of Jerky
  • USB battery pack
  • Car charger
  • Extra firewire cable

Then after quickly plugging in the destination to Google Maps we were off. The journey would take about an hour and a half via 101 -> 156 -> 1. We’d get there around 12:30pm. He figures out how to delete other bluetooth synced devices to the car so that I can play my tunes.

Along the way we chit chat, our conversations go something like this:

VGF: What’s is that?
Me: Oh that’s Santa Clara U.
VGF: Oh that’s where Steve Nash went to school.

Later I google Steve Nash, as I had no idea who he was or what he did. Ah for sportsketball references.

VGF: What’s in Gilroy?
Me: Overhyped garlic festival where everything is ridiculously expensive. But they also have a good outlet mall with Lululemon.
VGF: Lululemon is a Canadian company founded in Vancouver.
Me: What? I had no idea it was Canadian.

Occasionally I’d just start singing, because well, I do that in any car when songs I like are on, even when I’m just sitting with an Uber driver, I’d probably even do it in an Uber pool. I’m weird I know.

Road trips are the best

Road trips are the best

Midway through our journey we’re both hungry, I break out the first wave of snacks, it’s peanut butter cup time. Then instead of plotting to random area in Monterey on Google Maps, I pick to target Red House Cafe, a restaurant that I found for a group of us to go to, a couple years ago, after attending Tony’s wedding.

We get there and easily find parking up the street. There’s a line of folks waiting and I squeeze by and put my name on the waiting list. Shortly we’re seated inside and I remembered why I really like this place. It’s cosy and the people are nice. There’s a fireplace going and pillows on the benches, oh they also have good food. He orders the eggs Benedict with coffee and I had the fried calamari steak with mimosa. While we wait for our food he says how pretty my eyeshadow is as it’s glittery. I’m midway through my meal when I feel full and pass my plate over to VGF who ends up polishing off the rest of my plate.

After lunch he suggests we go for a walk to explore. We end up at Lover’s Cove where a gaggle of bright magenta dresses signal us that there is a wedding going on. We both takes pictures of them and I just think to myself that he must really love weddings or something, I’ve never met any man that was so interested in talking about them or as sentimental about them as he is. Scamper down to the rocks to take photos and we see a couple making their way across this rock crevice. Clearly the women is a rock climber as evidenced by the way she knows how to find footholds and navigates around, her boyfriend less so, as he awkwardly tries to follow her while holding a DSLR.

Back at the car we decide to do the 17-mile drive and plot the directions. We stop at several of the stops and walk along the beach taking photos and watching these awesome birds test their fates by running from the waves. Sitting on some rocks we see off in the distance what looks like a huge dog, and yet it disappears into the water like a sea otter. We debate on what it was before finally deciding we have seen a new species of animal and coin the species “Otterauis”. On our walk back he picks up a business card and a polaroid to be deposited later in the trash. All this walking and I’m starting to get hungry, I pull out the Apple Sauce and ask him if he wants any, nope, ok yay mine, then hand him the beef jerky which he demolishes.

Find another wedding at a nearby beach and we gab about the man standing near the huge speaker looking somewhat menacing and we dub him “Wedding Bouncer”. I’m not actually sure if he can hear us, but he shoots us more dirty looks as we walk past the wedding to the walking path. I ready myself to break into a run, just in case this guy starts chasing us.

Finally we end up where it’s just beautiful waves crashing against the rocks. VGF is just about to comment something about how beautiful it is when this fobby asian woman jumps into frame from the left with her sun bonnet and selfie stick and begins trying to find the ideal vantage point for her selfie. He stops what he was about to say and gets annoyed, while I laugh. Selfie sticks ruin moments y’all, and that’s a fact.

He moves off to rest and I scamper down some rocks to watch the waves. I take a bunch of shots, and start working on post processing via VSCO cam, but there isn’t a good enough cell signal there to post anything to Instagram. Lost in thought of how lovely the waves crashing are, I am startled by a poke on my shoulder as VGF has moved and is pointing to where he moved to.

At the end of the 17-mile road is the Pebble Beach golf course. We wander around and I suggest that we get a drink. I felt like Pebble Beach used to be more exclusive than it was now. We sit outside and stare out at the overcast view. I ordered a hot buttered rum, and he got a Guinness. We chit chat and I take a picture of the Polaroid he picked up against the frosted glass table. I remember thinking it was pretty how his orange shoes added some color to the glass.

We try to eat in Carmel at this tapas place, but the wait at the one popular restaurant is ridonkulous. On the way back to the car he darts into this candy shop and we each pick out something to snack on before dinner. I really wanted to have just one slice of watermelon gummy along with this hippo snack I picked out. When I mention this to the lady at the counter she laughs and just gives me a slice for free. Little gestures like this restore my faith in humanity. Give a bite to VGF outside the shop as we continue walking and he shares his Maltesers with me.

Kinder Hippo!

Kinder Hippo!

He still wanted to go to check out Big Sur because that’s where a bunch of his friends ran a marathon. I figured we could find something to eat around there since it was a popular destination and began looking on Yelp. I picked Big Sur Taphouse because it looked casual, unique, and had an interesting selection of beers. Driving along the coast to get there we stop at a couple pretty spots to take photos. By the last one it’s getting too cold to get out of the car, I roll down my window to do a quick snap and take one for him too.

Once we get there the place is perfect. I adore small off the beaten path places. It’s quaint and the locals are there watching some strange cable show that keeps flipping between shots of boobs and high speed racing accidents. At the racing the men cheer, and with the boobs they fall silent. A strange juxtaposition of a cacophony of clamor to stillness.

We sit at this wooden table and pick what to get. He orders the pulled pork bun special, and I feel like trying the Reuben. For beers I say “Surprise me”. I think he came back with an IPA for himself and got me 21st Amendment Watermelon Wheat, which happens to be one of my favorites. My sandwich is meh, and his was pretty tasty. He offered to switch, but I wasn’t too hungry anyway. He kept apologizing for my sandwich and picking Big Sur, but honestly I really liked the place and ordered poorly myself, should have consulted Yelp.

Then I notice a wooden Connect4 on a shelf and I feel nostalgic to when I used to play with my brother growing up, and he’d just always trounce me. Ask VGF if he wants to play, and he says he’s never played before. I say something like, it’s not hard, I’ll teach you. He ends up beating me most of time. *Cries* Connect4 championships, will you ever be mine?

He turns around and spies Jenga on the shelf which he often plays with friends and we try our hands at that. To be perfectly honest I’ve played before a long time ago, but never knew the strategy. I’m trying to figure out how VGF can always find a loose tile that won’t topple over the pile. I’m watching every one of his moves carefully. Then all of a sudden I see it. But I’m not telling everyone on this blog what it is. Jenga Championships… you are my future!

We play until The Taphouse is nearly emptied out, and then we hit the road.

For some reason the music app on my phone keeps crashing. I think it might have to do with the lack of signal and my use of iTunes Match. He offers his phone and it’s neat to hear his selection of music because it’s all pop and basically, except for the one Canadian song, First Date by Darrelle London, most of the songs I know. More singing along to Mariah Carey happens until I’ve tired myself out and I ask if it’s ok if I pass out, to which he says it is, since I’ve had bouts with insomnia lately.

Waking up I look over at his silhouette against the highway lights. He looks tired, almost like the first night we had dinner together when he took a ridiculously early 6am flight. I offered to drive four times and he is a bit irked, like I didn’t trust him to get us home safely, but it wasn’t that. What I really wanted him to know was, as much as I did count on him to take care of me, he could count on me to care for him too.

He drove the entire way back and we arrive safely home, we showered and headed to bed.

I forgot to say it to him at the time, but since people can’t read minds:

Thank you for the weekend and being so easy going and fun to be around. Maybe you remember it differently, but this is how I saw it. Like you once said to me, it all just felt very natural. And as I once said to you before, it’s really the company that makes the experience memorable, and not the destination.

You said I had all these expectations, but honestly back then, all I ever wanted was to have more days like this and to see where it took us. What I wanted was to let you get to know me better and vice versa. Things didn’t work out that way, but I’m really happy with how my life has been since. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Goodbye VGF. I forgive you. I really do wish you the best, and hope you find what you’re looking for in all the things.

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