Saturday, May 2, 1987
I repair leaky faucets and work on a blocked drain at a house in South Palo Alto. While working, I chat with Jane, a woman slightly younger than me. It's a very normal house, and Jane is a very normal woman. She says she works at Alza, the drug company, while completing a master's degree at Santa Clara University.
While chatting we discover to our mutual surprise that she grew up in Big Pink, the house right next to mine in La Honda. Big Pink is the opposite of a normal house, and La Honda is the opposite of a normal town.
Jane says, "It was my mother who painted it pink." She sighs.
Jane's teenage years in Big Pink were the Ken Kesey years in La Honda. As teens still do today, Jane hung out at the bridge next to Apple Jack's while Hells Angels and crazy people roared in and out of town.
Jane says Kesey had no effect on her life, not really. She says, "It's like how I imagine it would be living next to Disneyland. People come there from all over the world, but if you live there, you never go. It's just something that's there. I mean, the world is a very weird place. Only your family seems normal. And then you grow up and realize how weird they were, too. Like painting that huge house pink in the middle of a redwood forest."
"You're not weird."
"Thank you. Nobody's weird. Not even you."
"Not even me?"
"I mean, look at you. You're obviously college-educated and you're cleaning my toilet drain."