I don’t tend to get around town much these days. My travels generally take me up and down one very long street, which I have dubbed East County’s Champs de Elysee. I hope the French will forgive me for this woeful comparison, since this small part of San Diego doesn’t resemble the chic Paris street in the slightest, but the majority of what I do is either on this street or just off it.
In the last few days my little world has been turned upside down by the arrival of the English Husband. I ventured out of my 10-mile comfort zone and drove all the way to Los Angeles to pick him up last weekend. This would not be a major accomplishment for most people, but I have not driven a car regularly for over a decade and it usually induces some sort of panic when I have to get behind the wheel and go somewhere unfamiliar. I don’t know whether it’s a European trait, but I have come to regard the car as an enemy. Perhaps that is why I have an irrational fear that I will be involved in some sort of catastrophic car crash. It’s therefore a breakthrough that I managed to get to Los Angeles in a car and didn’t have some sort of psychological breakdown on the way. It came close. I did sit in snarled, slow-moving traffic for nearly two hours and had fantasies about helicopters rescuing me from the hell that is Interstate 5.
Add some spice
The rescue came later, in the form of a one-night getaway at a relaxing hotel in San Diego that was booked as a reunion treat. There were drinks, a bit of lounging, some dinner and there was a gingerbread house, lovingly put together near the entrance to the hotel. It was impossible not to walk past this paean to sugar without indulging in some childish need to be photographed near it. The hotel management even included a recipe, should you ever be inclined to try to reproduce it. You will probably need an industrial-sized kitchen and an army of elves to help you crack over 2,000 eggs.
Feeling emboldened by our drinks and the fact that we were paying guests, we sat inside the gingerbread walls and posed with wrapped presents and lollipops.
Other people had got a bit too interactive with the festive display and had torn off the gumballs that decorated the walls; one vandal had even broken a lollipop and left it abandoned on the floor. I fear the house might not survive the holiday season without some serious damage.
The next day we went back to the gingerbread house with the Chatterbox, who hadn’t yet seen it. A heavy black rope was now draped in front of the sugary house, presumably to protect it from people like us.