Garlic, Goodness and Fog: Weekend Wedding, Part I

Like a line, pencil-drawn, like someone had sliced the sky in half: where the blue stopped and the fog began. We drove beneath the division, up the curve of coastal mountains, and into the gray like a tunnel. The windows dimmed and the road darkened.

We’d entered our weekend: a summer wedding on the California coast.

Ain’t no sunshine. Hardly ever. The final wedding of my summer of love (other people’s love, that is—5 wedding invitations!) was a destination wedding at Asilomar, a state beach conference/retreat center near Monterey. Which meant that no matter what the rest of the state was cooking in, we were wrapped in an impenetrable blanket of fog all weekend.

The 101 had been hot, pink forearms and moaning wind. Gabe and I hadn’t had the chance to really catch up in a couple years, and there was a lot to talk about: dating and work, sickness and family, the little turns our lives had taken, as though our roads were getting clearer, more defined: yellower lines and harder asphalt. He played me his new band’s demo (“crust/doom metal from the woods of Northern California”) and we fell into that comfortable quiet of old friends.

Then I felt it stir in me.

Which was funny, because I was only driving 2 hours away for a wedding. But it was there, undeniably: the sleeping beast in me, rolling over in its nocturnal slumber—the traveler.

I don’t really know when it will strike in me—or rather, when something will strike it in me. My whole last trip, that sense of adventure and curiosity and freedom that I live for was never ignited. I never got to that mindset. But something about that highway, something about the light and the wind and the road arching up over the brown, brown hills, stirred up the traveler in me.

It’s like a meditation, traveling. I stop worrying, I stop planning, I stop thinking. I forget myself and I just experience. I get a place where I’m okay, deeply and wholly okay, and I can just sit and listen to the world humming, feel it reverberate in my own chest, like a bass line or a very small bird. I can’t do it, can’t get there, sitting crosslegged in my bedroom—the only way I’ve ever gotten to that place is traveling.

And something about that drive, something about sitting there with a dear old friend and thinking about the way our lives have taken shape, got me to that place, there—just for a moment, just for a breath. Which is all it ever really is, all you can ever hope for.

And then it smelled like garlic.

And I mean garlic. Weren’t no vampires in these parts. We were driving through Gilroy, an agricultural town filled with cherry stands and artichoke carts and tons of kitschy garlic-themed restaurants and shoppes. Every year they have a massive garlic festival; I’ve been hearing about it my whole life, and had never gone.

Gabe and I turned to each other and nodded. “On the way back?”

“Shit yeah.”

And then we entered the brooding gray of our weekend.

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6 Responses to “Garlic, Goodness and Fog: Weekend Wedding, Part I”


  1. 1 dianne July 27, 2010 at 5:15 am

    lovely writing lonely girl.

  2. 2 Nick July 27, 2010 at 8:22 am

    Beautiful stuff! I really like the way you begin, and the way you karate chop your reminiscences to a close with the line, “And then it smelled like garlic.”

    Do I smell another post coming up? (Sorry!)

  3. 3 Keith July 27, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    Beautiful imagery as always.

  4. 4 pam July 27, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    oh! can you write!

  5. 5 Naomi July 28, 2010 at 12:00 am

    Oh, the garlic festival. I can’t think of anything better!

    (ps, this is the Naomi from the Matador meetup 🙂

    • 6 laurenquinn July 28, 2010 at 12:19 am

      Hey! So good to have met you the other night. Glad the garlic emanating from me didn’t scare you away!


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Lauren Quinn is a writer and traveler currently living in Hanoi. Lonely Girl Travels was a blog of her sola travels and expat living from 2009 to 2012. She resides elsewhere on the internet now.

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