Because I Got High

If you squint, you can see my obligationsThis is not a codeine post, although my toothache is a little better today, thanks to the antibiotics and a carefully calibrated schedule of painkillers. (There should be a very small window between one Fun Size Advil wearing off and the next one kicking in, and I am doing my best to nail that sucker shut.)

No, this is a post about going up a mountain. Which we did this afternoon, thanks to that schedule change I mentioned in yesterday’s post. The photograph to the right was taken about 9000 feet above the desert floor, on Mt. San Jacinto.

To get there, you have to take a tram. This is a very impressive cable car thing that takes about ten minutes to go from the lower station (elevation: 2600 feet) to the upper station (8500 feet), and offers a spectacular view of the mountain ranges encircling the Palm Springs area. It also lets you determine which of your fellow jurors are acrophobic, and which of them delight in torturing the acrophobe.

Once you’re up there, you put on the warm jacket you were instructed to bring — it being a full season cooler up at the top — and you go wandering along a trail looking for bobcats. You don’t find any, because bobcats aren’t stupid and stay well away from people, but you enjoy yourself anyway. You also wonder if maybe your painkiller-addled brain is reacting to the altitude, but things seem to be going fine.

About half an hour of trudging and slipping later (and to think I considered leaving my Blundstones at home), you round a bend and find yourself atop an outcropping, staring out at the desert below. You think: Wow, this elevation even makes the desert look pretty. And then: I wonder how far my spit would go if I leaned all the way forward and really made an effort.

It’s at this point that you realize you are not at your best, and slowly settle back on the big rock, and let someone take your picture. And then you trudge back to the cable car, and go back to the film festival.