Like all things terrestrial, California is at the mercy of weather and its whims. This year the forces have decided to pour rain upon rain upon us, and the hills as we motor north in Susan James’s Volkswagen Routan (rechristened the Crouton) are an explosive psychedelic green. This is the California that intoxicates, seduces, soothes, and even heals the battered urban soul. Ouch. A thoughtless commuter subdivision, pastel scar against green glory, soon to be rendered obsolete by $20 per gallon gasoline, breaks the mood. And passes. We’re alone with the oaks, raptors, and moss covered stones on steep slopes once again.
We seek the 280 north, to San Francisco and beyond, to Sebastopol, host of our show tonight. Specifically Studio E, a secret hideaway among the apple orchards and foggy sheep. Will Hawks fans brave the rain and the winding directions to find us? We shall see. But all is good in the German (American) van of the future. With two iPhones on board, we are merging our virtual, and virtual virtual worlds. We can post photos of our journey in almost real time and read comments from people sitting in their dens in Eagle Rock or Raleigh or right here in Sebastopol. We can gaze at the tiny electronic map and see the brewpub we’re passing in what used to be our world but is now an alternate reality.
Our culture seems to have reached a critical digital tipping point where most people now spend slightly more time online than not online. Others are constantly jacked in. So what is the “real” world? Is it the green hills and the price of gas or that comment your high school girlfriend just posted on the silly picture of you drinking coffee? Can any of us tell? Strange times, indeed. One day the whole Internet will shut down. An act of God or an act of terrorism (is there a difference?) will interrupt our digital flow for a day or two, maybe even three. What will we do? How will we respond to this cultural detox? Will your neighbor run wild and naked in the streets? Will husbands and wives again return to regular and immediate intimate relations? Of course, the Hawks always look forward to such apocalyptic events. Bring it on, as a not so wise man once said.