Well, here we are at the first post of the summer. In truth this post should have happened many days ago. Normally, I post a lot more when I am travelling because of the random periods of downtime which give me an opportunity to blather on. But in my backlog of email, folks have been asking me how my trip is going. Here is my response.
California is a mess. You hear about how the State is in a bad way from the media, but any sceptic looking in would be hard pressed to believe that the situation is as doom and gloom as CNN claims. The tension here is palpable. Everyone is jittery, on edge. It was difficult for me to believe that this was the case even in lackadaisical places like Santa Barbara until I visited. Never mind Los Angeles or Irvine. And all reports say that the Bay Area is worse off.
You can blame it on the Economy (with the big ‘E’). But this has transmigrated to something else, I tell ya! This is a communal, regional, global mental hypertension. Paranoia. A psychological disability that spans the Pacific coast.
Normally, going west from Texas is always a relief. Running away from school, even with the electronic leash that I write this on, is perpetually gratifying. Not this time.
Don’t get me wrong, leaving Austin is always hard. Yet going back to the closest thing I have to a home has in the past made it somehow alright. But now I feel somewhat disconnected from the Southern California experience. The party is over, the lights came back on, and I just arrived.
All that said, it has been wonderful to see my friends and marvellous to spend time with my family.
I went to my favourite crepe place in Santa Barbara after I landed with my parents, Grandmother, and psuedo-grandfather. My psuedo-cousin from Morgan Hill, Garrick, came down later and visited me last Friday and then I saw the majority of his family at a Wedding Reception the next day. It made the whole transition very pleasant.
Sunday, I popped down to Beverly Hills to visit Shawn and his girlfriend Mal. We went to a couple of parks and walked a lot. They are both prepping for Graduate/Law school and seemed fairly stressed. Overall the transition will be good for them and I think they are excited. Shawn and I got some good face time later that night.
Monday through Thursday I was hanging out with my Mom in Santa Ynez, with side trips to Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez. I still don’t leave the house much when I am in Santa Ynez; some things never change.
By Friday, how stressed out everyone around me was finally got to me. I broke. In front of my Mom, which she didn’t really deserve. I apologized. I ran down to Santa Barbara quickly and had dinner with my cousin Aaron. From there I went to my Grandmother.
My Grandmother is currently on a vacation to New York so I drove her to her sister’s place in Manhattan Beach, where she was leaving from the next day. At 10:30 pm Friday night, I finally made it to Irvine. Rew, Twin, Jessica and I went out to dinner. I love these people!
Saturday my cousin, Jessica and I met up with Jessica’s friends in Pasadena for a hike. The hike was pleasant. We went to a waterfall and I hiked up to the top. However, a variety of other experiences (including uncooked food at a restaurant) marred the overall trip for me.
Today I went to Sunday Brunch with my brother Shane and two of his friends at a Texas-themed outfit in Newport Beach. He seemed stressed for a variety of reasons. It is his finals week, so this is understandable.
There was one incident this week the genuinely pissed me off though. Last Saturday, Sean fell 125 ft off of a waterfall cliff. Luckily, he is ok and miraculously managed to not break anything and last I heard was recovering fine. However, I didn’t hear about this until Wednesday night, when I emailed him about backpacking.
What?! In fact no one in my family heard. Sean is my brother; I would have been up there in a heart beat. I was three and a half hours away. I feel like I should be on the short list of people who get called first. Someone, somewhere should have gotten the word to me. I even talked to our mutual friends in the interim and they didn’t even mention it in passing.
So in summary, this trip has been fairly manic. The state and everyone in it, myself included, seem to be having drastic mood swings. I am really happy to see everyone, but less enthused that they are so perturbed otherwise. California might be becoming cheap enough to live in at the cost of not being liveable.