California dreamin'

Some people can take pain killers and get no pleasurable effect from them.  The pills will do their job, but they aren't habit-forming.  And yet other folks can take the same pill and somehow can't resist the draw of it.  They become addicts.  It's as though there are two populations.

There's a pop psychology theory (which may or may not have any basis in truth) that the difference between these two groups is that some subset of humanity is always in pain and doesn't know it.  They have no frame of reference to realize that they are in pain all the time because they've never known a life without pain.  Until they take a pain killer, that is.  Then they need it all the time.  They're addicted.  Not so much to a pill or to a euphoric feeling.  They're addicted to feeling normal.

I've been on roadtrips before.  Dani and I don't travel extensively, but we go out of town for friends' weddings (I posted some pics from Colorado a while back, for example), to visit friends, etc.  It's fun.  Last summer we went to the LA area for Dominique's wedding.  I'm not even religious and all I can say is, My God, I have never felt so fucking good.  I was so pure that whole trip.

In my head I'm more of a New Yorker than a Hollywood type.  I'm kind of cynical and not into celebrity-culture.  I prefer independent films to cookie-cutter blockbusters.  I don't obsess over my body or meditate.  I'm not into hanging out at the beach or getting a tan (I burn).  But I was the happiest I've ever been those entirely too few days we were in California.

At one point we were stuck in traffic on the infamous 405.  We weren't moving.  I'm a Type-A driver, and yet I didn't fucking care.  I was happy.  It was June, but I had my windows down.  Under the same circumstances in Texas, you'll broil in the humid heat, but it was nothing like that.  I could have sat in traffic all day.  I was surrounded by lanes full of hybrids on my way somewhere interesting; I don't remember exactly where now.  It could have been the Sunset strip, the Hollywood Hills, the La Brea tar pits/museum, Venice Beach, or anywhere else we have nothing like.  Sitting in traffic in California felt better than *anything* I've ever done in Texas.

I was happy everywhere we went because (at least compared to Texas --or worse-- Louisiana, where I grew up) there just wasn't the pain of all the Jesus-freaks pushing creationist agendas, militant homophobes, etc.  Sure, every state has them, but in the civilized parts of this country, they're marginalized, much the way my rational, atheist self is marginalized by the ignorant, superstitious types here.  It's more than a distraction to be made self-aware that you're in an ideological minority; it's a constant psychic assault that's just below my conscious awareness... at least until I read headlines that remind me where I live and why I don't want to live here.  I'll happily leave my crazy state whose governor casually talks about seceding and trade it for one full of earthquakes ready to break off into the ocean.

I'm tired of the pain.  I just want to live where I feel normal.

Copyright 2009 Alexplorer.
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