PIKERLOGUE -- HEY JUNE
My Girl and I have been back in LA for a few days now, reacquainting ourselves with our LA friends and re-establishing our routines. Returning home after a lengthly vacation is never an easy task, but after such a satisfying three weeks on the East Coast, the transition back to life in the Wild West has been a relatively smooth one. As I type out this public diary of our travels, I'm bombarded by mixed emotions. I'm elated to have spent such quality time with so many people, yet I'm dejected by thought of it all becoming an instant part of my past. As my globetrotting, world-wise friend Missy says, "I'm all about nostalgia. It's why I make memories in the first place." Ultimately, I'm thankful I had the opportunity to take such a long and leisurely vacation and overjoyed to have shared it all with such a special person. That's My Girl.
Sunday, June 1
Gorgeous Durham day, sunny and windy. Ran 4 miles on the Duke cross-country trail. My Girl's Mom and Chloe ran halfway, then walked the rest. I went with My Girl's Mom to her office on the Duke campus to use her computer to make the prior Piker entry, while My Girl stayed at home to work on her Six Feet Under piece. My Girl's Mom and I met My Girl's Sister and Brother-In-Law and Heather at My Girl's Sister's house and we followed them to the movie theater to see "Finding Nemo." We all thoroughly enjoyed the movie, both for its intelligent humor and its incredibly vibrant computer animation. My Girl's Mom, My Girl, and I went to the supermarket, shopped, and used the automated checkout (a first for me). Went to My Girl's Sister's house for a flank steak dinner, during which we thought up names for the unborn child of My Girl's Sister and My Girl's Brother-In-Law. After dinner, My Girl and I went to Perri and Carter's, hung out for a bit, then went to their neighbor's house to watch the Six Feet Under finale. For reasons beyond us, HBO did not work on the main TV. Halfway through, we found another TV in the house where HBO came in fuzzy but watchable. My Girl felt like she had to watch it, but I refused and instead chatted with Perri, who had never seen a single episode of Six Feet Under.
Monday, June 2 -- MY GIRL'S BIRTHDAY!
My Girl woke up early to work on her Six Feet Under piece. I slept in and then woke up to watch the Six Feet Under finale, which had arrived first thing in the morning on videotape via FedEx courtesy of the HBO publicity department. Loved the riveting finale to another remarkable season of television's very best program. Lunch at Chili's in Durham. Ventured to Chapel Hill and drove down famed Franklin Street and all around the massive UNC campus. Parked and tried to go see "Bend It Like Beckham", but the local weekly incorrectly listed a Monday matinee and left us high and dry. Browsed Schoolkids Records, where My Girl bought an album by Pinback called "Blue Screen Life". Had a beer at Top of the Hill, a brewery and bar overlooking the college town, before meeting My Girl's Family for dinner at The Flying Burrito. Went back to My Girl's Sister's house for a scrumptious chocolate cake made by My Girl's Mom and Mochi balls. My Girl opened her presents -- a digital camera from My Girl's Mom and myself, fancy hand cream and a hilarious candle-holding metal sculpture of a dog from My Girl's Sister and Brother-In-Law. I also presented My Girl with a tear-inducing poem I wrote special for her birthday. Yes, Piker can be quite the sentimental sap.
Tuesday, June 3
Ran 4 miles on the Duke cross-country trail. Watched the first set of the Andre Agassi-Guillermo Coria match while My Girl did some yard work. Met Jimmy for lunch at Mad Hatter's. Raced to Raleigh to catch the IMAX movie "Everest" at the Exploris museum. Missed the first few minutes, but caught the rest of the impressive climb to the summit of the world's tallest mountain. Went for an authentic North Carolina barbecue meal, served family style, at Bullock's with My Girl's Family and Preston, a 13 year-old boy being tutoree of My Girl's Mom. Watched the Miss Universe pageant, rooting mainly for Miss Japan who finished fifth, and some of "America's Next Top Model", rooting mainly for a meteor to knock out the satellite transmitting UPN's signal.
Wednesday, June 4
Ran 3 miles on the Duke cross-country trail. Drove through Chick-Fil-A for a late lunch. Watched the Albert Costa-Tommy Robredo French Open quarterfinal match from the third set on, witnessing Costa's unprecedented third comeback from a two sets to love deficit in the tournament. As if that wasn't enough, we then watched the five-set thriller between Juan Carlos Ferraro and Fernando Gonzalez. Drained from almost five hours of watching tennis, My Girl and I went to upscale shopping area Brighleaf Square to get My Girl's Mom a thank you card and gift. My Girl's Mom made a delicious dinner for us, with My Girl's Brother-In-Law joining us from the beginning and My Girl's Sister coming late after performing surgery at work. The meal included pork tenderloin, potatoes with ugly celery root, and salad, but the highlight was an unbelievable crabmeat in butter appetizer. After dinner, we said goodbye to My Girl's Sister and Brother-In-Law, then packed up our stuff and prepared for an early morning departure.
Thursday, June 5
Woke up at 4:45 am EST. My Girl's Mom and Chloe drove us to the airport to catch our 6:30 flight out of Raleigh-Durham. Said goodbye and thank you to My Girl's Mom and goodbye to Chloe. As My Girl's Mom got in the car to go, I turned and saw Chloe run up and nudge My Girl's Mom on the left side of her face, as if to say "It's okay. I'm sad too." My Girl and I caught our flight to Charlotte, then our connecting flight to LAX, and despite some serious turbulence over the Midwest and the ridiculous last half hour of "The Recruit", we landed safe and sound in The City of Angels at 11 am PST. V-Rat picked us up at the airport in my 1989 Toyota Celica convertible, but by the time we got in the car, he didn't have enough time to drop us off at home and borrow my car to get to work. So, we went with him all the way to Woodland Hills and dropped him off. On our way home, we stopped at Baja Fresh for lunch. As we waited for our food, I returned a phone call about a possible job, had a great conversation with the producer, and all but secured employment on yet another first-year sitcom for the season. My Girl and I shared a Fat Boy Special, rejoiced at my good fortune, then finally headed home. After a few hours of settling in, V-Rat called for a pickup and ride home. My Girl and I drove back to Woodland Hills to pick him up and drove him back to my apartment with the intention of driving back to My Girl's apartment to spend the night. But, we ran out of steam and decided to sleep at my apartment and return to hers in the morning. We collapsed on the couch and watched "The Thin Red Line" on DVD. I had never seen the movie and was blown away by the beautifully-photographed meditation on WWII and the interconnectedness of all human beings. By the time the movie was over, it was 1:45 am PST. My Girl and I had been up for a full twenty-four hours.