I’ve been home from my trip for nine very intense days. I landed at LAX a week ago last Thursday and was in the office first thing on Friday. Reentry into work is always rough after a long trip. There is the normal catch up of the organic work that comes every day. There is also the follow through on the dozen meetings that I hosted in Europe. And then there was some new stuff. Stuff that pretty much dwarfed everything else and consumed my days and my thoughts in the evenings.
After about a week home, I realized that this was not a normal reentry. My stress level was way too high for this time of year and I am unfocused, opera
ting like a humming-bird going from issue to issue and kicking thing into the tall grass to buy time. I hate people who do that. I was also too tired to run, that’s another bad sign.
With all this in mind, Thursday night I called our timeshare and asked if they had a room available for Saturday. They did and we booked it. Micro-vacation planned.
This morning, we jumped in the car and drove to The Plaza Resort and Spa, our second home (for at least 7 days a year) in Palm Springs.
Last month marked the 22 year that I have owned here at the Plaza. Palm Springs hasn’t changed much in that time. Downtown is still downtown, it’s just that some of the Mexican restaurants are now English and some of the tchotchke stores are now frozen yogurt places. It’s still the same town that has 1 foot firmly planted in the early 1970’s and the other foot on the golf course. The residents are still as friendly as the climate is warm. If one subscribes to the idea that LA is phony then one should believe that Palm Springs is genuine.
I bought this time share back in 1990, just as Laura and I started dating. The joke in our family is that if Laura had come with me to the presentation, she would have talked me out of buying it. Turns out it was well worth what I paid for it. The Plaza is not a luxurious resort, but it’s our 3 start home away from home. We come here to relax, recuperate and most importantly, sleep.
Although we are only here for the night we have partaken of the normal rituals. We stopped at Vons, the same way we have for two decades to do our food shopping. In Palm Springs, we eat vacation cereal. You know vacation cereal, the stuff that’s loaded with sugar that we would never keep at home because there are healthier alternatives. We also bought post cards. Filling them out and getting them in the mail is another ritual of Palm Springs. Dinner our first night was at Upper Crust Pizza on Highway 111, just near our resort. That’s one of the four restaurants we eat when we are in town.
After food shopping, we checked in, unloaded and went straight to the jacuzzi. I had to sneak onto the golf course to take some pictures of sunset behind Mt. San Jacinto. Sunset was beautiful tonight.
The Child was a baby here. She has been here almost every year of her life. Tomorrow, we might take her out to do a bit of driving before she goes for her permit later this month. Afterwards, I will practice my tennis serve for an hour (or until my shoulder decides that it has had enough). There will be more time around the pool, eating of sugary cereals and a time change that will allow us to have an extra hour of sleep.
Before The Child started kindergarten, we used to come here in October for Laura’s birthday. These visits inevitably involved Yankee playoff baseball. If anyone remembers a certain memorable play involving a ball thrown from left field by Shane Spencer, caught by Derek Jeter just right of home plate that was quickly shoveled to Posada in time to tag out a certain Giambi brother, I was here, in this building, eating pizza from the same restaurant I had dinner at tonight. It was like it was yesterday; but it wasn’t. It was 2001. It just feels like yesterday.
In Palm Springs, in this building back in June 2004, we watched the Ronald Regan funeral processions. We came here for the viewing of Gerald Ford when he passed. If you ever go to Ford’s Library, we are told that visitors books from that day are on display there. The Child was the first entry in one of those books as we were on the first bus of visitors who came to pay our respects.
My favorite Palm Springs story happened on the day of my 40th birthday. We wanted to go to our favorite rib restaurant, Babes for lunch, but we weren’t sure if they were open. I plugged my computer into the phone line, fired up the modem and Yahoo searched for “Babes in Palm Springs”. A number came up and I dialed it on my cell. The next few seconds seemed to take an hour in my brain. While the phone was ringing, I was staring at the Yahoo map for “Babes in Palm Springs”. The map indicated that there was no location listed. I thought this strange and kept scanning the page. Then I realized that Babes is really in Rancho Mirage, not Palm Springs proper. Perhaps the second ring was underway at this point. My eyes moved to the top of the page and to my shock, I realized that the “Babes in Palm Springs” that I was dialing was an escort service. I hung up quickly and walked into the bedroom to tell my wife of how I happened to call an escort service on my 40th birthday. As we were both laughing about the matter, the escort service called back. Seems people often start to call and hang up. I explained it was a wrong number. I don’t think the lady on the other end of the phone believed me.
It funny as we sit here with three wireless devices going. Two years ago, we had to pay for wireless. Now it’s free. Ten years ago, I brought my computer and we used the phone line with a local modem number. The DVD players now sit above the TVs on these huge wooden shelves hat used to house the VCRs.
Times change. Technology changes. People are born, get older and die. Businesses come and go. Palm Springs, stays the same.