May 12th, 2016


Thursday morning: Ashland / Medford

It's a beautiful morning in Ashland. I'm enroute to California for EMT school and I figured I'd drive it rather than fly. So I couldn't resist a stop in Ashland.

Last night I went to Bloomsbury Books and picked up a couple of drama-related books: two by David Mamet ('Theatre' and 'True and False'), scenes and monologues for student actors, and an anthology of modern American plays.

After I check out, I need to swing back to Medford to pick up some work clothes for the class. There are clothing stores in Ashland, but everything here is either hippie, Shakespeare-themed, or theatre-related. Then, on to California.

EMT school starts next week and it'll probably keep me pretty busy for the duration, but I'm looking forward to connecting with friends and family in the Bay Area afterward, before I drive back north to Portland.

Thursday night: California

"You are a fucking asshole!"

These were the first words spoken to me in California. Their author was a heavyset blonde woman of about 35 or 40, driving a blue pickup filled with furniture, who pulled up alongside me in the line at the agricultural inspection station to impart this urgent information, and of whose existence I'd previously been unaware. I don't know what I did to merit this woman's attention - some perceived slight on the highway, I expect - but I was grateful to be entering the Golden State armed with this knowledge. It's always good to know where you stand.

Oh California, how I have missed you.

The drive between Portland and the Bay Area is roughly 10 or 11 hours, not counting rest stops, and could theoretically be done in a day. I spread it out over two when I moved back to Portland, driving up with my friend B in late January of 2014. This time I decided to give myself three days. I took my first overnight in Ashland last night, and was going to spend tonight in, say, Red Bluff, and finish the journey at a leisurely pace tomorrow morning (Friday). But after an hour's break in Red Bluff (from about 14:30 to 15:30), I ended up powering through, pulling over at rest stops as needed along the way.

The drive through the East Bay was every bit as awful as you can imagine, but it didn't stress me out like I thought it would. Having GPS helped a lot. But I've been driving regularly the past year or so, and like almost anything else, you can get used to it; so I don't have the same aversion to driving that I used to. (I'll still avoid driving in the city, though, if I can; I'll always take a bus or a taxi, or better yet walk, if possible.)

I checked in at the hotel around 19:30, just in time to pray mincha before the sun went down. The room is nice. (That's good, because it'll be my home for the next two weeks.) I have all day tomorrow to get cleaned up and settled in and start reviewing the material. I don't know how many people there are in my class, but my understanding is we'll be picked up at the hotel in the morning and shuttled to the school. Morning is classroom instruction, afternoon is pratical application. I believe there are ambulance ride-alongs near the end of the course. I doubt I'll be getting romantic with anybody besides the CPR dummy, but it will be nice to meet new people.