A voice comes over the loudspeaker.

“Attention Junkee Shoppers! If you are addicted to meth amphetamines, please exit the store immediately and come back when you are clean and sober!”

I’m inside a pretty fucking amazing thrift store in Reno when the announcement comes on, and I look around, feeling both a bit bemused and rather amused. Damn, Reno, it’s like that? Culture.

I was staying at the Sands Hotel with Kelsey. When walked into the casino to register, we were pleasantly greeted with wafts of second hand smoke that had no doubt been hammered into the carpets, the clothes, the pennies in the penny slots. You know, everywhere. We California girls tried to hold back our polite little coughs because, wow, culture. I guess this is Reno culture. Second hand smoke. Damn.

Also Reno culture: 24 hours of liquor service! I was pretty excited to get straight into gambling, which, of course, never seems to pan out in my favor, but that’s fine. It’s almost like I can feel my Filipino ancestors whooping and hollering up in a heaven as I slap down my hundred dollar bill and promptly lose all of that money in less than ten minutes. Cool! Amazing! My culture is so fun – and I’m not saying that sarcastically because damn straight I fucking loved all ten minutes of gambling my hundred dollars away. Luckily, Kelsey, like a dutiful yet wonderful wife, peeled me away from further financial downfall and trotted me back to the hotel room.

I’d like to think that there’s some small amount of truth to be found in Reno, but unfortunately the biggest truth I found was: Reno’s getting more expensive, too. Like, god damn, right? Apparently Tesla opened up a manufacturing plant in town, and the bartender was kvetching about the techies. I replied with, “Giiiiiirl, you have no idea. I’m from your future, and this shit ain’t getting any better.”

Part of me felt guilty, though, because any time I leave the East Bay I wind up in some other city that is definitely cheaper than mine (although, five years ago, Oakland and Reno probably cost the same, which is a cruel thing to think about), there’s always this persistent thought of, “Is this where I’ll wind up?” Let’s be honest with ourselves here – the financial reality of this world is probably going to conclude with me getting priced out of my life long home, which is fine, I’ve come to accept this. But as I slithered around Reno with a sense that I was scouting for a new home, I realized, damn, I’m the reason why rents will get even more expensive. Damn it. Is there no refuge from predatory capitalism and rising rents? No. No, there’s not.

Well, whatever. I’ve been the bad guy before. I reminded myself: this is just a vacation, it’s not a moral quandry, so just fucking relax and drink your gin and tonic. Which I did, and then we went to the airport because, that’s right bitches, me and Kelsey flew our lazy asses to Reno because, no, I did not want to drive and, no, I wasn’t going to take the Greyhound, but, yes. Yes, Kelsey’s sugar daddy did buy us plane tickets to Reno the day before we left because that’s how shit gets done in a world like this.

I think we’ll be okay in the Bay Area for a little bit longer.

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