From Seattle, you fly over San Francisco mudflats and orange cabs that run like snakes through the streets and tennis courts that look like green matchbox cars and you almost wish you'd stayed there. The demographic is more robust, more what you like to think of as your people, which is to say, not seventy- and eighty-year- old, rich, white folks, the men wearing golf pants, the women in coral lipstick and violently styled hair.
But then you would've missed this:
You never would have seen the funky, mid-century architecture that makes Palm Springs look a little tired, but amusing at the same time. (Your husband commented that he expected to see Dean Martin with a martini around every bend). You wouldn't have been able to feast your eyes on so many red-tile roofs and palm trees and yucca plants (and Sonny Bono statues!). You never would've been surrounded by Joshua Trees and monstrous mountains of red boulders, some balanced so precariously you swear a small breeze could send them tumbling to the ground with a thundering roar and rising cloud of orange dust.
You were on a short vacation with your husband. Your parents, who are sweet and kind and good, took care of your kids. Your mom choked up on the phone when she described how compassionate and lovely your son has been. And your daughter, she said, is right on track. Willful and overly talkative, but wonderful all the same.
You had an amazing iceberg/bleu cheese wedge salad two nights in a row, dragging your husband through dark, winding streets under a starlit sky, back to the restaurant you'd already been so you can have that salad a second time.
The weather was uncharacteristically cold and it snowed on you in Joshua Tree National Park. You never once put on your shorts or swim suit. But you still are so grateful for the trip, for the new scenery, for the shops full of sequins and sunglasses, the fireplace tucked in the corner of your room (though on the last day huge gusts of wind blew ash all over your things), the quiet, Spanishy hotel where you stayed, the stretches of white desert.
And you are happy to be home, with your family: your children and your mom and dad, too, who are staying on a while longer. You wish they would come more often, but you will take the ten days that you get.