Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Paranoia in the Rearview Window

It's a cold and wet day outside the window where I sit today. It's the kind of cold that doesn't measure on a thermometer, a damp, chill that sinks into your bones and sits there. Even though it's warmer than it has been, the temperature reading doesn't mean much. It's in the wet rain that mists the air making things wet but falling so finely, it's almost invisible.

I think I've been complaining a lot lately. Whether it's a book that irritated me (yes, I'm talking to you, Story of Edgar Sawtelle), a movie or just the general blahness that hits in the deep winter months, I feel like I've been too negative.

I'm going to try to break out of that pattern. I actually did some writing last night. That was a good feeling. I know, I write on this blog every week day so, technically, I do write almost every day. Yet the type of writing I do in the evenings is different, it's fictional. It's much easier to babble about the world around me than make up something somedays.

It's Wednesday. That means it's closer to Friday and, if everything works out, I will have a three day weekend. Keep your fingers crossed that the title to my car arrives at the DMV this week. I'm starting to feel a little homebound. I drive to work from my home and back. Last weekend, I was daring and went a little further. Yet I keep alert to the possibility that at any moment a police car could pull behind me and see my license plates are technically expired.

So far, I'm doing ok with that. I'm ultra paranoid though. I have this picture in my head of a police car getting behind me and then I panic and suddenly turn off, my tires squealing as I do so. Then I get followed by the police and they pull me over and take my car away. Naturally, I think if I don't do anything ultra-obvious like, say, flee from the police in a dramatic manner, I might be ok. I can actually be quite rational in these situations.

However, if all goes as planned, I won't have to worry as of Friday afternoon. I will actually be able to drive proudly though I will be extremely sad to give up my California license plate. It's my mark of pride at the moment, my excuse for driving like a snail on snow, if snails drove, of course. It's my sign that yes, I'm not from around here, I'm a newcomer, be nice to me. Of course, at the moment, it's an enormous flashing beacon to police. It doesn't help that the expiration date of my plates isn't tiny like on the Ohio plates that I see every day. Instead, the year and month are on two rather large stickers, visible with 20/20 vision from the car behind me. I used to stare at those stickers a lot when I lived in L.A. and got stuck on the 10 freeway or the 101 as was the case when I moved there.

My first few years in L.A. were spent commuting from "The Valley" as it's known. I used to take the 101 and drive by the Hollywood sign daily, the Capital records building, the sights that look so glamourous in photos but border on seedy in real life. Then when I moved, I took the 1o freeway from a different valley. This commute was more boring but I had to pay more attention because the freeway split three times before I made it to my destination. Only a couple of times did I forget to split, finding my way into parts unknown and quickly turning around in case I got more lost.

Nowadays, my commute is easier. I hop in my car, turn left twice, turn right once and then turn into my parking lot. I'm always shocked that not only is it a quick trip but there's always parking spaces and I don't have to pay for them. I used to have to pay monthly in L.A. for the privilege of parking my car to go to work. These are some of the things I do not miss about Los Angeles.

Though there are some things I miss; I miss the heavy rains of February, the streets flooding with swell of the rain. I miss my friends, the quick trips to a movie where we'd make a dinner out of a hot dog and popcorn. I miss the fact that on any day, every movie currently in release is playing in the city somewhere. I miss the ocean and the trips to the English tea room I'd take with a friend after going to the Santa Monica pier.

Yet I'm not unhappy to be here. Now I have the chance of rain every day, not just during the 'rainy season'. I have my snow and the newness of the world it creates. I have my family, just a short trip away (unless the plates on my car are expired and I have a new life, one that's just begun. The discoveries I make every day are fun, from seeing a deer in the field behind my balcony to exploring a six-acre grocery store that keeps me in British goods without having to fly to the U.K.

I'm happy where I am but I'm happy where I've been. I'm curious where the road ahead lies.

Just as long as when I look in my rearview mirror, there aren't any police.

Happy Wednesday.

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