We're old. We have a fairly well-established routine. We're up at 5am to walk around Lake Merritt every weekday. Kin is at his desk by 7am. Me, around 7, I run or do physical therapy, except on Thursdays when I head to the gym. (I also go to the gym on Tuesdays, but after I run.) Then I'm at my desk (or kitchen table, more likely) to write. Wednesdays I get the CSA. Fridays are my donut run days. Saturdays, I volunteer with RBO, and every other Saturday, Kin and I (or just Kin if I'm volunteering) go to Berkeley to get bagels. Sundays, I do my long run very early in the morning, then we clean house. Poppy knows the routine, and she doesn't like weekends as she doesn't get her walk right away. But she knows that when Kin gets off a call, he'll take her outside. She knows we'll go outside after we finish dinner and do dishes. She knows she'll go outside one more time before bed. We are usually asleep by 9. Day in day out, except for the days when we pull out the ice chest, the suitcases, her backpack — and now she's starting to learn that means we're going for an adventure in the RV.

We went on an adventure this past weekend, and it was a glorious disruption of the routine. We just went to Sonoma — so not too terribly far — leaving Thursday late morning and returning midday yesterday. We camped along the Russian River, and while it was pretty cold in the mornings, the days were sunny and the sort of autumnal warm that disappears quickly if the sun disappears behind a cloud. We visited Fort Ross, a key Russian settlement, and its orchard where a few cherry trees planted in the early 19th century still survive. We also wandered thru some of the little towns: Guerneville, Duncans Mills, Jenner.

This was the first time I've seen RV campers blatantly boasting they were fascists — a large bus with a big "thin blue line" flag. "Happy Veterans Day," it proclaimed. "We actually hate democracy." Or that was my reading, at least. As it was a holiday weekend, the campground was very full — full of families and kids. Poppy, bless her heart, managed to not attack and destroy the RC cars or motorized bikes that the little boys next to us played with.

I never thought I'd enjoy having an RV. Indeed, I imagined that all campers would be white supremacists, and there'd be country music blaring all night, and I'd be afraid and/or angry the whole time. But Kin and I — and Poppy, of course — love our little space, and we are really enjoying exploring California, going to and through places we'd never normally see or stop. As we've decided we'll make California our forever home, we're particularly interested in the state's history — the Russian version of settler colonialism, in this case, but also how the indigenous peoples (the Pomo, locally, as well as the native Alaskans who accompanied them southward) experienced this. There's something about how Americans tell the story of this country that privileges the East Coast / Anglo-European version of events; Spain gets rather left out. Russia even more so. The indigenous peoples are excised entirely from the national narrative.

As far as contemporary narratives go, Sonoma is wine country, and on our long hike on Saturday, we did run into a large group of white people drinking white wine and waiting for their long table, overlooking the ocean, to be set with food and presumably red wine. The little towns we visited seem to want to cater to this wine-sipping crowd. On Saturday, we ate breakfast at a little place whose biscuits Oprah lists as her "favorite things." Honestly, I'm not sure I believe that Oprah's ever even tried these biscuits, as I'm sure she'd say they need more salt.

Speaking of cooking and baking that doesn't quite work out, I had a rather frustrating week of it myself. I made a lasagna with no-bake noodles that apparently needed to be baked. I made an apple ricotta cake that had far too much moisture. I did, on the other hand, make the best batch of char siu bao I've ever made (and I have three more servings of the char siu pork in the freezer, so I can try my luck at a repeat performance three more times). We ate at Square Pie Guys last night, and we're completely sold on the whole "Detroit-style pizza" trend.

It's easy to look at the world right now and focus on the shit. That thin-blue line flag on the RV. The Republican takeover of the House. The economy. The way my body feels after running 6.85 miles on Sunday morning and then sitting in the car for 2+ hours on the drive home. The implosion of Twitter. The ridiculousness of suggesting Mastodon is "what's next." And so on. I mean, I have lots of thoughts on all of these, particularly the Twitter and Mastodon brouhaha. I read an email newsletter that referenced a Twitter thread in which Alexis Madrigal argued that Twitter, at least in its original manifestation, was for "word people." I quite like that framework, and it's helpful in showcasing how Facebook and now TikTok really would rather the ascendant influencers be picture people. TV people, even. It's time to pull out Tools for Conviviality, perhaps, for a re-read, because I'm loathe to make the argument that email is, in fact, where we find technological conviviality these days. But that's the direction I'm considering taking the argument. If I were to write about it and think about it more, that is.

Maybe I'll just go for a run instead.

Audrey Watters


Audrey Watters


Back to Archives