Quite a bit of news escaped me in the last few days. I was dimly aware that Bono's recent lunchtime partner had added Charles and Camilla to his dining agenda as well. And I respected their trip to Louisiana, which may do some good:
Despite the inconvenience the visit caused to the recovering city, some residents said it was worthwhile.
Mary Prinz, 66, said she had thanked Charles "for coming and giving us some publicity. We need people to come down here and see how bad it is. Maybe the senators and congressmen from up north will come down now that he's led the way."
Charles and Camilla also went to the Cathedral Academy, a Catholic school in the French Quarter.
They were greeted by singing students, one of whom appeared confused about where Charles was from. "Is there a map around here so I could show him where England is?" Charles asked. None was easily available.
But what absolutely took me by surprise was the headline on the Marin IJ that greeted me on Friday:
West Marin Revved Up For Royals
Fred, a carrot-eating, 15-year-old pug dog that hangs out at the Old Western Saloon in Point Reyes Station, might have a date to meet the Prince of Wales.
Well, that's one of the rumors floating around the community in anticipation of a visit from Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who will be spending time at the town's organic farmers market Saturday.
"He is supposed to come over here for a pint or something; he wants to go into an old saloon, and he is interested in meeting our pug," said Kathy "Yummy" Sparling, who tends bar at the Old Western Saloon.
Which means, at this very moment, my county is hosting the visit! But it gets creepier:
The couple later were flying to San Francisco, where their tour is due to end Tuesday. On the royal duo's California itinerary is a stop in Bolinas, an outpost of artists, farmers and vintage hippies perched on the tip of a peninsula jutting into the Pacific Ocean, about 30 miles north of San Francisco.
But the couple shouldn't expect too much fanfare. A few days before the planned visit, the seaside village was mellow, from the sun sliding over the silk-smooth surface of the Bolinas Lagoon to the affable yellow dog stretched out on the floor of Smiley's Schooner Saloon, a local landmark.
"I've got a British flag somewhere," said Smiley's owner, Don Deane, as he mused over what to do in honor of the royal entourage. "I may fly that if I can find it."
I interviewed for a job with Don Deane! (He also runs the town newspaper.) If the royal couple stop by Smileys (And why wouldn't they? They seem to have the Old Western Saloon in the sites! Never too far from a pint are they?) then it is just going to be two degrees of separation between me and the Prince of Wales. And that's three degrees of separation between me and a whole lot of mess I don't want to think about!
Whatever could have possibly attracted Charles and Camilla to the Bay Area?
In Berkeley, it was the same scene witnessed in West Marin all week, a flurry of activity to primp and shine in time for an aristocratic inspection. Daria Curtis was one of many volunteers hauling around wheelbarrows and raking up leaves on Friday in preparation for the arrival of the Prince and the Duchess.
"We don't usually have volunteer days on weekdays. We usually have them on weekends," Curtis told KCBS reporter Janice Wright as she raked the one-acre garden and kitchen classroom created by renowned chef Alice Waters to promote healthy eating habits among school kids.
The rain had them running a little behind schedule.
"We're especially working on the more prominent paths, the things that are going to be more visible," Curtis said.
The school plans to give the couple a hands-on demonstration of the same organic farming techniques the kids learn.
"We're going to build a compost pile," said Curtis, "and we're going to process some of the amaranth and lemon verbena that we've harvested."
Building a compost pile. It's just a life of 24/7 glitz and glamour with the royals, isn't it?
But apparently, this is indeed the draw:
Bolinas has to be taken on its own terms: "You've got what you've got," said organic farmer Dennis Dierks, who runs Paradise Valley Produce with his wife, Sandy.
Bolinas' thriving organic scene is what attracted Charles and Camilla.
Oh YEAH…thriving organic scene. Yes indeed! This is how that one’s going to play out: after a visit to the Medical Marijuana Clinic, they’re all going to end up back at Lazer Nightsky’s goat farm, staring up at the vast starry night from the roof of Lazer’s ’77 Chevy van and doing that thing where you say a word over and over until it loses its cognitive meaning [try it with ‘window’next time] and you start giggling because the train of reality has just slipped a little off the tracks and revealed a limitless dimension of possibilities. I mean, if we’ve all just agreed that these sounds -- this ‘window’ -- means what it does...and it could have been any collection of sounds that we picked to mean...well dude! We can just, like, say anything and agree that it means anything we want and there’s nothing really linking the signifier and the signified is there? I mean, beyond our mutual consent, you know? And if we can wrap our minds around that, that’s when we’ll be free of the whole machine. Dig?
The FBI is dancin' with the junkies
All the straights, swingin' with the funkies
Across the floor and up the wall
We're freakin' at the freaker's ball, y'all
We're freakin' at the freaker's ball