Last Friday night, I met up for coffee with some friends in the area who I hadn’t seen in some years. Meeting up for coffee with friends in the area in California, however, is not the same as meeting up for coffee with friends in Germany or France. In Germany, my friends in the area would step down into the street and turn a corner to sit in Ubu Roi, or hop on the bus if they live out in the boonies, such as near campus. In California, my friends in the area and I each had a thirty-minute drive by car, and we met at the Starbucks in Palo Alto (a few cities up) as a half-way point.
And having coffee with friends in California is not the same as having coffee with friends in Germany or France. We grabbed our various flavors of icey frappaccinos to go. And then we went out to find a donkey.
One makes many friends in one’s lifetime, but none equal the friends you make while growing up. Because you don’t typically make those kinds of friends based on common interests. You make those kinds of friends because they’re there, and because someone has a two-door Honda, and the beach is just down the street, and we might as well all pile in and go there.
Many years later, outsiders can only guess what a med student in Poland, a software engineer at E.A., a civil engineer in Monterey, and a polyglot globetrotter have in common. Nothing, really. Except that when we get together, everything is just so damn funny. And we say goofy things like, “So, ya wanna see the Don-qué?” and I say, “What is that, like a Don Qui-jo-té?” and then we hop into someone’s car and end up somewhere in the middle of Palo Alto, petting a donkey.
Two donkeys in fact. And two goats. There was a third donkey, but apparently some drugged-out kids in the area thought it was funny to share their shit, and the donkey over-dosed. We gave them carrots and watched them roll around in the dirt under the moonlight, as we sipped our frappaccinos. While driving home that night, I smiled as our Carmel-cruising song came up, from Chumbawumba, ‘We’ll be singing… when we’re winning…’