So last night at church we had a potluck – sort of our ‘beginning of summer, celebrate the three day wknd, let’s have fun every few months’ sort of thing. It was great fun, and several of us guys were able to totally reorganize and clean up Terry’s shed, in addition to experiencing all manner of grilled delicacies.
At some point, we learned of a rapidly hatching plot by the Siebelaners and Monroes to hit the beach first thing in the morning today (so as to avoid the inevitable LA syndrome of ‘we drove an hour and we’re still late and now there’s no where to park’ which strikes most of us at least once a month and much more often when going to the beach on summer holidays). At any rate, Gillian got excited and we decided to join in, so did a few others, and I resigned myself to the idea that I didn’t really need to work a full day today and that half a day would be good.
So, the beach was great fun. Gillian demonstrated her Canadian indemnity against cold by swimming and playing in ocean water which was so cold that it literally caused me so much pain I couldn’t stand in it, not even ankle-deep. My wife is the cutest penguin ever, and I am apparently a wuss.
On the way home, we decided to stop by Peet’s to pick up some coffee and so Gillian could check on her schedule. Then we found out about a bbq being hosted by one of Gillian’s coworkers in Bel Air. In case you don’t know, that’s where all the rich people have fabulous houses with sweeping views of Los Angeles. Gillian got excited, and I got flustered: being a Fritzsche, I am a very big fan of formulating and then executing plans, with as little unforeseen change as possible. Having planned since the previous day to go to the beach and then to work for four hours, I was sure I couldn’t possibly afford the opportunity-loss in income engendered by not working and mostly just felt confused by the world. But Gillian pointed out that it’s a holiday and that I should relax, and I got over it and we went to the bbq, where we met a whole bunch of really fun and really artsy people and played cards and swam and talked about the business and ate amazing hamburgers in a fabulous house built on the side of a hill with a sweeping view of LA. The best part was that this house is owned by Gillian’s friend’s grandpa, who apparently built and decorated it while the Brady Bunch was on the air, and saw no need to update it with the latest Ikea has to offer. So, it was an amusing contrast – one of the most hoity-toity neighborhoods in America, but a house that felt more like a middle-American home than a monolithic monument to modernism (a common theme in wealthy LA houses).
We ended our day early and I’m going to bed before 11pm. Which of course, always makes me very happy. I like to think that we celebrated the freedom bought by the blood of our grandfathers in Europe and the Pacific in a way befitting the holiday, which is in and of itself an interesting study in American culture that I have not the resources or energy to explore at this time. Suffice to say, we as a culture celebrate the fact that we were not conscripted into Nazism by grilling hot dogs at the beach. I think that’s fascinating.