This past weekend Rene and I once again drove down the State of California to LA. In the past six weeks I've been to LA more than the entire cumulative 15 years I've lived here. Each time is a new adventure. We started in San Jose, drove down to LA, continued on to the edge of San Diego the next day and then up to Hearst Castle for a two day stop.
On this round we made visits to yet more woodworking machine shops and met some outrageous characters. Our first visit was the dodgiest by far. We were in some industrial area of LA and met up with a character called Bitzalel. Turns out he was a chassidic Jew with a hankering for woodworking and a taste for Hawaiian shirts. I was overdressed in high heal shoes as we squeezed between trucks, dodged broken glass and climbed into many unbelieveable places - all in the name of an Oliver lathe. I made it through the adventure with just a dirty bottom to show for it as I sat on the edge of the truck avoiding a potential sprained ankle. I knew immediately that I could reveal to Bitzalel in just a word or two that I was also Jewish. After feeling out the situation I told him my Hebrew name - that secret tribe language. He asked if Rene was also Jewish and his emphatic response was, "I'm Mexican" to which Bitzalel and I both replied, "so, you can still be Jewish." At the end of our visit Bitzalel asked me if I light the shabbas candles and when I said no his response was, "it only takes 15 seconds". Ah yes, a reminder of why I am turned off from these traditional Jewish women roles.
Next we went to Century Machinery and explored lathe parts. Well, Rene explored the equipment while I changed into less dirty pants following my back alley machine adventure. This all may sound rather boring but we love to debrief after each of these visits on the characteristics of these characters and the signs, signals, postures and positioning that are conveyed in these testasterone filled visits.
From here we drove down to Temecula where Rene purchased a planer. I'm getting good at remembering these machine names and uses. Comes in part from my summer at the family lumber yard, Plotkin Lumber, and in part from the summer I worked on a lathe at Horizons Camp in Maine.
The rest of our weekend was spent at Cambria and Hearst Castle taking in the sites, sounds and tastes of life along the ocean. A breathtakingly-beautiful part of California. This was yet another ideal way to celebrate my one year back in California.