I didn’t have the opportunity to flag down this driver, as I was recovering from a procedure and anesthesia. Luckily I snap right out of anesthesia; I can sign legal documents and remember complicated directions, even immediately after the 10 brain surgeries I’ve had. But today the nurse insisted I wait inside while she lined the back door of the car up for me.

I found out my driver grew up in southern California for the majority if his boyhood. He basically lived on the beaches, catching the waves, hanging out with his friends and occasionally figuring out how to score some six packs. They knew all the good places to get the best surfing in, and he didn’t always make it to school. He was also a naturally excellent athlete all around. He said maybe that was his downfall, that he never really picked one sport and focused on it, but he loved everything. Volleyball, football, basketball, baseball, tennis, and of course surfing, for a tall guy my driver seemed to fall into it all gracefully.

But my driver said that one day, he and his friends were cliff diving, and the next day, his family moved to Tulsa, no warning. His parents, especially his dad, were worried that he was going to turn into a lowlife counter-culture type. My driver was a little too shaggy, a little too happy, a little too undisciplined. The family moved his junior year of school. Within the first two weeks of moving, my driver ended up in jail and was stuck there for five days because he had flipped off a plainclothes cop for riding his tail. He said that it would have been no big deal in Cali, but the Tulsa cop acted like he had tried to kill him. My driver so resented being uprooted from everything and everyone he knew that he didn’t speak to his dad for years. As he told me about this, I still felt the resentment.

I asked my driver what kind of jobs he had had over the years (he revealed he is 78 now), and he said that for a year he worked in a high security mental institution. It was the ’80’s and it was a place where people were sent while they awaited trial or determination if they could be fit for trial. He said that some truly were not aware of their own capabilities or surroundings. Some were truly cunning and criminal. I asked if that was his most challenging job, and he said no, actually; he was a tall and sometimes big guy (his weight fluctuates), and usually no one messed with him. The majority of his career was in sales and marketing. I didn’t get a chance to find out if that was the more challenging field. Sales can be a bit cutthroat.

We talked about how my driver ended up in Phoenix, where he’s been since 1983. Back then Phoenix was dirt cheap. He misses the ocean and surfing, but he doesn’t miss southern California anymore. People have ruined his beaches. Everything is gross and overpriced. Sometimes he goes back for a few beaches in choice spots, but not often. He does think about how different his life would have been if his dad wouldn’t have moved them to Tulsa.

Waves duvet cover

’70s Flowers bath mat

Cows And Flowers cutting board