I spend too much money at Caleb’s in Penn Valley

I read a book called the Automatic Millionaire and the author did the math on going out for coffee, even three times a week. in five years it amounted to something like 20,000$.   

So I have lived in Penn Valley for 5 years, and I’m not saying I come to Caleb’s three times a week but I estimate that Jeromy Laurin, the owner has probably earned about 15 grand off my household.  Between the ice cream and the bagels and the juices and the exceptionally awesome coffee, Jeromy has probably done quite well by us.  

Downtown Penn Valley has a bunch of nothing in terms of places to hang out.  Jeromy and his wife, Sarah, named their little ice cream and coffee shop after their son.  Jeromy is probably one of the happiest people in Penn Valley, as far as I can tell.  He laughs and manages to banter with even the grumpiest of retirees.  

I’d say 90% of Jeromy’s customers are regulars, he seems to know pretty much everyone by name.  When hipsters come in I feel tempted to ask them if they are lost and need directions.  

There are two gentleman who occupy the barstools daily.  They sort of remind me of over 65 versions of  Jay and Silent Bob from the Kevin Smith movies.  One of them just watches and they other one provides a running commentary.  Silent Bob occasionally chimes in with: God, you are embarrassing.  Eavesdropping at Caleb’s is highly entertaining.  

It is a tradition at Caleb’s to read from the Union’s police blotter out loud.  

last night: 8:27 pm a caller from the 200 block of Sutton Way reported her neighbor was attempting malicious mischief and was jumping up and down, causing light fixtures to break.

10:31pm a caller from the 1000 block of North Ponderosa Way reported coming home and finding her door open with the lights on.  (really, nothing taken, nothing broken, still worthy of a call to the police, knowing full well it will show up in the blotter the next day?)

 Often, the police are responding to a dispute over the existence of aliens or because someone’s livestock is too noisy.  Seldom do the police arrive to discover the perpetrator still on the scene.  It’s a really easy way for us to celebrate the fact that we live in a small ass town.  There is also a poetic quality to the language which I think deserves a little recognition.  

Regularly, politics comes up at Caleb’s but it never seems to get heated. Maybe the hardcore political conversations take places at June’s.  It often seems to me that people agree more than they disagree, no matter where on the spectrum they happen to sit.  It always seems to wrap up with a chuckle over how absurd the world is.  

Sarah also owns the Blue Cow Deli down the street, so people will roll into Caleb’s in the morning, caffeinate, and then roll over to the Cow for a sandwich.  There are probably even some people who roll back over to Caleb’s for ice cream.  The Blue Cow is honestly the only restaurant I eat at in PV.  It’s healthy and reasonably priced and fast.  Sarah and Jeromy have a knack for hiring nice people.  

I find that when I pick up Blossom from daycare, I have to distract her when we get close to Caleb’s or she will start intense negotiations for ice cream.  I admit, I let her win.  


Job Hunting

Today I went to Sacramento for two purported marketing jobs.  What “marketing” means  is really sales, but most employers don’t tell you that you will be going door to door selling office supplies or working at trade shows giving away promotions for casinos.

Once when I was 20 and I first moved to Santa Cruz, another bleak job market, I answered an ad in the paper for a sales position in the paper.  This was pre-internet. I drove down to Monterey to discover that I would be going door to door selling vacuum parts.  Not even whole vacuums, just vacuum parts.  I feel kind of like that now.

I’m an artist who has finally made the concession that art is not a job, and call me bougie, but I can’t sell something i don’t believe in: you should see this casino!  It’s opulent! and cheap at the same time!  You should pay the 399.00, take your family, load up on cisco food and dump all your savings into a slot machine!  It’s sooo much fun!

Here’s the horrible thing: I would do this job if it had anything to do with writing AT ALL.  I could sell bullshit all day long as long as it gave me a chance to craft the language.  And of course, I got paid.

But I can’t work 10 hrs a day and never see my kid and live in the big box burbs AND make no money.  That would be a serious step down in my and kid’s quality of life.

This is the funny thing, on the way back from Sac I stopped at Carpe Vino ( really needed a glass of wine) and i started chatting with a lady at the bar.  Turned out we both live in Penn Valley and we compared notes about living in Nevada county, how people here definitely bring their B game when it comes to efficiency, but there is so much art, culture, so much potential.  She asked me what I do and i told her I write, mostly fiction but I’m trying to break into marketing etc.  She asked what I love to write about and told her art was the thing I really loved to talk about.  It turns out she works at Center for the Arts in GV.  And she gave me her card.  Weird, I thought.  last week I was about to off myself because I was unhirable, this week I had 3 interviews only to discover that all of them were crap and then I bump into a neighbor who is essentially responsible for supporting artists in Nevada County.

So tomorrow, I go back to the One Stop and check out the postings.  Tomorrow I try to get a gig doing reception or waiting tables.  Or “marketing”.

Wouldn’t you rather I paint your picture with words, Nevada County?  Wouldn’t you rather I help bring this place into the 21 century in terms of fostering a lasting culture, a real reflection of all the amazing stuff that is happening here?  All you have to do is pay me.  Really.  40k. and maybe benefits.