Sunday, September 12, 2004


Leaving L.A. initiates a calm awaiting the impending reentry into dread. Not real dread, but. The respite of escape allows the mind to look back with a wider and deeper breadth. The dread comes when experience and progression finally get perceived, if only vaguely. Three months passed so fucking fast. A way of speaking affected from unclear sources. Is he a faggot, from the East Coast, rich, poor? And no one cares really.

Santa Barbara gives new shape to the term “bourgeois.” The people there are “nice and stupid” to use the words of my friend and host for the weekend. And such generalizations are sweeping and perhaps unproductive (hey, fuck productivity). There are some smart graduate students there. I stayed with a few.

But the decadence of the place is infectious. Its perfection, its amenable and laxed aesthetic (the mellow sun’s hum imbuing everything, the cleanliness, the kindnesses of strangers, craftsmen houses and higher up, compounds worthy of the best of the well-heeled with taste). The place is tasteful. A nice place to die. A nice place to be youngish too I guess. A nice place to visit, for it’s not too far removed from L.A. to seem foreign but it’s rather foreign enough. A less pretentious South Bay empowered by the summer sun rather than oppressed by it. And white, white, everyone’s so white. But not oppressively so because here, the division of labor, the hegemonic structures that fret in the soil remain in the soil, quietly festering beneath the manmade pond with this raggled duck that looks half chicken (dubbed a “Chuck” or a “Dicken” by my associates… I prefer Dicken for many reasons) and makes you wonder why this duck decided to live its life here with this one other duck and why don’t other ducks live here or maybe there’s a person or people who take care of that and make sure the park duck population is perfectly small and quaint. I pray for the duck infestation, thousands flying from every reach to stake their claim and relish in the easy warmth of Santa Barbara Botanical Garden Bliss. They’ll never let that happen. God bless them for that. For I can sleep at night knowing that there’s at least this place were thousands of people can live a clean, relaxed, rustic (to them… so so clean to me) existence, where men freely walk shirtless displaying muscles, chests so shapely and ample I wanted to leap from the moving car and weepingly supplicate myself before these bronzed gods of pecs and abs and saunter and sweat. No no. What’s come over me. No. Yes. Yes.

Then the return after the, yes I guess it is, the exorcism. Not better rested, but presented with the well-needed foil. Pros and cons to the life I live. I liked it there, but I like my friends there, not the place. I like my life here. And driving south on the 101, returning for the first time to my home in the heart of the city, I felt good and comfortable and glad to be back, reinfused, injected into the yearning vein of motion and fast-time, of vanity and mental sterility, of sickly wealth and embarrassing poverty and every shade of gray in between. And I poured myself a strong glass of vodka and cranberry juice. Some call it a Cape Cod. I call it a Vodka Cranberry. I call it home.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It must be a sort of strange curse to live in Santa Barbara or any place known as a paradise because no matter how true you are to yourself, no matter how much you've carved your own individuality, you always find yourself fighting the stereotype and apologizing about living in a place others can only dream about. There's a certain self-loathing that's inevitable to any sensitive thinker living in Santa Barbara and certain inevitable self-righteousness about living in gritty Los Angeles. Provincial pride is a very dangerous thing.


9:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SB is a little less then 30% hispanic in town, and 40% in county. Goleta is 45% hispanic and Carpinterial 75%. So I'm not sure where you get the white white white thing, maybe it's just your friends.

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, SB is diverse, as one reader indicates, but this reader seems too eager to dismiss our blogger as a dude who only hangs out with whites. Our blogger, after all, was discussing Santa Barbara's whitness, its wealth, its salient character that makes SB so visible and so coveted by so many. Our blogger was critiquing a prominent strain of SB and alluding to the often scary sterile aspect of living rich and insulated. Thus for the reader/critic to take a shot at our blogger as being blind or stupid or simplistic or too prone to hanging out with only whites is to reveal more about the reader than the blogger.


2:29 PM  

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