Everybody knows that it's 21 miles between Santa Rosa and Sonoma. I've seen those signs next to the highway all my life. Until today, I hadn't had occasion to make that drive through the Valley of the Moon for several years. If it took nearly an hour in the old days, I don't remember it that way. I don't remember wall-to-wall cars crawling along. I definitely don't remember that many stoplights (all red, all the time).
Maybe I just don't like driving in traffic very much. It was my idea to meet Julie in Sonoma, because she would have to drive about as far out of her way as I would have to go from home. Although we talk on the phone almost every day, we haven't seen each other face to face in ten years. That's how long she and the Boss have been together, but they've spent most of their time in Nevada.
Since they've been working on the Kennel purchase, they've been in California for the last few months, but this was the first time she had occasion to come anywhere near my town. (Some kind of meeting, with a lawyer I think; I don't really know.) She's a lot of fun to talk to, and it would be great to see her, so I didn't mind giving up the middle part of my day to drive to Sonoma.
And it was worth it. It was horrible, but it was worth it.
I already thought I was late when I hit those three little towns, all in a row, just before you get to Sonoma. They're packed tightly together, and there's a stoplight on every block. It was a little like torture to drive through those jammed up streets, but when I got to the Black Bear Diner, Julie was nowhere to be seen. Then one of the waiters told me I had a phone call.
It was the Boss. Julie had taken a wrong turn and would be late. I took a booth and ordered a cup of coffee, and then another. I was a little jittery by the time she found her way to the place from wherever she'd wandered off to, but it was a real treat to see her, and we had a terrific lunch. They serve generous portions at that place, and I ate it all. By then it was too late to call it lunch, but I knew I might not have time for a real dinner later anyway. So it all worked out.