I was riding around with my friend and his ex-con friend and his ex-con friend’s girlfriend when the ex-con pulled out a bag of shrooms and offered some to us. I, being here on a work trip, politely demurred even though part of me thought: wait, don’t I consider myself to be a legendary pseudo-party girl? Isn’t work two days away? Why am I saying no to drugs, again? It occurred to me that maybe I’m not quite the pseudo ex party girl that I am in my mind, maybe I’m just someone normal doing normal things riding around in the back of a truck in the barrio (because it’s San Diego and that’s what they call this part of town). Sure, there was also the part where, eh, maybe I didn’t want to shroom with this friend in particular because he keeps on reaching around my waist in a way that should make me feel uncomfortable but when push comes to shove later tonight I will lock him out of his bedroom and tell him to stop, and maybe I don’t want to be on shrooms when that happens. But another part of me knows that there is nothing Cat Marnell-esque about me, not even after all those years of partying and drinking but now I feel so much less edgy as I yawn in the back of this truck and wait to slither off to my friend’s room where I will fantasize about the boy I fuck but still not masturbate because I’m at a point in my life where I not only know that masturbating in this guy’s bed while he sleeps on the couch would be rude, but I would also not take any pleasure in doing it, either.
Oh, San Diego. The city that I always say I would like to move to but never will. Because the Bay Area is stultifying in such a comfortable way, and maybe I’d rather suffer loudly than survive mediocrely in San Diego. Where I have friends and can be pretty. But I’d rather stay in the Bay where I can be mad at the world because of money and then also succumb to my own money hunger while acting like I have no other options. I have other options. San Diego is an option. LA is an option. New York is an option. But leaving? No, I could never leave the Bay Area. I bristle as I walk down the street in San Diego, knowing full well that I could live a happy, satisfying life here, but I never will because I’m crippled by my own anxiety and could never leave my home, which is on fire right now and crumbling and expensive and inhospitable. I’ll never leave because I don’t know how. It just seems so hard. Even though I refuse to do things that would make my life easier, such as not eating out every day and making new friends.
I am in San Diego. Which feels good, but would it feel good if I lived here or would it grow to be the same punishment that the Bay Area has become? I guess there’s something surprising about living in a B-List town that has suddenly become a petri dish of gentrification and social upheaval. On the upside, I can go anywhere else and proselytize about the impending doom of gentrification and how to beat it. On the downside, well. I’ll never have a home the way I thought I would have had a home in the Bay Area. But maybe it’s time to grow up and let go of that idea. This is about more than gentrification. This is more than growing pain. This is growing chaos. This is growing permanent damage. And I am the collateral. I could wax poetic about being spiritually homeless, but there are too many actual homeless people and I am not stupid enough to make that kind of poetic faux pas. I’m just disenfranchised and privileged. Ah, America. Always putting me in a place of disinteresting compromise.