The rumors are true: I’m outta here. I can’t cut it. I can’t make the thing work. Oregon has no jobs to speak of, and Lord knows I’m bored out of my mind having no food and no money in this super-hip neighborhood that, try as I might, I don’t understand the appeal of. And let’s face it: I was always more California than I was Oregon. I’m sorry if that sounds obnoxious, dude, but it’s true as heck.
I have spoken at great length to various representatives of the city and state that I live in, and the situation seems dour. They seem just as surprised as anyone else that this pocket of the world has gotten hugely popular overnight. Hell, I just moved here because it was a half a day’s drive up from where I had been before, and it seemed nice enough. But then of course tens of thousands of other bummed-out creeps just like me had the same idea, and there’s hundreds more getting off the bus from some midwest nowhere every day, so here we are, huh.
If I really wanted to, I could sit down and use math to prove my standard of living isn’t as good as it was in Oakland—which I always have to remind myself is part of the Bay Area, which is frequently cited as hands down the most expensive metropolitan area in the entire country. So, yes, another obnoxious statement: My life is quantifiably worse than it was six months ago. The only thing I’ve got going for me is that I can fearlessly walk the streets alone at night. But then, so what? I still have bills to pay, and my refrigerator is still going to be empty when I get home from aimlessly brooding!
How did this happen? I scream-wonder. If you had asked me how I ended up here in the first place, I would have told you, “Well, I reckon I just wanted to be able to go somewhere to save a little bit of money.” Fat chance, baby! I began to realize that I had stepped into yet another pit of money-eating quicksand when I realized I worked with a girl who has a master’s degree. And that everyone else supplements their income by growing and selling pot. The gig is all just song and dance to them! They make their real money secretly. I mean, that’s just America for ya, though hey, it sure didn’t make me feel any better about anything. Also, whoa—I definitely didn’t realize how bad state taxes were here. Federal included, Oregon ice-cream-scroops out a quarter of my paycheck in taxes. Uh! How is anyone supposed to Be Alive here? (Or anywhere??)
It’s a bad beat, no question. And I’m not going to stick around to see how much worse it can get. So much for that. I lived inside of it as long as I could. It’s time to head south again, and try my luck at something else. I have many friends in the Bay Area, and God knows these lovely people are always trying to help me out. A few of them have said to me: “Put in an application here, and I’ll do what I can.” Well, why not? That’s exactly what I’m going to do. Be it the Bay Area or Los Angeles, or wherever else has jobs, that’s where I’ll go. Fleeing Oregon for California because Oregon is too expensive? Hah! Whoa. What??
Before I go back to whatever it is I ever do: Thank you to the Belgians for sending me Belgian eyedrops! I can’t read the wording on the label, but I dripped the stuff into my eyes anyway. Unfortunately my eye problems are retinal in nature, but I’ll be damned if these drops don’t bring me a little relief anyhow. And thank you to the Brit who sent along some scratch and a letter of encouragement. Thanks, dude. I definitely bought a whole bunch of peanut butter with that. And thank you to Tracey and Ella, who helped me out with groceries. Good God. You really are all fine and wonderful people. I don’t deserve such good friends!!!
I should know if my health insurance application finally went through early next week. Then I’m going to see a retina specialist, and then I’m going to get my eyes fixed. I have mentally prepared myself for the more-than-likely scenario that I’m going to have to get shots in my eyeballs. In fact, if that is the worst thing I have to endure, then I’m ready to have a thin sharp rod shoved into my peepers. My dad has gone through it a few times, and he says it’s not all that bad. I told the retina people, “I’m worried, man. My optometrist doesn’t even know what it is.” And the guy on the other end says, “Oh, we’ll know what it is.” That made me feel a little better, I guess. He told me my appointment will last three to four hours. I reckon it’s comprehensive as hell. I just hope I don’t have to pay for it.
And then, hey presto, I’m going back to California.
Once, many years ago, I told my shrink that I wouldn’t be seeing him for a few weeks, because I was going to be visiting my buddies in California. He had been my age in the 1970s, and so I guess the first thing that came to mind when a sad person told him they were going to California was that Led Zeppelin song. He said, “Goin’ to California with an achin’ in your heart, huh?” And I said, “Yeah.” And he said, “Yeah.” And then I got up and left.
Well: There you go.