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Dear Cool Cats,

So how’s everything with you two, hunh? That “hunh” is to remind you that I’m back in the US of A — no “ehs” down here folks. I let one or two slip out unintentionally but the looks of disapproval that flashed in the eyes of these southwesterners made me reconsider. Especially in Arizona where they are very very leery of anyone who smells or looks or sounds like an alien. (Yes, pussy cats, that’s what you two would be called down here, Aliens. No, it does not mean that you would be starring in a B movie with body snatchers and UFOs either.) So, just in case, I thought it best to revert back to my childhood “HUNHS” (for which, I must say, I was soundly ridiculed when I first went to your counry of origin. Yes, I know I wouldn’t have been arrested up there as I could have been down here, but still, it wasn’t very nice.)

You’ll be happy to know that I managed to get lost yet another time before I even left Arizona. Do you believe that? That — if you haven’t guessed — is a rhetorical question and calls for no smart alecky answers, ok? Anyway, I wasn’t genuinely lost-lost — more confused. I realize you two believe that that is often a natural state for me but it’s not true. Here, when I was so near to fulfilling my “66” dream, it seemed unfair for this to happen. I know it was my own fault but it was still a bother. I could claim that I did it just to give you some comic relief while you’re reading this — but I imagine the spider story from the last letter would satisfy your hunger for Silly Annie Stories for quite a long while. Hmm?

So, what happened was this: my map was telling me to go in a certain direction to find a motel for the night butANN-here it is the billboard, as if to mock my sense of direction (Stop that Tee-Heeing!) told me that I was already “there” or “here“. I mean, really, would that have made sense to you? “Here it is” but what is “here” and for that matter what is “it“? So, you must understand why I was confused. Also, in the spirit of total truth telling, I was very very hungry at the time and you know how I get when I’m hungry. I remember warning the murmuring ex-husband about my slight — well, ok, not so slight — change in personality if he didn’t Feed Annie. (No, that is not why he started fooling around. Anyway, you can never take his side. It’s in your contract — fine print.) Well, back here in Arizona, I decided that it made a lot more sense to go with Rand McNally than with that Jack Rabbit — at least this time around. You’ll be relieved (?) to know I got to the motel — and food — just fine.

And then I was on the road for that last little bit of driving. Furry beasts, I have to say that when I got close to that border of California, I wanted to turn back and start all over again. Ok, not seriously, but, darn, I didn’t want the adventure to end. Ask Renaldo about the Camino and how hard it is to say the trip is overI wander if you two felt that way on your journey from the alley in Chinatown to the resue shelter and then through multiple foster homes — Were you really that bad? — until you finally arrived on Major Street? Probably not.

Don’t get me wrong. I am seriously overjoyed, ridiculously proud of myself and giddily happy to be here. California Here I Am! You should come down here sometime. It’s OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAso cool — and I don’t mean the temperature. I bought these fabuloso glasses on the boardwalk. I couldn’t wear my nondescript, fit-over-the-spectacles black ones. They were ok for OK but not for California! I needed to have some pazazz, right? I know, you don’t have to tell me, that my wardrobe needs some help but I haven’t exactly had a lot of time to get some new duds, but I will. How can I be in Southern California and not look snazzy, I ask you that? Yes, I know you’ve never been here so you really can’t answer — but you can imagine. Just picture yourselves strolling down the boardwalk with attitude — no problem there, that’s for sure — getting hip with the folks maybe taking saxophone lessons so you could earn a little money busking on the pier.

Well, I’ll see you soon — but not too soon. I decided to hang around a wee bit longer. I don’t feel like I got enough kicks on Route 66. Yes, I’ll bring you a souvenir but just not yet. It’s like the song says: “All I wanna do is have some fun. Until the sun comes up over Santa Monica Boulevard.” Doo wah Doo wah.

Hasta la Vista, babies!

California Dreamin’ Annie