70.6 F

Davis, California

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Column: The osprey nest

I was told a carrier pigeon was searching for me. It flitted about the cold, stone walls of my manor all weekend, eyes peeled for my curly golden mane. It looked for me in my smoking gallery, at the archery range and at the pool hall. It even sought me in my trophy room, where I might be admiring my latest prize. But to no avail. The carrier pigeon couldn’t find me because I wasn’t in my manor this past weekend – I was in Inverness, sitting on a porch watching an osprey hover lazily on the wind.

I sat upon the porch with a Fat Tire in hand, beholding not only the osprey but also the expansive splendor Californian is known for. Rolling golden hills over yonder, Redwood forests over there, and various waterways that shimmered in the dying sun as they were pulled toward the Pacific.

It was great to be in a part of California that was not so dismally populated as almost everywhere else. I think the Rose Bowl and similar sporting events should only be televised in other states when the weather here is really shitty, so no one will want to move here. I remember this past Rose Bowl. The weather was great, and I thought, fuck, here comes everyone from North Dakota.

Back to Inverness. What was novel about this weekend was the fact I was staying in a cabin that sat at the top of a long, winding fire road. So I didn’t really have to deal with any of the countless types of assholes that seem to grow like mold all over the rest of California. I only spoke to myself and the three friends I came with, and the women who worked at the deli where we stopped to buy sandwiches and beer:

Deli matron, incredulously: “More beer?”

Me: “I also got this sandwich.”

Deli matron: “All your friends bought beer, too. Big party this weekend? Everybody else sent you four on the beer run?”

Me: “Uh, it’s only the four of us. We’re keeping it sort of low-key.”

Deli matron, with concern: “Well, make sure you drink water and put a meal in your belly.”

Me: “That’s why I got this sandwich.”

As much as I appreciated her lookin’ out, I’m an experienced imbiber. True, my friends and I had copious amounts of beer and just the right amount of whiskey, but we’ve all been drinking for long enough to know our limits. Plus, we brought a lot of chicken, steak, chips and salsa to help out. There was some salad too. I like to think of myself as something of a poster boy for a healthy diet.

Anyway, despite how many beers or fifths of whiskey we had, drinking with your closest friends is never a cause for concern. For instance, if I’m going to a party or to the bars or something, I try to watch myself. Too many beers and it’s goodbye Will Long, hello Billy Christmas. Billy Christmas doesn’t care about charming pretty girls, saving money on dollar beer nights, or going to sleep at a reasonable hour. Truth be told, I don’t often remember what Billy cares about. Loud Wu-Tang, maybe.

The point is, the three friends I went to Inverness with have already met Billy Christmas dozens of times, and I’ve seen all of them in the lowest dredges of the wine barrel, too. This weekend was all about simply having a good time and reminiscing about the past five years we’ve shared together. Of course, there were some notable figures missing from the weekend, but we reminisced about them (you know who you are) too.

Yes, the wilderness, good friends and fine drink. Nothing beats it. I didn’t worry once about bike lights, stop signs, cover fees, pugilists or she-devils, as I often do when I’m out and about in the churning mess of streets and stop lights that blanket most of California.

I do, however, have a tendency to worry about murderous creatures and escaped medical experiments when I’m out in the woods in the dark, but I found solace in the company of my good friends. If the four of us couldn’t bludgeon some ghoul to death in the middle of the night, at least we could have said we tried, and we tried together.

Also, we were all so damn toasted that being eaten alive by some ravenous mental patient would have only hurt, instead of being the full-blown agony it probably is.

WILL LONG desperately needs someone to sublet his pad for the summer. Master bedroom in a duplex on Drake Drive with a private bathroom. June’s rent is on me. Holler at Will at wclong@ucdavis.edu for more details.


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