The California Lifestyle

...every religious man places himself at the Center of the World and by the same token at the very source of absolute reality, as close as possible to the opening that ensures him communication with the gods. But since to settle somewhere, to inhabit a space, is equivalent to repeating the cosmogony and hence to imitating the work of the gods, it follows that, for religious man, every existential decision to situate himself in space in fact constitutes a religious decision.
-Mircea Eliade, The Sacred and The Prophane

I used to refer often to what I called the California Lifestyle. Loosely defined, it means doing whatever I want to do, while also having peace of mind, enough to eat, and proximity to nature. To me, it is akin to the feeling of first falling in love-- a state of constant ecstasy. I always felt that this could not be achieved anywhere but in California. Of course, any person with the most cursory knowledge of psychology will tell you that it can't be achieved anywhere or at all. Still, I maintain that it is even more impossible outside of California, where your chances of 75 degree sunny days, season notwithstanding, become very slim.

Version one of the California Lifestyle was something I fabricated in high school, and thanks to a blossoming obsession with Richard Brautigan, it was extremely San Francisco-centric. I had probably been to San Francisco a total of three times, so it lent itself beautifully to fictionalization and idealization. In this version, I was making a living as a writer, cataloging many charmingly absurd occurrences and thoughts like so many Brautigan narrators, and living on California Street in San Francisco. I had it in my head that if I lived on California Street I would have reached the apex of what it means to be a Californian in terms of the sacred California Lifestyle, and a greater understanding of humanity and all the cosmos would be revealed to me from the hallowed halls of some oddly affordable, sunlit bay-windowed Queen Anne.

I spend 5 days a week on California Street, working in that Victorian. As the 24 bus labors up the hills, I see that the gods of California have eluded me again, having fled with the California Lifestyle to a cabin in Bolinas... or something.


Totally the Same Only Writ Large

During a bout of rare lucidity attained through what I'm guessing was stroopwaffle consumption, I pondered the course of events from May to September. I left my life as an underpaid dental office employee dwelling in a house full of dudes, only to arrive...at another dental office, another house full of dudes. Granted, now I am not so underpaid, as some of the dentists I work for are high profile in some surprising ways (see video below) and, naturally, I live with different dudes. Still, it seems that my daring attempt at changing the course of my life was, in fact, a complete circle and, in essence, a failure.

Some positive improvements:
-great AM oldies radio station... all the hits in mono!
-less financially destitute
-my boyfriend likes it here
-I think this time around we're going to actually get a desk instead of just talking about how we wished we had one

I hope to learn soon whatever lesson was intended in repeating my previous dissatisfying mediocrity so that my life won't become an unfunny Groundhog Day knockoff with my unflattering harem pants acting as a poor substitute for Bill Murray's charisma.