My mother-in-law’s name is Julia, and we named our very bossy GPS after her nickname in her language: Yulka. Most of the time, Yulka comes in handy. We have to trick her every once in a while when we want to take the lesser-traveled road. What Yulka doesn’t know won’t hurt her. Mind you, we made sure she knew as much as possible with a download before this trip. But she’s a spiteful little dictator, and knows we can be like sheep sometimes.
When we left LA to go to Orange County to meet AHA pal JosieB. for the first time, and then spend the weekend with my longtime dear friend Kelly O., we depended on Yulka to send us the right way through unfamiliar freeways. Within the city, she sent us past directional signs for our freeway, I5 south. After a couple of these, we ignored her and voila, we were on our way.
Now, the map provided by the State of California is pretty minimal in information: it has no exit numbers, and not all the towns. But it didn’t matter much to us, since we had Yulka, and knew we should be headed down I5 for quite a while.
But dear Yulka decided we should head east instead of on I5 south. DH and I were discussing whether to ignore her when she instructed us to head southwest, so we relaxed. A while later, she told us to continue past the exit to I5 and continue southwest, so I pored over the map once more. It was so odd, she hadn’t mentioned any problems to avoid on I5, as she had when we’d detoured other times. I said a few choice words about Yulka, and we decided to ignore her and turned west to get on the I5. When I later drew it on the map, it was a neat and tidy Zed.
After that, she found the home of JosieB., and as we approached, we admired Josie’s garden, which is watered with grey water from her home. After a short visit, DH asked a favour of her: could she help him find a tire shop? We had a slow leak, and the company that had installed new tires two weeks prior wasn’t represented in California. While the car was in the shop, we had a great lunch of papusas and horchata with Josie—extra curtido! We don’t have an El Salvadorian restaurant in my current city, and I miss it from my younger years. It turns out a drywall nail was our slow leak, and it was an easy repair.
On to the next stop, and a short rest before more fun. Kelly and Mr. O were in my engineering class in Canada, and I helped them get together. They’re now dual citizens, but their Canadian side shows in their dedication to hockey for their three boys, with three games every Saturday.
Kelly breezed in from a game to collect me and whisk me off to “Meet the Author” with “The Real Orange County Book Club,” the play on words she and her friends made from the popular TV show. Unlike the TV show, these are “regular” ladies, who probably have cleaned a bathroom or two in their lives, and it was casual and relaxed. The toughest feedback I got was a reader who said she found the Austenesque language difficult at first, but as she got into it, she loved it.
The day didn’t end there. Another Canadian ex-pat couple of engineers, who had relocated from Washington to southern California a few weeks earlier, took a pause in unpacking to have dinner with us. When they arrived a few minutes later than the rest of us, Kelly commented we had rushed there, too. Sue asked where we had been.
Kelly said, “At meet the author.”
***An aside here—none of us consider ourselves literary at all, we’re engineers. In addition, Kelly, arguably the smartest (she’s a designer for components for Formula race cars), has always appeared naïve because of the way she asks questions, so we tease her that she’s slow, and she laughs with us!***
Sue said to Kelly, “Oh, nice! Who was the author?”
Kelly gestured towards me.
Sue looked at me, and repeated her question, and Kelly said, “Suze.”
Sue looked at me with wild eyes.
“You’re the author?” Her head whipped back to Kelly.
“Yes,” Kelly said.
Her face is really confused. “You wrote a book?”
I nodded. Kelly and I were sharing the biggest grins.
“Really? A whole book?”
Everyone laughed, and Sue got chided that since she’s not on Facebook, she misses everything. Oh, well, I gave her a signed copy!
And as I think of Facebook now, make sure you drop by and check out my Facebook Author Page!
Next post: The San Diego Meet-up, where I meet my beloved Gail Warner, editor for Alias Thomas Bennet, and fellow members of The Meryton Literary Society.
Okay, I admit, that last bit was me trying to make it sound intellectual. In reality, they’re my dear friends from the AHA Chat Chits, and they’re up to no good!