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  • Writer's pictureThe Rough & Tumble

Tai Chi Necklace- Brings Health and Intuition and $40

Last Sunday we woke up still riding the high that was performing for Oakland’s first family of house shows the night before at Camp Williams. (What a fantastic night! Thank you!) We had our first sushirrito in Berkeley (a genius move; sushi you eat like a burrito!), went to an Oakland farmer’s market where we stocked up the fridge with all kinds of local fruits and vegetables, took a temperate late afternoon walk at Point Isabel, where Butter was off leash and San Fran sat in the distance across the bay. And then we hopped into our truck, camper in tow, and we drove the Pacific Coast Highway through redwoods and wine country and watched the sun disappear over the Russian River as we curled, like ocean fog, up the coast and pulled over onto a turn-off that would be our stopping point for the night. Mallory started making dinner and I was putting down the recently fixed stabilizer jacks, when Doug, sputtering and squealing around a curve careened into our turn-off and popped his hood.

“You don’t have cell reception here do you?” he called over.


“Damn. I think it’s the timing belt. Hey, could I give you $40 to take me to the closest town?”

And with that, dinner was off, and we started on our humanitarian mission to get Doug cell phone service so he could get his mid-grade sports car fixed. Mallory sat in back with Butter, not because, as she told Doug, so he wouldn’t be covered in dog hair, but because she keeps a knife up her boot for just these situations. We all made awkward small talk as we drove the winding couple miles into Jenner, Mallory laying in wait for Doug to try something. (Go on, try something. Make my day, she whispered.) Doug sells weed. We don’t smoke weed. We play country music. Doug doesn’t listen to country music. Ships passing in the night. But he was nice enough and he bought a CD which was cool. When he was in the car he placed a clunky chain necklace on the dashboard which he said was silver but we were sure wasn’t and said it would bring health and intuition to whoever wore it.

“It brought me health and intuition,” he said. “I took it off and that’s when I broke down.” (Mallory says that her healthy sense of intuition told her to get that thing the hell away from her as soon as she saw it.) But we kept it in the truck, greedy idiots that we are, and watched it pulse ever slightly with power.

We dropped Doug off in Jenner at a gas station with some truckers and he called someone on his flip phone. (God speed on your journey, Doug.) We pulled over at a different turn-off; this one beachside and above a harbor seal nursery. In the morning we realized just how cute a harbor seal nursery actually was as we watched pile upon pile of seal pups sleeping in the warm sand. And then we saw the lone seal pup too far up the beach, gulls and black crows encircling it. And we saw the trail in the sand, where it was dragging itself from the sand to the water again. And it got so close. And then it stopped. And it dipped its head into the sea and we were too far away to see its breathing, but we saw its mother come onto the beach and mourn for the lost pup, making circles in the sand and barking for father figures and for mothers. And all the vultures standing too close took respectful steps away.

And that’s the point that we pulled away and our week soured. We had gone 3 hours in the wrong direction and had to backtrack, Mallory got carsick as we drove up the winding mountain road through Napa and into Robert Louis Stevenson National Forest and thought she was gonna die, we stopped for Mexican food and the rice was inevitably, questionably laced with chicken broth, even after asking before ordering, and the water in the tank tasted bad and so we ended up not drinking it like we should have, and we got a flat tire just before Redding, and ended up taking a beautiful hike around the drought stricken Lake Shasta which was too hot for Butter’s feet so we had to turn back a mile in, but which apparently isn’t too dry for RATTLESNAKES (see previous blog posts about snake phobias), and then Scott backed the truck into the camper in Ashland and made a dent and a bad word, and Mallory realized that her traveler’s diarrhea might be due to how many fresh local fruits and vegetables we’ve been eating and how little water we’ve been drinking because it tasted so bad, and then we got kicked out of a Walmart parking lot at 2AM (not at 11PM when they first saw us park), and then had to go to Camping World which is THE WORST, and now we’re in Portland which is a little too hot than it usually is, but overall very nice, and we realized that it all started when Doug, sputtering and squealing around a curve careened into our turn-off and popped his hood and gave to us that cursed Tai Chi necklace.

Which brings us back to our original post. We’ll give you $40 if you take our Tai Chi necklace.


We just want our life back.

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