05 January 2008

Looking Down the Barrel of Year Five

I'm currently looking down the barrel of year five in the OC. Hard to believe, isn't it?

I've been back in Portland for the last couple of weeks and I'm happy to say - it feels like I never left.

But I can't claim that living in Southern California hasn't changed me. Looking back on my initial reactions upon moving to Orange County, pretty much everything freaked me out. These days, I take it all in stride. For example:

A few months ago, I was in the OC waiting at a stoplight. As I idled at the intersection, three bearded guys on custom motorcycles pulled up next to me. Across the street was a Korean Presbyterian church, and behind it there was a horse trail. I'd never noticed the trail before, but all of a sudden, three people on horseback appeared. The motorcycle guys waved at the horse people. The horse people waved back - except for one who was on her cell phone. When the light turned green I was promptly cut off by a minivan with a bumper sticker that said, "Some Choices are WRONG." I thought nothing of this fairly odd encounter until later.

I was pumping "regular" at $3.69/gallon and it hit me . . . that was pretty bizarre. So I sent myself a text message reminder to blog about it later.

It will be interesting to see what 2008 brings. Orange County is one of (perhaps the most) conservative county in California. It floors me every time I see a sticker that says "Keep Congress out of Iraq."

Actually, no, I take that back. It floors me when I see an "Is it 2008 yet?" bumper sticker.

Regardless, I'll never get used to seeing people with more money than sense buying into whatever Fox News is selling. It's really horrifying. I know, it's all the more reason for me to volunteer for a Dem campaign. But I don't want to spend my Saturday getting in an argument with some right-wing shithead who believes Republicans are infallible (but can't locate Iraq on a map).

Speaking of maps, next time you're bored at work, try the Traveller's IQ challenge. The game starts off easy: there's a world map and you to locate places like Rome, Las Vegas, London, etc. It gets progressively more difficult: next you'll have to find Mexico City, Copenhagen, and Fenway Park. At level six it's asking East Timor, the Ivory Coast, Kodiak, and so on. I think level twelve is the highest, I got to level nine.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I saw Todd Haynes' new movie I'm Not There awhile back and I picked up an interesting quote:

The more you live a certain way, the less it feels like freedom

There are times . . . sometimes when I'm home, and sometimes when I'm in California . . . I wonder, "why the hell did I leave the best city on earth?" But the challenge of finding my way in a place that's so different has really been rewarding. Okay, it's not like California is another country but it's close.

Of course, no city is weirder than Portland, God bless it.

So begins year five in Orange County. I keep threatening to take the GRE. I even have the study guide CD-ROM! The problem is, I haven't worked things out much beyond:

STEP ONE: Buy GRE book
STEP THREE: Graduate.

Maybe this time next year I'll be planning my escape . . . or maybe I'll be taking advantage of that sweet, sweet in-state tuition deal. Or maybe I'll just stick with staying up into the wee hours writing rants and making obscene cookies.

Happy New Year everyone!

- MD


Unknown said...

Leaving Portland seems like a good idea at some point just to go experience something different and have new challenges and adventures. And then I think, "well maybe I'll find somewhere I like living better than here..I should really try"...then I realize I have everything I want here. It sucks because it's hard to go explore and I really need to. Damn Portland and being so fun.

starlagurl said...

Hey! Glad you like our game. You can chat about strategy and compare scores with other Traveler IQ addicts in our discussion group at http://www.travelpod.com/forums/index.php?showforum=118

Dinah said...

Happy New Year to you, doll! We're creeping up on Year 5 in LA as well, and it's trippy. When we first decided to move here from Seattle, I remember telling Mac, "We'll just stay for 5 years, MAX, and then we're outta there!" And now... I kinda like it. Go figure.