California, Dudes

Been here about a month and a half, and IT. HASN’T. RAINED. ONCE.

Just a gentle reminder that I’m now living in a desert.

My whole life I had dreams of moving everywhere, running across the continent, doing BIG things, leading a BIG life. And wouldn’t you know it? I find myself both accomplishing those dreams and realizing how different it is from anything I could have imagined.

A case in point.

Every day on my bike to work, I see mountains. Mountains are important to me, they remind me of reaching, stretching, climbing, things I’ve been attempting to do my whole life. They are vast and humbling and inspirational, and as I fly past them morning after morning, on my wending way through eucalyptus and towering palms, past the statuary of Stanford, I find my heart soaring along with my bike tires.

Then I show up to work at a fast food restaurant where I man the deep fryer and listen to people complain about how I overcharged them twenty cents (I didn’t) or why there shouldn’t be a tax on to-go food (take it up with the government?) or how they want a burger but with no burger and no bread and with cheese and pickles and why don’t we have mayonnaise and gouda cheese and wait they just want the salad… but no lettuce. Some days it feels like a cross between the “Doublemeat Palace” episode of Buffy and Bon Qui Qui.



It’s this weird feeling where I simultaneously feel that I’m doing everything I need to be doing and also doing everything completely wrong. Here I am with my biology degree and my years of job experience, cooking fries and getting criticized for my Caesar salad mixing.

There are many highlights, of course. My co-workers are lovely. And the customers are for the most part a joy. Today I made a little girl giggle for about ten minutes just by opening my eyes really wide at her. The other day a couple of German girls came in, their faces when I started responding in German were priceless.

I believe I am going somewhere. I know that I am somewhere. A place I’ve been trying to get to for a long, long time. It’s just that there’s that saying somewhere about what you wish for and being careful or something something cliche with cheese.

I’m learning so much though: like how Californians walk SUPER slow, even by Midwestern standards. And how to use the word “hella” unironically. And how to grow succulents. And how to nonchalantly visit the ocean. It’s an amazing time to be alive.

Follow your dreams, kids. It’s kind of worth it.

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