Birthdays am I right. 30 was a big one, we rented a seaside cabin and Maia made shrimp and grits. I think for 31 I spent a lot of money on dinner for everyone because while winter birthdays are A Missed Opportunity to an outdoorsy person at least it’s crab season. As 32 approached I was feeling kind of depressed because:
- what are there like, 7 hours of light a day? and the sun is always down by the time I leave work. Inhumane. Awful.
- I was recently ~SiNgLe~ again and everyone had just spent the last three months getting engaged and announcing pregnancies and even though I don’t want those things it contributed to my constant, ambient and unfounded sense that I’m a failure as a woman. As I write this 10 months later I’m doing better!! Go ahead and get married everyone, see if I give a hoot.
- the actual birth day was a weekend, and I already struggle with those when I don’t leave town. Like what do people do all day??? Grocery shop??? Yoga class???
Anyway I am the luckiest brat on earth because my friend Maia pulled together a BIRTHDAY TRIP for me to Joshua Tree!!! As always I made this one of my professional grifts — I just had to meet my boss in San Diego for a thing by Monday night and they’d fly me back. Hero Maia booked a weird place to stay in Twentynine Palms, arranged rental cars, and roped Sarah and Allie into flights down there. This is a big deal because these people care about climate change. As the trip approached Sarah decided not to come because she lost a friend. Rest in power, Dr. Aequorea Victoria.
Nick got tagged in instead. Allie lives like 90 minutes away so we had a wild SLEEPOVER PARTY ahead of the early early flight, including dear Sarah. Allie picked us up at the hair salon/vintage place/zine seller, where the lady who does my hair (AMBER: recommended!) gave us birthday brewskis. TGIF.
As you can see at our wild sleepover party there is one beer, two cats, and a jar of very old marijuana I was given as a gift four months before.
The flight was at 7:35 a.m. why god. I got myself a Bloody Mary and enjoyed GEF!, an incredibly perfect-for-me gift about a talking mongoose from my bro Justin. We landed in Southern California somewhere and lit out east for the desert.
Maia had picked a really bananas house. Every inch was covered in broken glass and ceramic tile and doll hands and images of Buddha, and there were prayer flags and mannequins and empty bathtubs just hanging out in the desert within and around it.
So we took pictures because that was the point. I sunned myself in the weird dry intense-sun-but-not-actually-warm-air of the desert.
A little bit later that day we put on hiking clothes and drove into Joshua Tree National Park. This is where we parked at Jumbo Rocks and then wandered into the rocks together. At first it seemed like Allie was in the lead and then I slowly, (stonily), realized that we weren’t heading any particular place. This was very freeing. Did you know that this mass of stuff inside your head that makes you anxious and writes blogs is trapped inside an entire suit made of skin and bones and meat that it feels good to use to move around in nature? It’s true. It’s my favorite thing and I forget that every 24 hours or so.
Anyway “Jumbo Rocks” is evocative. We really did just clamber around. It was a really wonderful way to spend a day, with my friends in the sun aimlessly wandering around on some big rocks. Thank you weed gummies.
That night we had food and drinks. Someone else cooked and did the dishes, I am so blessed. There was a hot tub. I am so blessed.
On this day we visited some art!! One place was two of the 83 Kcymaerxthaere landmarks I have yet visited, Krblin Jihn Kabin. It’s a (faux) historical site once populated by members of a heretical Christian sect who created a new alphabet based on the idea that C and O are obscene letters, and such a strong obsession with the number nine that parents remove one of their children’s toes at birth.
Another cool place to take pictures.
We had to check out Noah Purifoy’s Outdoor Desert Art Museum of Assemblage Sculpture, too, because I think Nick hadn’t been there. Did you know that a lot of Yelp reviewers call this “literal trash?” Maybe they’re confused and describing themselves, bam.
Purifoy was the son of sharecroppers who taught shop in Alabama, served in WWII, made art out of the Watts riots, brought art programs into California prisons, and co-founded the Watts Towers Art Center next to that Simon Rodia joint. Trash is what you make it.
Purifoy’s site is part of High Desert Test Sites. I think we visited two or three of these — the rest, especially The Palms, I’m saving for later.
One site, Behind the Bail Bonds, I nearly mistook for an Airsoft gun range.
Deserts are dry and extreme and thus do interesting things to literal trash, that is, preserve them, bleach them. The sun is so bright you gotta wear shades. I love it so much. What a birthday.
Monday I dropped a friend at the airport and then got to San Diego as quickly as I could.
Lesson Learned: You can squeeze a real trip into a weekend if you try and you have frequent flier miles. A trip to Joshua Tree can really help fill out your OKCupid photos.