Madonna and a Coffee Mug

Last night during the middle of the night, I slightly wake up and am aware that someone is moving around. And then I finally get up and realize that our tent door is wide open. Hear Jess peeing. Just another night. Get out and pee outside as well.

Wake up ten minutes before work. Run to the lodge, and fly around brushing teeth and putting on clothers.

And then we’re off on the road.

Carinne’s driving and I’m riding shotgun. She’s cheers-ing the truck drivers on the road with her whale coffee mug, and jamming to Madonna on the radio.

We’re driving through the city of Sacramento, past all the sky scrapers, and then right on out of the city– hitting prarie and farms.

We drive out past the the Sutter Farms vineyard, and make up scenarios of running away off into the vineyards. We talk about the Rhine, and how many vineyards are along it in Germany. And we talk about where we want to travel next.

On the bus to the train station from my hostel in San Francisco, it was absolutely packed. The first bus I tried to get on opened the door to let people out, then sped away. We were in Chinatown, and the little Chinese woman next to me started tapping me on the shoulder and making frantic angry anxious hand motions.

Finally got on the bus, and it was absolutely full. Sat in the back, by a boy with a buge flatscreen tv, scanning the length of his arms. Just sitting on the back of the bus.

When the bus stops, he has to push through this huge crowd of people standing up– while the bus is still moving. He’s knocking people with the flatscreen left and right.

Middle aged Hispanic woman and I open our eyes wide and look at one another, sharing this ridiculous moment.

Then this Russian woman gets on in Chintown, and we all look over because she’s making a commotion.

“Please.” “PLEASE.”

The little Chinese woman sitting on the outside seat is not responding, so the big Russian woman leans over and pushes her hands against the little Chinese woman’s chest. She’s still not responding, so the Russian woman continues to push against the little woman’s chest– pushing her toward the inside seat, cursing in Russian.

Middle aged hispanic woman in front of me make eye contact again. People.

Off the bus at the train station, I stopped in a Safeway to get food before my megabus. And as I was buying a bagel and a drink, this man comes up in line behind me. Holding two bags of ramen and a few nickels.

“Do you think you could help me?”

“Yeah, of course.”

I pushed his ramen with my stuff, and then I realized that I could easily buy him something else. This was my chance, have been wanting to do something like this the whole time I’ve been in this city.

And I told him, do you want anything else? And he was like, “Yeah, actually..”

I told him I had five extra dollars. He said he’d be right back.

He comes back immediately with a box of chocolate donuts with a big $5 price tag on the front. And I think, what a dinner. And I ask him if he wants anything to drink.

And while he’s back grabbing milk, one of the security guards comes up to me.

“You aren’t supposed to be in here, are you?”

I thought he was talking about the man I was buying food for, but then realized he was looking directly at me with anger.

“Ummm…” I said.

“Yeah, you are not supposed to be in here…”

“I don’t even live here…”

And then he realized I wasn’t who he was suspecting, and he backed off. It was one of the weirdest moments of my life. Being accused of being a criminal by just standing in line buying food.

I told this story to George and Jess later, and George said, “Well you do look a little bit like a criminal, Annie. But a nice one, like one who does graffiti or something.””

When I finally got back from my long bus ride, Jess and George picked me up at the megabus station. And we drove to Bento Box for dinner.

Then drove home, and fell asleep pretty soon after.

Changing sites at work. Just had lunch, Monday. Were checking irrigation systems all morning, getting sprayed in the face with dirty lake water used for irrigation.

And then we are waiting for the tree people, so Carinne pulls up right behind this car on a side road, and parks right behind them while we wait. And they are terrified, this huge van pulls up right behind them in the middle of nowhere and stops. And Carinne is playing some fairy classical music, blasting it. And they are terrified. And we just continue to sit there like assholes, the whole team cracking up.

Now we’re flying along the side highways again, heading to the beaver dam we build a month ago to check on the irrigation. I’m not getting sprayed in the face anymore.

The sticky prickly grass that is all over us and stabs us throughout the day on our shins. Gets inside out boots and feels like fire.


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