Dealing with the aftermath of the car accident has been exhausting. It’s been dragging on for a month already. Just since New Year’s Eve, that is, this past weekend, I’ve become aware of two sleazy fill-in-the-blanks form letters threatening me with storage costs that Farmers mailed to me at my parents’ house while we were all traveling on the West Coast. The first of these letters threatened, on behalf of the third-party shop where I’d left my car, to assess storage fees against me. The second letter advised me that I had already incurred storage fees of $1,700 for what looked like eight days’ storage, which would work out to over two hundred dollars per day. I did not appreciate having an extremely prominent insurance company put me into a panic by blindsiding me after the fact with what looked entirely like a legal emergency arising from a valid claim against its policyholder. No one had followed up with me by phone or e-mail to ensure that I had received the letters and was aware of their contents, even though I had repeatedly been in touch with Farmers agents by both phone and e-mail and they had full working contact information for me. My dad and I basically had to imply threats of legal action over the phone to get the current lead adjuster to realize that there had been a serious fuck-up that we would not allow to stand.
San Diego has been exhausting, too. No, I’m not masturbating in the streets. I’m not even walking around the Gaslamp making cat noises to strangers, which is in my experience a much more established local practice than getting naked and jackin’ it. The prevailing community standards downtown are whatever the prevailing community of your mind would like them to be. By this, of course, I refer mainly to the minds of people who lost theirs long ago. It’s a strong downtown mental health community we have going around here.
It’s a lot of shit to process, and I have a really weird personal history in San Diego, both city and county, which I can’t entirely put out of my mind for the moment in order to look at the other fucked up locals clearheadedly. Heh. Out of my mind. I’ve met people here who know Kevin Faulconer. I also hung out around the campfire with that guy who thought Jamul was the apostle closest to Jesus. As Nixon always said, Christ. To put a tentative theme on it, what gnaws at me about San Diego is the feeling that this is paradise and it’s been colonized by people of bad moral character and truly atrocious civic character. I’m not referring to the bums, who could easily die of exposure by sleeping rough over the winter in other parts of the country. It’s no exaggeration to say that some of them need to be here. I’m referring to the caterwauling bro squads, who don’t usually communicate explicitly like cats, and the drunk bitches who do and the shamelessly spoiled sorority girls who act like it’s a party foul if anyone gently nudges them towards adulting and the pulsating mass of bourgeois supremacists, of various nominal subcultural persuasions, who casually elide the existence of San Diego’s nonwhite population because they confuse their own northside beach bubble with the entire county. The bums don’t have clout; these shitheads do. This isn’t San Francisco. Hell, San Francisco these days is hardly San Francisco.
The poverty and desperation that I’ve been seeing around here over the past week or so isn’t objectively as bad as what I’ve seen in other US cities by a long shot. For some reason, though, the homelessness problem somehow seems worse and more intractable than in Sacramento, for example. Or, as SDPD Lt. Ernesto Salgado put it, “Other cities are fairly soluble compared to the city right now.” Yes, he was a police commander, and yes, he actually said that to a Union-Tribune reporter. I was rejected by a fucking shitshow, and when I really stop to think about it, I know it. Similarly, when I stop to think about Sacramento Regional Transit, I recall that it is much heavier on wiggers, hood rats, and other sketchy trash during off hours than MTS. Sac has a more organic and coherent old-line Italian community around 58th and Folsom than San Diego has in its dolce vita district of Little Italy, the latter’s impressive aesthetic production value notwithstanding, but East Sac isn’t worth a pot of shit for keeping other Sacramentans from living in tents along the American River for years.
I’m definitely processing some shit. If you don’t want to hear about it, go read something else, I guess, maybe Dubai Porta Potty. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of what I’m perceiving of San Diego’s relative position in the third world. Not entirely, anyway. It should be easier to deal emotionally with what I’m seeing after all the time I’ve spent in Reno. Now, there’s a shithole with (usually) affordable lodging that I’m not itching to revisit.
That’s another weird thing I”m trying to process internally: I feel stuck in a place that I enjoy, mostly, in spite of whatever the hell is going through my head from minute to minute, at least when I’m not in one of the really bad built environments (daytime on the 929 bus is a hellscape), and I feel no positive reason to leave it, but I also have this weird feeling that I somehow don’t belong here, even though lodging prices indicate that I very much do belong here pending credible job prospects somewhere else. Part of it is that my parents ask worriedly where I am and why I’m still in San Diego. Like, because you flew back east from here, I’ve got a good deal on lodging, and I’m still homeless? They’d ask the same fucking thing about Reno or Redding or Tahoe or Fresno or any number of rest areas. They don’t actually do anything much with the information, from what I can tell, except worry about it.
I guess I’m just another surplus American hanging around, waiting for something better to come along. Maybe the bay will wash it up in front of me. Hell if I know. Looking for work and crashing up against wall after wall is exhausting, too. This is definitely not a good place to go looking for a professional class worth joining, although Sacramento and the Bay Area seem even worse. I came back to California more or less in time for a three-generation low in civic responsibility, but again, I lives here; can I come in? I’m as proud of myself for continuing to vote in California as I am of whoever shit on the sidewalk around the corner from Santa Fe Depot for shitting on the sidewalk. We’re both doing our civic doody. We’ve been smelling what the rest of the California electorate has been cooking for years now, even decades, and it’s foul. It’s time for us to return the favor and make them savor the flavor.
Guy Fieri be with you, too. It’s probably worth jack shit to me socioeconomically, but like Laird Hamilton, Taylor Swift, Taylor Kinney, Dana Rohrabacher, Kevin Faulconer, and that East County hillbilly who always admired the Apostle Jamul, we have acquaintances in common. Shit, I forgot: I actually met the last guy and hung out with him. Faaaaaahhhhk. I really have to wonder about some of the people who invite me into their lives. There may be reasons for the invitations, but I can’t see how they’re classy or comforting. The tribe you try to choose may be much more encouraging than the one that tries to choose you.
It’s Three AM (Mountain Time) (almost), I must be crazier than Rob Thomas, but I’m doing insurance business with adjusters on both Central and Eastern Time now, which doesn’t make any sense, either. What the fuck, Skoda? You’d better cover that.