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  • For much of the time I lived in Santa Barbara, my daughter lived in San Luis Obispo, about 100 miles north. Ever since my 20s, when I would drive up and down the 101 between LA and SF, I wanted to one day live in SLO. Located along the central California coast, certainly one of the most beautiful places in the world with its perfect Mediterranean climate, cliffside beaches and rolling hills dotted with ranches and wineries. The town itself is not too big and not too small, with a vintage early 20th century downtown lined with big shady trees and dotted with book stores, restaurants, cafes, and shops selling whatever knick-knacks and doo-dads. It helps that the town has a college, and the bars downtown attest to the presence of the out-of-towner students, but I wouldn’t call SLO a real college town.

    When I started grad school, so many of the other grad students, encouraged by the professors, were driven to become well-known scholars at prestigious research universities with all the book and so on that comes with it. Me, I just wanted to be the one Russian history professor at Cal Poly SLO. I would tell people, and they would admonish me for my lack of ambition, but I didn’t want to be on CNN, I wanted to be on the beach in SLO.

    I loved it when my daughter lived there, I would take the train up then just ride my bike to wherever my daughter lived with her room mates. I would stay for a couple days and we would just hang out. Most of the time she lived in SLO, my daughter worked at a place called Two Dogs Café, and when she had to work when I visited I would just spend the day at her café, working or reading and astonishing people when my daughter would introduce me as her father. I am more youthful and unconventional that most parents.

    So when I pulled into town to deliver some Budget Press, Two Dogs was the first place I went. Unfortunately however, it no longer existed. So I went to another café a few blocks over, Linnaea’s, which in reality (and my daughter would confirm this) is a better café than hers was. I had already planned on leaving some pubs there as well, and saying Hi to the place for Renee. I bought some tea, sat and wrote a bit, dropped off the pubs, got back in my car, and headed north.

    And I have since given up on my dream of teaching at Cal Poly. Other dreams came along.
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