California Dreamin’


Why They Call Me Lefty



It all started when Corey wanted to drive down Rodeo Drive. "Aw Jen," she whined, "We’ll never get back here again!" I hate when she whines, but I also realize that this particular tone means pigs will fly before we ever do anything I wanna do on a vacation again. So, with a silent sigh,.. I acquiesce.

Now, I say it all started with this tour down Rodeo; but in actuality, this little adventure began as soon as we stepped up to the car rental desk at LAX. See, back at home in New York City, where parking space is no less valued than our rent controlled apartment; we own an old Honda Civic, and an even older Volkswagen Bug (the kind that uses 2 hamsters on a wheel in lieu of the later developed lawnmower engine). So when we reserved our rental car, we opted for a small but sporty Mustang convertible. We figured this to be a reasonable upgrade from our standard modes of transportation, without getting too carried away. Well it seems that the nice folks at "Outta Sight Car Rentals" were true to their name with regard to our much desired ‘Stang. After much yelling (and let me tell you Corey can put a dock worker to shame with her command of "East-Coast English") the rather paled car rental employee gave us "their best SUV" at no additional cost.

Our coup at the rental counter turned into my worst nightmare once we actually got a look at the 4 wheeled beast that was our rental car. "Geez babe," I groaned, "Let’s just go back and take that mouse trap Mitsubishi they first offered us."

"Oh no," Corey purred, eyeing the small cottage on wheels, "I’ve always wanted to try out one of these big boys." This statement, coupled with the gleam in her eye should have been my first clue.

So, Rambo and I threw our bags into the cavern,… uh,… I mean the back of the SUV, and drove off to enjoy our week in the sun.

I won’t bother you with the minute by minute details of our vacation; suffice to say that once behind the wheel of the Herculean SUV, the woman I’d known for the past 7 years faded out of existence only to be replaced by a female version of Mad Max.

Our romantic get-away to the "other coast" took on the revised shape of a well planned assault of all things touristy once my little gladiator got into her chariot. We hit every "Home of..." and "Official Location of…" site in southern California. She even dragged me to one of those prop/clothing warehouses that sell items from old TV Shows. That was actually kind of fun, and I managed to surprise her with a dive knife that Lloyd Bridges used in the old Sea Hunt TV show. As a kid Corey was crazy about that show and she’d tried for years to get me to take diving lessons. She finally stopped after I explained that I really didn’t want to see what’s in the East River.

Anyway, about 3 days into our trip, the back of the SUV took on the appearance of a "Mailboxes Etc." as we realized there was no way we were gonna carry all this stuff back home.

But I digress; let me get back to Rodeo Drive. Corey was blessed with the "shopping gene" and really wanted to see where the rich and famous spent their bucks. Since my partner was finally showing signs of her "normal" self; as opposed to the tacky refrigerator magnet buying tank girl she’d become; I really couldn’t put up too much of an argument. Well that and the whole "flying pigs", "my vacation" thing too.

So off we went. On the way to 90210 land we stopped at a gourmet food boutique. (I called it a deli and was promptly corrected by a snobbish young thing, making minimum wage I’m sure.)

Well among other things, into our gourmet road trip basket we packed _ dozen oysters. Corey loves seafood, all kinds, and is particularly fond of shell fish in both a cooked and non-cooked state. I learned this years ago, and in an effort to showcase my "butch skills" (of which I have many), I learned how to shuck oysters. Not too difficult a task when sitting at home, with the proper tools.

(Can you see where we’re going here?)

So here we are, cruising down Rodeo drive. I’m shucking oysters for my girl, with the only thing handy, and all of the sudden it dawns on Corey that I didn’t pack my shucking knife for this vacation. She screams at me, and grabs for her piece of Sea Hunt memorabilia, letting go of the wheel of the Urban Assault Vehicle. Now, mind you it takes a bit of skill to shuck oysters in a stationary kitchen. I’ve almost taken off a finger or two when I’ve gotten a bit careless,… and now here I am shuckin’ in a land zamboni headed straight for a herd of Palm trees. As we pop the curb, Corey slams on the brakes, bringing us to a stop inches from a really un-friendly looking cocoa palm. I, in the mean time, am trying desperately to keep from cutting off one of Corey’s very talented fingers as she lunges for the dive knife. I manage to preserve all of Corey’s precious little digits, but end up with a rather large gash across the middle of my right hand. Corey, ever the pragmatist, quickly sizes up the situation, and runs around to the back of the truck for "medical supplies".

As soon as she had my hand wrapped securely enough to keep me from bending it, Corey got directions to the nearest emergency room and off we went.

28 tiny little stitches across the palm of my hand later, I was still giggling as I remembered the look on the ER triage nurses’ face when he asked to see the injury,… and I held up my hand tightly bandaged with bubble wrap and packing tape.

Next vacation? A cruise!

Return to the Academy