[28 August, 2009]


Coming back to the Bay has sent me on a true roller-coaster ride. The kind where you scream like a little kid with glee, arms outstretched in a gesture of freedom and joy, then bend over sideways and vomit.

At first, I was dreading our return. I can't even pinpoint the exact reasons: was it the crammed apartment, the looming proposal writing, the overall culture of this hipsterville? As we descended from the Sierras on a four-lane crowded freeway into a valley of suburban developments and unending strips of malls, I realized that I feel trapped here. Even the free-spirited California, with all its political talk and environmental action, traps me in a certain uncomfortable lifestyle, part of which is a byproduct of the larger culture, part of which is unique to this area, and all of which I try to escape from yearly on my travels to distant lands. This is the lifestyle in which I have to operate a motor vehicle and brave the constant angry traffic to get to a giant store to buy preserved high-fructose-corn-syruped imitation food and clothes cheaply-made by enslaved mothers across the globe. Ok, I know I sound like your downer grandmother, but. These are my feelings!

Right. But then, Then! I started making myself appreciate this area's eccentricities. Like the fact that there are farmer's markets here, and city-wide compost pick-ups, and the fact that I can ride a kick scooter down the hill on my 1.5 hr daily commute into the city. Plus, things here are always blooming (which is not so good for allergies, but so good for staring and dreaming). Plus, there is the rocky coastline full of whales and sea lions...

So we'll see. I'm getting used to this here again, and maybe it won't turn out quite so bad afterall. Don't I always come to this conclusion in the end?

6 sighs or salutations:

Antonina | 30 August, 2009

It is interesting to read your posts. I've been living in LA for 4 years and been gradually spiraling into an apathetic stupor. I actually visit FS and Boston to get some fresh air, because these towns still preserve some common sense.
Surprisingly, regardless of the smog, I have been totally free from the severe respiratory allergy I used to have, and this is a blessing.
I have hardly been to Europe, but I feel things are less superficial there. Living in LA makes me forget that it might be different.

daria | 30 August, 2009

Interestingly enough, New York actually gives me some fresh air, even though it usually suffocates people. Either that or being out in Californian nature (either on the coast or in the mountains). I've only been to and have never lived in LA, but I can see how it might get redundant. What do you do there?
Thanks for stopping by.

ряж(л)енка | 31 August, 2009

I am envious of your compost pickup! With the heat we've been having, our trash is stinky the day after we change the bag, and so I keep wanting to get a compost bin (subsidized by the city, which is great!). But then I realize I don't really know if I'll be committed enough to aerating it once a week, adding turf, and the overall care-taking of compost that you need to dedicate yourself to. I'd kill for a compost pickup!

daria | 31 August, 2009

Yeah, I mean, the city-wide compost is pretty great. We don't have to worry about the whole, digging a compost pile or anything. Also, our apartment building has a communal garden... with veggies and herbs. The neighbors have a lemon tree, which is where we get our lemons. And I guess, the middle school in Berkeley has a garden as well, which the kids get to work in (and learn about all this stuff) and then use the produce for their lunches as well. So yeah, I mean, Berkeley definitely has its environmental perks. You can move here! :)

Antonina | 08 September, 2009

I go to a small business school in Los Angeles. LA is really behind in recycling. At the restaurant where I work we recklessly throw away glass and plastic together with trash. Very few people compost. There are "eco-villages", closed communities that practice sustainable living, but there so few of them. Overall affluent white west Los Angeles is more sustainable, here in East LA we are environmentally barbaric.

daria | 10 September, 2009

Yeah, even up here there is a lot of what I call "pseudo-environmentalism". Like the aforementioned composting. Sure, it's nice that it even exists, but in order to do it "properly", you have to call the city, get some kind of a container (which, I believe, is plastic), then go buy some kind of compostable bags (which are also plastic, but theoretically compostable plastic). Anyway, it seems that you have to spend more and use more materials. In our house, we just use milk or juice cartons, which have to be composted anyway, with their tops cut off.
There are many such examples. Like the transportation system (that the Bay Areans pride themselves on) which is fairly inconvenient to use (as opposed to the European systems), and doesn't even span the whole spread of this area. Anyway, I could go on...

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