Hot, stuffy, suffocating. This is my night in the dorm room. All the windows are closed. And if I’d known how bad it was going to be I would have opened the window. I figured though that I’d used up all my good graces by sneaking in at 11:30pm. And then I’m tripping over people’s shit that they had exploded into the walk way. Damn.
The alarm goes off at 6am because I’m on the early volunteer crew at 7:30am. I curse myself. Why on earth did I pick the early one? And I have a 30 minute bike ride to get there. I ride along the bay’s edge where the tide crashes and the first hints of color reflect. Oh wait. I’m the lucky one. I fill with deep gratitude. I would have missed this otherwise. Here I am, riding next to the most beautiful scenery, passing the cheeriest people. Each one wishes me a good morning or comments on the perfect day.
Asilomar translates into refuge/retreat by the sea. It’s a beautiful spot built among the dunes with buildings dating back to 1913. California naturalists are everywhere. We go from one talk to another. But too bad we’re not outside. “Look for the question within each moment,” John Muir Laws. And they serve so much food. Classy food. Apparently, naturalists are the upper class? I’m glad I cycled here so that I can consume all the calories I want.
Back at the hostel, I have one goal. Get the window open. Oh good, it’s open. I go for a walk and when I return the window is closed. So I open it. The little rambling Asian woman in the bunk below mine comes in and asks me to help her close it.
“Oh, it was so stuffy in here last night. I just need a little air.”
“But I’ll get a cold,” she pleads. “If any part of your body is exposed to air, you get a cold.”
How do I explain to her the phenomena of my sleeping outside for the last week? “Can I get you an extra blanket? I have a down hood you could borrow,” I offer. I’m serious about the blanket but deep down I know I’m joking about the hood.
“Well, why don’t you wear a swimming suit to bed,” she responds.
Oh well. If I pissed her off that’s just the way it goes. I just need a little air.