End of the summer. New Haven, North Kingstown, Phoenix, Los Angeles.

The weather in North Kingstown was the best, but the Phoenix-Los Angeles aventura won at life — and it was all due to the hosts. An entire family of hosts that, sadly or not, represent my affaire de coeur of the season.

After approximately six hours evenly distributed among two airplanes and one stop in Detroit, I arrived in Phoenix. The reason for my visit was already there, looking like she does, sporting her long, blonde hair, framed in what I recognized as a new Gucci acquisition in the sunglasses department; smelling like she does, something that escapes my personal scope of fragrances, something that I’m sure must highly rely on her body’s innate ability to maintain a fresh, sweet scent at all times.

Hug, kiss, giggle. And at least on my side, also fulfillment. I was finally where I knew things couldn’t get any better. It was already August, but my summer had just started.

Hers is a family of four. An orthopaedic surgeon, her father seems to be the most serene person in the world. Her mother, a former theater major, may be as fun as a mom can ever get. Then there’s a younger sister who, oddly enough, reminds me of myself.

I was in Phoenix for only two days — probably the 48 hottest and driest hours I’ve ever had to endure. All the sand and xerophilous vegetation around the city made it feel as though the place had been intentionally decorated in a desert theme, a modern Wild West. But we filled our weekend with mainly indoor activities, namely Rock Band, an Indian-themed high school graduation, my allergy to fuzz, kachina dolls and Tarantino. And friends of friends. And botanical gardens.

On the third day, it was time for Los Angeles. Never had I ever been in a car for so many hours that went by so fast. We arrived at Gram’s house in the Valley, and soon I was meeting more members of the family. More of those people that make you feel as though it’s so easy to be happy, and why aren’t you yet? It doesn’t just happen to you?

Disneyland followed, with all the corniness the shiniest place on earth entails. Afterwards, the Getty Museum, Pacific Palisades, Gram’s birthday, Venice Beach, Melrose, Pink’s, The Grove. Close-ups, self-pics, full-bodies.

Fun. I was having fun in an environment where I would have never imagined myself feeling comfortable, or complete. It was my best friend’s family and we weren’t really doing anything exciting. I was pretty much an extra item, added to what would have been the most ordinary summer week in the lives of these people. And it was precisely this sense of this-is-what-we-do-even-when-you-are-not-here and the fact that I seemed to fit that made this the most average, non-awkward family experience. Because you never want it to be “Meet the Fockers” exciting.