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CA trip, 2019

Some time has passed since I wrote anything here. A younger version of me would have been furiously documenting everything that has gone down, but as fun as it would be to relive a bunch of stuff going completely sideways and bad, just remembering it is enough for the current version of me. But for a tl;dr version of things: plans were to leave Seattle in January, then again around May, then things were in motion to leave in June and start a new life, only for plans to completely fall through less than 48 hours before my planned exit. Now I find myself still here after a chain of completely unexpected happenings, and here were are. In hindsight, having it go this way is better than the potential alternative of making these big moves and then having things sour, so even though some of the things that happened were hard to take, at least there weren’t also things like finding work or a place to live on top of that. So… it’s been kinda bad here, and while I was monumentally upset for a bit, now I just sort of shrug at the entire thing? Like, yes this sucks, yes it isn’t what I intended, but it could have definitely been worse. Even if things had gone according to plan, they likely would’ve been, knowing what I know now. So… yeah.

But, I’m not here to vaguely comment on a bunch of dead issues. Instead, I wanted to write about the trip I recently took back home to California. I’ve wrestled with the idea of whether I belong in Seattle for… basically the entire time I’ve been up here. Last year’s trip got the idea in my head that I don’t necessarily miss CA specifically, because there are many things I do dislike about it. It’s too hot, too expensive, everything is far apart so it takes forever to do anything ever, and there’s this general sense from people that is either slight unease or slight aggression (not sure which). But it’s home to me, despite all of that. It is the place I am most familiar with and is the place where nearly all of my friends and relatives live. So last year, I visited with people and was going with the theory of “this is a nice place to visit but I’m glad I don’t live here,” only to get off the plane in Seattle and be like, “this is a nice place to visit but… why do I live here, again?” This has been a constant battle in my head for almost two years, though I realize that these are not the only places in the world where I could live. Part of me still desperately wants to give Maui another shot, but aside from roadblocks stopping me from scheduling a trip there at least four times over the last 20 months, there’s the other factor that is a big one: when I lived there before, though it was a brief time, I had never been more lonely in my life, and I’m not sure I can hang with that again. But when I tell people that, they point to my current situation and go, “yeah, but you’re alone in Seattle and you’re lonely there.” Which, I know they mean that as a “you’re already going through the thing you’re afraid of” positive sentiment, but to me it’s like, yeah. I am, and it super duper sucks. So why would I want to purposely put myself in that same position? But then at the same time, I know it is unfair to rely on other people for your stability or happiness, especially if you have a history of being woefully incapable of reciprocating, so I think maybe it wouldn’t be a big deal. I don’t know. I spend a lot of time handling tasks alone at work, so I have plenty of time to do these mental gymnastics and drive myself absolutely nuts. Then I come back to the tiny box I live in and distract myself with an Olsen Twins video game or something until it’s time to sleep, just to avoid thinking about things nonstop. Some would say it’s as easy as picking a direction and going, but I feel like that’s what I did to get up here, and even though no major catastrophes have happened, I’m not sure if this was an overall positive experience? Maybe if I read this to a trained professional, they could explain why I’m such a dummy about this stuff.

Anyway, California trip 2019. I left from work on a Saturday morning and went straight to the airport, and on the following Friday night I went straight from the airport to work. The time in between was good and aside from a friend that was out of the country, I managed to see everyone I wanted to see. I also ate some good food, but did not go apeshit like I did last year (last year’s food excursion was horrifically unhealthy and bad, and I’m kinda tired of feeling like walking death, so I knew I’d be bad here but intended on not going overboard). No names in order to protect the innocent, but a day by day rundown:IMG_6752

(hello CA, thank you for not melting me right away)

– Saturday: pappy picked me up at the airport and it was cloudy and cool out. Swung by the old mall that was home to the anime shop of legend, only to find the comic shop that had been in the location, now replaced by an air force recruitment center. They could’ve employed anime still by incorporating that… you know that weird shit where they’re anime girls but their legs are plane wings or whatever? Anyway, I owed him a dinner from father’s day, so we went to this steak place. I had talked about having a steak all day, but sure did get pork chops instead, which was a good choice because they were wonderful. After months of only eating sandwiches or microwave garbage, real food was heavenly. Got back to the house and putted around until it was time to finally pass out at around the 21-hour mark. But I barely sleep, so it’s okay in CA too.

IMG_6769

(virtual Oahu will do for now)

– Sunday: visited relatives for a bit in the morning and into the afternoon. Less discussion along the lines of “how do you like it up there” and all of that. Only got slightly political, but even that was too much. Just vote the way you’re going to vote, don’t shower me with things you heard from fox news or whatever, and if you don’t vote, find a different axe to grind with life. Then we went and helped my grandmother buy a new fridge. I also called my friend in Arizona and though I don’t know her super well, she seems really cool online and has a cool voice. Got back to the house in the afternoon and had chili dogs, which aren’t the same when you eat them alone. I don’t know why, they’re just not. Then I referred to a list in my phone, which details which items I put into specific boxes in my bedroom closet. The goal was to dig out the hard drive with my digital copy of the game Test Drive Unlimited, as I’d been jonesing to play it, but not bad enough to pay secondary market prices since I already owned a copy. I could locate the actual hard drive but not its proprietary cable, so that was a no-go. But as it turns out, some kind soul put a copy on the internet, so I [ahem] borrowed that one. Good times.

IMG_6775

(okay, so I did go hard a couple of times, but it’s Del Taco so it’s okay)

– Monday: get my rental car, immediately head to wal-mart to see if guy who swaps out wrestling figures and returns the wrong ones in the packaging, was still up to his old tricks. They only had figures without accessories and/or clothing, so it looks like that stopped him. Good. To hell with that guy. Then I got a postcard for my friend in Arizona, and took myself on a Del Taco date. There’s technically one within driving distance up here in Seattle, but it isn’t the same if I’m not eating it in the den at my dad’s house. Why? I don’t know why. But I devoured me some Del Taco goodness and then mowed the back yard, which was mostly dead due to summer, but there were chest-high weeds and they needed an attitude adjustment. Handled that, did some laundry, then went out to meet a friend at the mall. We had Miguel’s Jr (more wonderful mexican fast food that I adore and would pay double for if they put it in walking distance of my current location), then just caught up for awhile. For the most part, we’ve kept current with each other, but there’s only so much you can text without it turning into your life story, and life stories are better told in person with mannerisms and whatnot. She’s been in a pretty tough spot with some personal stuff and some housing issues, but it looked like things were/are going to improve very soon, so that’s good. Oh, and I bought some Choose Your Own Adventure books too. Good day all around.

IMG_6776

(given to me on one of my darkest days, it has been on the fridge at my dad’s house ever since)

– Tuesday: got up and headed over to a see a friend I’d been estranged from for about three years. Things happened and we fell out of touch, but this is someone very dear to me and that never went away (see: the late March posts on this blog over the past few years, vaguely referring to someone). Over that entire span, I had recurring dreams of visiting her and her family, and things would be good, then I’d wake up and be bummed all day that it had not actually happened. Finally, I reached out a few months ago without knowing what to expect, but it was nice and we started talking again. It sounds sappy or whatever, but having this person back as a part of my life just feels good. It makes me feel better about… just being alive, I guess? So now we were going to see each other for the first time in forever, and it was hard to sleep and I was nervous about it. But it was a really nice visit. Just catching up on things, exchanging stories, and being so glad to be there after so much time away. Definitely one of my favorite people ever, and her family is always kind to me, and their dog remembered me. Her sister showed up at one point too, and it was nice to see her as well. I don’t mean to downplay anything else that happened during this week, but this was the biggest deal of the entire trip and it’s just nice to have my friend back. This is the person that, if I’m telling a story about anything I did for about an eight year span, she was there. Celebrity graves, apple picking, going to filming locations, tons of movies and little adventures into the mountains, and so on. The person I most wish my mom could’ve met before she died, and I even won a very small writing contest one time writing a letter to my mom saying as much. I told her mom one time that I feel like she is the friend I’d been waiting for my entire life, and I still think that. So to have this long standoff finally over, is great. But the story time did go super long (~12 hours, I had estimated ten and thought even that would be a stretch), so at some point I had to go back home, eat some leftover pizza, and sleep.

IMG_6811

(the common-in-CA-yet-elusive-in-Seattle great great drink)

– Wednesday: got up with the most dire need of Excedrin, so a trip to the grocery store was in order. I used to be there almost daily, so seeing it all rearranged was sure strange. Got Excedrin, Pepsi, ice cream, and a Tombstone pizza. They have Tombstone up here, but without an oven, they might as well not have it here. I like Tombstone because you can eat the entire thing and it’s like a fancy cracker. I know that isn’t true, but it’s what I tell myself to justify eating the entire thing since a Tombstone doesn’t really keep well in the fridge. Went out and mowed the front yard, which actually has some grass to it, then hosed off the house and the sidewalks. When I came inside, I think the heat caught up to me, as I was seeing stars and needed to go lay down in the dark. Got up a bit later and went to see another friend and have dinner, but I arrived early and so I decided to hunt for Manzanita Sol. In Seattle, I’ve only found $1 glass bottles at the three-story Target downtown. CA is good for giant-ass bottles of this wonderful substance, and no Seattle sugar tax, either. Met my friend at an Applebee’s and ate, rapped about manga and stuff, then headed outside because she’s got a really rough drive to and from work, and I didn’t want to keep her out too late. We wound up talking for like another hour, which I hope didn’t make the next day super tired for her, but I was glad to get the time. Out of everyone I know, she’s the one I wish I knew earlier and better. She’s smart and nice and just fun to be around, so I really regret not getting together more when I lived in CA. It’s nice that we can get together when I visit, though. After she headed home, I went to my old job to talk to some coworkers who are retiring soon. One is retiring next month. All I could say was, “must be nice, you fucker.” Talked with a supervisor there about what is involved in moving up here. I explained the process and then advised against it, though anyone looking for a job can definitely get in the door with my company, it seems. Then I drove back and collapsed into my makeshift bed.

IMG_6815

(not a cloud in the sky, aka heat death)

– Thursday: I rolled around in bed, not wanting to leave the house. Finally headed out around 9 am to meet an old coworker, at the building I’d just been at several hours prior. I wasn’t especially hungry and neither was she, so we went to a burger place I forget the name of. The burger was similarly forgettable. But we stayed in there talking and I had figured on maybe an hour, ninety minutes tops, and I’d be out by noon. It was 2:30 when we finally left. Most of that discussion was work related, some practical and some gossip. But she was always nice to work with, so it was good to catch up a bit. Then I headed back to see the friend I visited on Tuesday, because I was planning to turn the car in that day and just didn’t want to leave without stopping by again. I tried not to stay too long, because I’d turned up later than I had initially planned and didn’t want to take up too much of anyone’s time. But I miss that interaction. I miss those people and that house and it’s one of the few places in this world that I can say, “I feel good” and mean it. Which is weird to say about a specific room or yard or whatever, but it’s true. Then I said my goodbyes and cried about it the entire time. Then I cried about it the entire drive home. Heck, it’s making me cry now as I write about it, and it was almost a week ago. The rest of that evening is currently a blur in my mind, but I know I did laundry again because I didn’t bring enough clothes with me. As soon as I got clothes in the dryer, I went to sleep. At this point, the idea of coming back up here was giving me a great sense of dread.

(finishing things properly)

– Friday: got up and went to visit my grandmother for a bit. I gave her some of the story but not all of the gory details, and she said that some of my personality reminds her so much of my grandfather that it makes her want to slap me. Thank you, I guess? But the discussion ranged from, “if you don’t want to be up there, why don’t you just come back here?” to “don’t think you need to stay here for anyone’s benefit, only come back if it’s what is right for you” and so it left me just as mixed up about how I feel about all of this as I ever did. Went and dropped the rental car off, then walked back through my town to the house. Maybe two miles or so. It was hot, but not oppressively so. When I got back, I needed to hose off in the shower and then cool off before we headed to the airport. Polished off that Manzanita Sol because my blasphemous father said it didn’t smell good, so he wouldn’t drink it. Then we drove out to the airport and hit almost zero traffic, so I wound up there early. Cried as we said goodbye, and I think I just do that at airports? Maybe it’s normal, I don’t know. Then I quietly waited at the gate and ate these Combos that were not as good as the ones I had before the flight down. But then, if you told me there were both exactly the same and the bag is different solely to make you think you were eating a different flavor, I’d believe you. Landed in Seattle, drove to work and worked until about 2:30 am Saturday.

IMG_E6351

(if this sky were just 1200 miles south, this is easily solved)

– Saturday: got back to my place around 3 am, and was glad for having done all my chores before the trip. I put the dirty clothes in my laundry bag, put the luggage under the bed, opened the window to air this place out, then took a much-needed shower and attempted to sleep. Woke up a few hours later and needed toilet paper. So I walked to Uwajimaya and got a bunch of drinks and some food, then got back here and thought, “oh yeah… toilet paper.” It wasn’t a 100% out situation, but it could’ve gotten dicey if I found myself in the throes of gastrointestinal dismay. Just sort of sat here and watched stuff I already forgot, and tried to deflate from the trip.

So much talking, to the point that I had a sore throat by the time I got up here, but it was good to get a chance to tell my stories to people that I wanted to have hear them. It was also important to let people know that they matter to me. I had a friend that I ran into years ago at a store, an old coworker. I told him that I admired him and thought he was a good guy, someone I could really look up to and try to get good habits from. He was very modest about it and I don’t think he believed me, but I was serious with everything I told him. Six months later, he died from inoperable cancer in his spinal column. I didn’t see him during that time, as he didn’t want visitors. But I was glad that, even if it didn’t help his medical situation at all, that I had told him what I thought of him when we met that day. So since then, I’ve always wanted to be very forward with letting people know how I feel about them. Just in case something happens to them, or to me, it’s out there. I don’t have a lot of friends. I don’t know that I’m a good friend to anyone. But I love my friends and want the very best for them, and wish I could do stuff to improve their situations, though most times that just boils down to me hoping things stay good for them or improve if times are tough. I wish there was a way to take that sentiment and turn it into something positive for them. It sure hasn’t helped the folks I’ve known who’ve passed away, sadly.

Anyway, I went back to “real” work on Sunday night and now I’m just trying to figure out what I want to do. I’ve got a lease here until December 31. I’ve got a job that seems okay and the pay is the best I’ve had to date. I could theoretically take a vacation to Maui and find out about jobs there, maybe in late October or sometime in November. But do I want to go to Maui and risk feeling how I did in 2007 (or how I feel up here now, even)? Or do I want to go back home so I can be home, despite all my gripes with that place which fueled my exit in the first place? It is where my friends are, but I wouldn’t want to go back and being annoying and clingy just because they’re great and I’m not, because that isn’t fair. So do I want to just stay up here until something happens and I’m forced to make a move? (no) I just don’t know what I want to do, and normally if I’m stuck between choices, I’ll coin flip on it. But this is kinda bigger than a coin flip ruling. If I could just migrate this job’s pay and this region’s weather back home, it would be so easy. But then, staying in a place purely for money and clouds sounds really foolish. So I don’t know. I don’t miss everything about CA, but I miss my people. Hell, I missed them when I lived there and didn’t see them much. idk man idk. Just gonna try and get back into sync with my sleep schedule for now, and then go from there. Who knows what could happen? I know I don’t. But I know that this trip home was really good and made me want to just not get on the plane back up here.

Categories: Misc.
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