Appear-ance Loathing In The OC

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Hello from the Westcliff Starbucks, which is nowhere near a cliff, much less west of one. It seems to be really busy and really loud here for a Monday afternoon. Headphones make everything better. Well, everything but physical ailments.

Am I sick? Am I not? Between the stress of the recent big change and family induced stress (my parents lent me my dad’s car while I am down here and using that as a sort of bartering chip, even though my dad has progressed to the state of being very nearly unable to drive said car), I am a little stress monkey. Being a stress monkey, I have been smoking like a chimney. I believe the last time I smoked was about 4 or 5 months ago, and it was one or two cigarettes related to moving stress. Today, it looks like I have gotten through about half a pack in a little over a day. My throat really hurts and I feel like crap, with nasty sinus problems and hot/cold chills. I am not sure if this is due to the fact that I have not smoked this much in many-a-year or if I have that plague that is going around. Either way, I have a lot of Zen tea and C-Monster, along with some Sambucol. I think I will refrain from the smokes tonight, no matter how stressed I am.

Items to add to the TODO list:
* Grilled cheese, fries, and shake from In-n-Out Burger
* Something yummy-tasty-good from Mother’s Market
* Possible campy evening of bingo with the gang
* Rest
* Mitsua to see if they have the good kimchee and egg instant soup

Being away for awhile and then back again, there are a number of little things that I have noticed. Maybe I noticed them before and never made a big deal about them, but anyway I now see them in a new light. In The OC, people are plastic. I know I have said that before–we all have. I guess I did not notice it so much going to Boston and back again, but going to Portland and visiting, I can really see it. The vast majority of people strut around, acting as if they KNOW they are being watched, playing up their supposed glamour, flair, and plasticity. This seems to be in virtually everyone here–from the dude driving a lamborghini to the soccer mom driving the SUV to the “alternative” high-schoolers walking down the street. They are all cut from the same plastic mold, maybe customized a bit with reshaping and repainting and different clothes, but the underlying cookie-cutter fakeness always shines through.

Another thing I noticed is all the concrete. It really did not seem like so much when I was living down here. There is enough trucked-in greenery around–non-native palm trees, grass, etc. to mask the concrete. (This place used to be desert and swamp hundreds of years ago.) Compared to, say, Manhattan, this place is a veritable cornucopia of forest land. Compared to Portland and the outlying areas, it is a giant parking lot with sandboxes filled with greenery instead of sand. (All the sand happens to be down at the beach.)

Advertising is everywhere. Every street has billboards, every bus stop has an advert, and you tend to tune it out after awhile. In Portland, the city is a little too dense for billboards, and I think there is probably some kind of zoning in the suburbs that prevents blatant advertising. Heck, a lot of stores do not even have signs out on the street. After spending so long without adverts (I do not even watch broadcast or cable television), all this advertising is a little overwhelming.

Posted in: Dear Diary

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