Thursday, March 23, 2006

I Miss the 101.

I wish I could see New Jersey in the same way I see California. I mean, I guess that’s impossible, because New Jersey is home, and California is where you go to not be home, and then there’s that kid we met, who goes to Jersey every Summer because he gets tired of Laguna Beach (aw, the fact that that’s also a TV show title really threw off my italicization for emphasis, there), which I guess proves something profound. But still, having just returned from the land of the In-N-Out Burger, I have to report that California is severely awesome, not just “vacation awesome” – as in, if you forced me to move there tomorrow, the only complaint I’d have is how they sometimes refilm the screwed-up SNL skits for the west coast, reducing them to only half as funny as when Peter Sarsgaard’s hotel TV suddenly turned off, and, for the sake of the script, they had to pretend it was still on, and he was reaching behind it while saying his lines, and you could see someone running by the camera, and Rachel Dratch’s train of thought got lost in the chaos, so there’s this long pause and suddenly she’s like, “WOW, LOOK AT THOSE SHRIMP!” and I was, like, crying.

Wait, what? Oh, right, no offense to home, because that’s what it is, after all – where the greatest percentage of people who know my name are waiting for me [cue the Cheers theme song] – but, everyone I could never not miss, aside, I would not have minded missing the flight back, even if it meant finding an apartment where I’d probably have more room to move if I chose to live in the closet, while waiting tables with all of the other aspiring-something-or-others and always keeping an eye out for the nearest door frame on account of the earth shaking about a bit, from time to time. Because even driving to nowhere is oddly inspiring on the west coast, and, somehow, you get to say, “I am a writer” rather than, “I want to be a writer,” there (speaking of which, realizing the steep population of wannabe writers was surprisingly “en” rather than “dis” on my couraging level – maybe because no one knows how to respond to “I wanna write for TV,” in Jersey, but in California, you get a “Me too!” rather than an eyebrow-raise). And because, if nothing else, it turns out my music matches the scenery a lot better on the west coast, which…means more than you might think.

And, chances are, a majority of the people who live in California, right now, would be like, “Yeah, you’d think, but…” upon reading this. They’d probably say something about the pollution, or how insular everyone is, or that the weather isn’t quite as awesome when it’s all you get, all year ‘round. To which I say: First of all, it’s not like the cars over here are emitting gusts of happiness into the atmosphere, so I’ve never understood complaint…secondly, if there’s one thing I learned, last week, it’s that most people would love to tell you why they are who they are, if you just ask (I’m not sure if they’re friendlier than we’re used to or we’re friendlier than they’re used to, but I’d put my money on the latter, and anyone from around here is included in that “we”), so you might want to try that, sometime, Californian…and lastly, shut up about that, because it was 30-something degrees when we got home, and, just – say one more word about your boring weather and I’ll hit you.

But, for now, I’ll try to see things over here in the same way that I saw things for the past week, and remember that a good amount of people probably wish they were just twenty minutes from New York (which is, also, awesome), right now. And also that some kid in Laguna Beach thinks our shore is worth the trip. Still, though: Sigh.

Background Noise: Rogue Wave’s California. No, it’s not the OC theme song. And, actually, the lyrics are pretty down on the place, but I’d like to think the “Lead us there” counteracts the resentment. Either way, it’s the saddest-sounding song I know about California, so it fit both the entry and the flight home, well enough. iTunes it. [Disclaimer: The existence of this new addition pretty much relies on my ability to find a song that matches whatever I’m posting about, so…there’s no guarantee I’ll be able to keep up with it, but here’s hoping.]