Marcie is one of my most favoritest people on the planet. We met during my first month of college. I had just started a new job folding sweaters at the mall, and I had shown up for one of my shifts on a mid-week afternoon. As I was cramming my overstuffed purse into my assigned locker in the back room, I hear this woman laughing and here comes Marcie around the corner to finish her break and head back out on the floor. Marcie was wearing a grey jersey T with matching jersey skirt ("It's from Ann Taylor") with a bunch of silver jewelry. She had just returned from foot surgery ("Seriously, get your bunion removed already: It was the best decision I EVER MADE! I can wear whatever shoes I want!"). She was so freakin adorable that I thought to myself, "I want to be her best friend!" and the rest is history.
Oh God, our managers came to hate scheduling us together because Marcie and I talk. A lot. I mean, it is non-stop. Constant noise. We can blow three hours on the phone like it's three minutes. Because of our availability, we constantly crossed over and it couldn't be helped: The managers had no choice but to schedule us together on a regular basis. Really, this was to the store's benefit because Marcie and I could close a sale like nothing else. I don't know if it was because we had good eyes for dressing other people, or maybe we talked so damn much that the customers just couldn't get out of there fast enough.
I quit that job right before my senior year of college (only to pick up another lame retail job elsewhere), and whenever I run into old co-workers they ask me, "How's Marcie?" because everybody knows that she and I would never lose touch with each other. Around the time that I quit, or maybe the year after, Marcie's husband accepted a new job in Monterey and they officially became bicoastal. They didn't want to give up their PA house because their entire families live here, but in order to work at a job 3,000 miles away you have to have a home base in that other place. Marcie started a new routine that had her spending a month here and month there, back and forth. Rather than find it exhausting, she has a lot of fun going back and forth ("Especially because now I fly direct--I will never connect through Phoenix AGAIN!").
From her first month out there, Marcie has been saying, "Come out here! Come visit! You need to see this!" (Yes, all of her sentences end in exclamation points.) She flipped out when Ron and I told her our honeymoon plans, but alas Marcie was scheduled to be in PA that week ("Because I'm flying home for your wedding and then I'm staying there until Labor Day!"). Four years later, we managed to synchronize our calendars and I finally got to see Marcie's second home base with her.
Marcie's apartment has wall to wall windows in the family room and dining room. When you walk down the central hallway from the bedrooms, this is the view she has of the Monterey Bay. You can't see it, but Santa Cruz is on the other side of the water.
Right now, she has several families of birds living on her roof and they are completely hilarious. ("Oh God, the bird shit! Are you seeing all of it?? Wait, don't take pictures of it! Ugh, it won't come off because it hasn't rained in months! Did you know that birds slobber?? They do! That's all the crud that's glopped on the windows! David cleaned all of it off, but the birds ruined all of his work an hour later! But aren't they cute?? I love them!")
("Someone told me and David to buy owls to scare away the gulls, but you can see what a waste of money that was! But, look how happy they are so it's ok!")
There's a path that edges along the bay in Pacific Grove, and Marcie walks it all the time. You can view some pretty amazing real estate on one side and the blue bay on the other. Marcie's one gripe about living here is the weather ("It's FREEZING here! It's 60 degrees in the SUN! In JULY! That's not summer, it's APRIL!"). When I argue with her that it's 100 degrees and humid back in Philly, she says, "RIGHT: Because it's SUMMER!" All I know is that it's hard to break a sweat here and when I put makeup on my face it stays there rather than slide down my neck. Try doing that in Philly in July.
We always stop and admire the harbor seals. They blend in with the rocks so well that they're hard to spot sometimes. Once you see them, your eyes can work on individualizing them. Sometimes, they made me sad because they remind me of Pearl and Penny (also blubbery globs of goodness--the fluffy variety) who have been left at home.
|Locals hang red lanterns for an annual summer festival.|
|See the seals?|
Marcie and I had two afternoons together: One with Ron and one without him. The first day (without Ron) we went shopping because Ron hates shopping and we saved other stuff he would like for the second day. We drove over to Carmel, and (keeping in line with my last two trips here) I dressed wrong: I had on a dress with bare legs ... which means you're going to freeze to death in Carmel. It had been warm on our walk that morning, so I felt tricked. (Something I left out from my honeymoon post: Ron and I had to go buy pants at the Gap on Fisherman's Wharf in SF because we had packed all wrong and didn't remember what 60 degrees felt like anymore. It hadn't been less than 90 degrees in three months at home. We were so cold we bought full price freakin pants on vacation because we were totally caught off guard. You would think I would learn the third time around.)
I had brought pants with me on this trip ... I just hadn't worn them that day. Walking around Carmel, I was worried because we were doing outdoor cocktails in a few hours before dinner, and I knew that my lips and fingers were bound to turn purple as they always do (right, Jess?) and give me away at the dinner table. Luckily, Marcie and I were wandering around a store called Georgiou and lo-and-behold, there are the pink skinny pants I've been looking for since February. And they FIT! Perfectly. And they're NOT expensive! So the next thing you know, I'm turning my dress into a tunic over pink skinny pants, ripping off the sales tag and carrying the tag to the register.
I say to Marcie, "Remember those crazy-insano women who would try on a whole outfit, rip off the tags in the fitting room, hand the tags to us and say, 'Ring me up--I'm wearing this out' because they had an event to go to?"
"Yup! ... You just turned into one!"
Meanwhile, the middle-aged woman who is helping us says to me (with a very thick accent that she later identifies as Latvian), "She's not your mother ... she is ... your friend?" Yup. "Ahhh ... I see ..." She is very confused, so I offer, "We used to work together," like that explains it all.
It has been eleven years since I started that job and eight since I left it. But, I knew--I knew--the day that I met Marcie next to the lockers at work that she would be a lifelong friend. I had no doubts. I just knew. Thank you Marcie for sharing your home with me for two whole days last week and for making me fancy coffee and sharing your outrageous Lula chocolates with me. Thank you thank you thank you!
Next up, the afternoon with Ron at the Carmel Mission, 17 Mile Drive, Spanish Bay, and Pebble Beach.