Berkeley, CA – I met my daughter Haley in Rockridge for lunch. We wandered along College Avenue, deciding what type of cuisine we favored on an overcast Sunday afternoon. Burger and fries? No–too fatty. Mediterranean? Nope–too complicated. Finally we decided on Italian–comfort food. Pasta. Bread. And a dose of catchin’ up. We sat down at a window seat overlooking the frenzied pace of after Christmas shoppers. Dads pushing strollers, university students holding books, hipsters sipping hot cups of coffee.
“Welcome to Cugini Manzone,” said our server. ”You sure you want to sit by the window? There’s a cold draft coming in.” Haley and I looked at one another, happy to finally sit, and unwind. ”We’re good,” I said, speaking for us both. He raised his arm to write down our order and I did a Scooby-Doo double-take. ”Is that a California tattoo on your arm?” I asked, surprised as hell that someone would have the gumption to make a permanent declaration to the Golden State. ”Yup. Take a look at the ‘C’ — that’s my favorite part.” He stretched out his arm so I could take in the entire length of this California commitment.
“Wow,” I said and asked his name. ”Damn, Chris, what possessed you to get a California tattoo?” “Well my friend once had a tattoo of the entire state of California, and I always admired it. He passed away, so I guess you could say I got the tattoo in memory of my friend. Also, I love California.”
And there you have it. California. In ink. Forever.