Escape from Orange to the city of San Diego

“I’m not complaining but …” BEEEEP BEEEEP BEEEEP BEEEEP…

If someone starts a sentence with “I’m not [insert undesirable action or tendency here] but…” they are. Whatever they’re “not”, oooh, they so are.

So let me be straight about one thing: I’m complaining. I admit that Orange is peaceful, safe, so crime-free that I sometimes feel the urge to remove the tracking device from the back of my neck.

Unfortunately, peaceful places make me feel like a total freak.

I was finishing a project in Starbucks on September 9th, when I realised the place was full of ex military. They mostly wore biker jackets with creepy naziesque eagles on them. But this guy was hanging out with an ex-war-buddy, spinning conspiracy yarns based on books, movies and music. Scary and almost like a left wing version of Fox News.

I’ve rarely felt like an outsider as badly as I did this September 11th, a day on which the sounds of celebration of what right wing Americans call “freedom” and other people call “war” seems to increase in volume until it’s pretty much deafening.

From the militaristic overtone so of the whole thing it seems to me that it’s not so much freedom being celebrated, or the lost lives of 911 being mourned, as the freedom to bomb the people they were already planning to bomb, but without feeling guilty about it anymore.

I left home in a pretty good mood – I’d conquered the Friday blues with a quick pop in at a party, and due to the fact that I no longer have a proudly South African alcohol tolerance, get drunk on two beers and therefore can’t get a hangover anymore, I was feeling good. But by the time I hit the highway I was overcome with loneliness and desolation.

From feeling a little alienated by the site of scary eagles on biker jackets and other forms of nationalistic displays, I went to missing my friends (you know, someone who would understand) and from that to musing on love…

And in somewhere along the I 5 South going 70mph through wild west landscape covered in malls, I wondered if I would ever have the courage to get my heart broken again.

I stopped here, found these two guys in white Ts and black pants feeding the gulls under the DO NOT FEED sign. The rest stop was like a lift to a medical centre. Nobody spoke. Everybody seemed a little bit suspicous.

The light kept shifting.

Then I realised it’s pretty sad that I assume that that is how it would end.

Then I realised that although that was sad, what was even sadder was that nobody had come close to breaking my heart for years. Because you have to actually have one to break – you have to fall in love. You have to be prepared to risk something.

And since sometimes you just don’t find the sense to laugh at your own self pity, I cried all the way to San Diego, listening to Radiohead and wallowing in it.

But when I arrived in the city of San Diego I felt instantly better. Finally here I was in a place with as many rainbow flags as Orange has Marines recruitment posters. The coffeeshops aren’t all chains. The names on buildings and election posters aren’t all english. And the whole place doesn’t look like it was built yesterday.

Stopped here to look up the location of my lousy, overpriced motel. America is seriously lacking affordable accommodation for people who don't want diseases.

The toilet at Filter coffeehouse. I could have stayed there for hours, crying about my life, except that two guys kept knocking on the door. Ok, I'm sorry, even as tasteless gay jokes go, that was bad.

Thanks America, for restoring my faith, just when I was losing it completely.


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One Response to “Escape from Orange to the city of San Diego”

  1. Tweets that mention Escape from Orange « Jean Barker's Sign Language -- Says:

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