As it got dark last night I walked along the road heading towards Big Sur. The main thought running through my mind was where I was going to set up my camp for the night. I only had about 30 more minutes to hitch until it would be too dark. I continued to trek forward hoping to find a beach only turning around to the sound of tires fast approaching on the road. I turned around as I had before extending my arm, thumb out, with a smile on my face, as a brand new BMW approaches. The car slows down and pulls onto the shoulder. I run down the road towards the 5 series juggling my gear. I open the passenger door. Sitting in the drivers seat is a very large and built man, bald with a large beard. He’s wearing a loose tank top with a low cut neck and very short shorts. He opens his mouth and his homosexuality fills up his car. He introduces himself as Steve and he’s gay as gay can be. There’s six unopened bottles of wine in the back seat. He clearly has already planned out his evening. I am hesitant to get into the vehicle. The last time I took a ride from a man with a similar manner about him I had the awkward situation of having to turn down sex. Steve is not the same man though so I decide to give him the benifit of the doubt. He quickly invites me to his house for wine as we pull away from the curb. Alarm bells start to ring. I ask myself, is it him or just the commonalities to the last situation that has made me nervous. I tell him I’m really just looking for a place to set up my tent. He offers his backyard, but can tell I’m uncomfortable with his propositions. Without pause he tell me that he’s gay and asks if I’m at ease with his sexuality. I tell him that I am, but put a strong emphasis that I only need a place to set up my tent. He laughs and tells me that he’s had a partner for the last ten years. I calm down and agree to join him at his home; a backyard will be more secure than the road. He tells me friends will be joining us for wine and that most of them are straight. It doesn’t take long till we arrive at a mansion that must be 10 million dollars or more. As we walk through the doors into the massive entrance I apologize for my initial reaction and explain my past experience. He is totally understanding and says that he is very faithful to his partner so I don’t have to worry, but that being said that he does think I’m very attractive. I thank him for the compliment.
I’m sitting at a table with a glass of wine and a juicy pork chop sandwich. Behind me is a wall of windows that look over the coast line. To my right is Steve and the former main stuntman for Smokey and the Bandit, David. And to my left is a gay social worker, Jimmy, who keeps keeps making witty jokes and looking at me for approval and Steve’s partner’s father, Joe. Joe has dementia and Steve is taking care of him while Paul is out of town visiting friends Steve is “not really into.” Conversation darts from recent movies to cocaine use to the different Bently’s that litter the neighbourhood.
Now I’m back in the passenger seat of the sleak BWM. I ended up sleeping on the couch, which was convenient as the morning offered a surprise shower. Steve has driven me all the way through Big Sur. He has nothing better to do. He retired 15 years go at the age of 30 and Paul is not back till the evening. The journey has been nothing short of amazing. We have listened to song after song of top 40 and every turn of the California Coast is frustratingly beautiful. It seems every turn out and vista point deserves to be pulled into. There is literally a pull out every 100 yards, but we don’t take the time to pull into one. I have much further to journey today.