Sleepy and Creepy.
We were already awake when the day started. After the sunrise, we navigated to a "Dog Beach" in south San Diego. After slow considerable shuffling, I got about 45 minutes of rest on my thin dirty tarp in the sand. I might have attempted more, but some asshole with his butt crack hanging out was looming over my girls when I came out of the can. Sixty fucking seconds. I can't leave my ladies for sixty fucking seconds.
This. Mother. Fucker.
I locked my eyes on him and marched straight ahead with a full tank of malice. He noticed my approach and made space. He was the stupidest person I have ever yet seen. A hopeless case, bothering every single person on the beach. Shouting, and swinging a stick. He took up all of the space. I would cut him in half, but then there would be two: wriggling, yelling, and standing too close to every single thing.
"Let's bag it up," I said, pulling a corner of sil-nylon up off the sand. The dogs on this beach got creepy and loud.
Slightly refreshed; enough to move on. We drove through comically gorgeous hillsides and canyons: La Jolla; Del Mar. I got a line on camping further inland for what seemed now like a very affordable twenty bucks. Con showers, mi amor.
Tired People; Tired Tires.
Almost to paradise. On the home stretch. My eyes began to squint, and I had difficulty navigating. Almost there. I stiffened my back and leaned close to the wheel. Jungle vine grip. Almost there.
I almost cried. I almost cried myself to sleep at the wheel. I knew that tire was going to go, but not now. Please not fuck-king right king-fucking now. I almost had a breakdown within a breakdown as I steered poor Supercar to the ample right shoulder.
Kristin gave me spinach. A yellow pill snapped in half, and I entered the mode of the can-do robot; clicking and clacking through ordered solutions. Within the half hour, I was perfectly good. I saw the positive side: the flat happened in a safe place, and the tires needed to be replaced anyway. The sun was shining, and it was the middle of the day. I have a card with three A's. You know what? It's actually lucky. (Without that Adderall, I'd be typing this from the grave.)
A Ford Festiva has an oddball tire size. I knew this, because I've ordered some before. The likelihood of finding anywhere with something was slim to zero.
My magical space-computer showed me more than one dozen tire shops within a dozen-mile radius. I materialized a pen, and I started making calls; working outward in concentric circles. A list of options emerged in ascending order: stars for promising; x's for not. In the time before the three A's arrived, I'd narrowed down our options to not many. One place didn't have any, but knew what they were - round rubber for a twelve-inch rim, yup. Uncommon. He could get them by Monday; three sleeps hence.
The tow truck eased down our Adventure Machine in front of Big O Tires in Lake Forest California. I moved to the next phase: sleeping options.
Hotels are expensive. Out of the question here. Sleeping in the car did not seem feasible. I checked the price of a car rental by walking across the street to an Enterprise. (I could not imagine getting a flat tire in a more convenient location. Uncanny.)
I asked the rental guy to help me compare rates, and I told him we were on a budget. He acted like his tie was too tight, but he did seem motivated to rent us a car. I had difficulty suppressing a scoff at $58 per day, so the rate was magically lowered to $30 if we take three days, which is what I said I wanted in the first place. They only up-charge to what you can afford; they prod around to assess your levels. If you hold out long enough, they don a chauffeur's cap and take you around. Instead, I accepted the second best price. I only squirmed slightly when I initialed beside the ancillary insurance. Sucker punched! Just give me the keys, you eels.
We found housing! Our mid-sized Mazda SUV would serve as bedroom and parlour. That it also moved was a boon and afterthought.
We backed in next to a Walmart.
We parked in a perfect lot, complete with palm trees and views of foothills. For security, I purchased ninety-nine cents worth of black plastic, labeled "table cloth," and we obscured the windows with that and some tape.
Then I crashed hard.