The gangaroos and I traveled to the mystic village of Ojai for Ojai Day yesterday.
Not "Ojai Days" as most places might have. Good gosh, no. Two days would be such a hassle and Ojai is a very, very laid back kind of place.
In Ojai (pronounced O-hi), you can get your chakras balanced, your aura cleansed, and your Feng Shui'd. You need an organic, gluten-free, vegan muffin at the coffee shop? No problem!
Giant street painting
It is a pleasant little town that is wedged in a deep valley, where giant gnarled oak trees shade the streets and where orange groves scent the warm night air.
It served as the backdrop for the movie "Shangri La" and is home to many major and minor celebrities, so one is always squinting at tall guys with good hair thinking "Is that Ted Danson? Yes? No?"
A few weeks ago, we took my friend Jim to Farmer's Market there. He is from klassy, klassy Orange County, land of giant blonde hair and Cadillac Escalades in Shimmering Pearl with $3000 rims.
Going to Farmer's Market on Sunday morning in Ojai is a great way to get a full blast of the local culture. There was a dreadlocked guy with no shirt, no shoes and a macrame headband with natural crystals woven into it. He smelled of patchouli (of course) and had a tiny cute daughter, who wore moccasins that he had made by hand.
There was a girl with bushy, bushy underarms, assuring the Spinach Lady "I evision an abundant crop of leafy spinach for you this year" as she made big, swooping, growing gestures with her hands.
("This is AWESOME!" whispered Jim, his eyes gleaming with mad joy.)
We tried vegan fig ice cream (delish) and homemade organic aloe-based personal lubricant (didn't try that).
That's just the kind of place Ojai is. The kind of town where, if you feel the need to get away from the lube-industial-complex, you might just find your neighbor squeezing their aloe vera and bottling some homemade personal lubricant in their kitchen.
Ojai Day did not disappoint. First, something truly fabulous happened to me.
I went to the smelly Starr Market (ask anyone in Ojai about the Starr Market and they will say the same thing: "It's smelly." It is also fully carpeted, which is an odd thing in a grocery store, isn't it?) to buy something small and to get money back from the transaction, since I was not about to give those bastards at B of A $2 for an ATM transaction.
And I found this:
Oh joy of my heart! The Holy Grail! RED tic-tacs.
The cashier and the bag boy were laughing at my unrestrained happiness. They acted like red tic tacs are an everyday event in Ojai.
I bought ten packages - the most I felt it was seemly to make off with at one time - and I even gave one to CC, because that is the kind of super excellent friend I am - the kind that gives up The Most Valuable Thing in All The World.
After some vegetarian bratwurst (me) and rattlesnake and rabbit bratwurst (CC and Ish) we went down to the beer garden to sit in the evening shade under the sycamores. It really is a beautiful place.
We sat on plastic chairs and listened to some Irish music and predicted who was finally going to be the first person to dance (it was no one, BTW. It's HARD to get white people to dance. Besides, the music all sounded like "When the Devil Went Down to Georgia").
We made fun of this lady's croc-like shoes.
Turquoise crocs with thick soles and white socks? Say it isn't so.
Then the Naked Chick showed up. What, your town doesn't have a Naked Chick? Ojai does. She has a splendid suntan and a bicycle, and she rides around naked all the time.
There is nothing that adds to the festive atmosphere of a beer garden like a cute naked woman wandering around! Everyone took it in good spirits. Guys peeked from around the corner of the beer trailer and laughed with their buddies. Five teenagers lined up to take their photo with their arms around each other's shoulders like she was a rockstar.
On the way home, Jerry, who was a few beers to the wind, said "But that's not right! What about the kids? How are you gonna explain naked to the kids?"