Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Status Quo

SG and I spent another weekend away- back to the old hometown. I don't know if I mentioned this- SG put in his notice at his job earlier this year, for a lot of complicated reasons. We've been in Marin for four years, and I think we are both more than ready to leave. He still hasn't entirely committed to going back "home" and despite the fact that we still have a house (and family, and friends) there, the big drawback is that our hometown has been hit hard by this recession, and getting a foot in the door in the job market is going to be tricky.

We only have a little more than three months left, and I am doing my best not to panic. We took down a load of stuff to add to storage, spent a lot of time with his parents, saw some fantastic friends we hadn't seen in forever, and I feel like we ran around non-stop all weekend. Part of this is me: lobbying. I am the "social one". I want to move back. To me, it makes sense to show SG: "See?! We fit in! We would be close to family! The restaurants are amazing! All these friends that we used to spend time with would love it if we returned!"(I never claimed to be a subtle woman. ;)

 The San Joaquin Valley, and specifically Fresno- where both my husband and I grew up- have problems. Major crime, for one. Fresno is the car theft capitol of the U.S. Heat- if you weren't born there, I don't know if there is any getting used to it. Yeah, it's a dry heat, but when it's 111 outside in the summertime, you don't much care. Oh- and if you're single and in your 20's, forget about it. Historically, there's "nothing to do"- although I think that if you're inventive and keep your eyes open, that's not the case.

These aren't problems where we are now. Crime and heat are not really a concern in Marin, and there's lots to do. But- There's so much about this region that frustrates the heck out of me. A strange sense of entitlement. People are very much self contained units here- I get glared at, looked "through", a lot, for the temerity of being in the same aisle in the grocery store. Or maybe because I look a little different? I am heavier than most women here, flashier too.

Worse- When I thank a server in a restaurant for refilling my iced tea, or when the checker at the market asks how I am doing, and I say, "I'm doing fine: How's your day been so far?" I usually get a shocked silence, then, "Wow! Thanks for asking! They're not used to interacting with customers. This bothers me. It bothers me more when I go anywhere else, and realize that I am avoiding eye contact with people.

And the driving. OH, the driving. Actually, it's a similar thing. People act like they are the only cars on the road. I watch people pull stunts on the road multiple times a day, that they would probably get shot for back home.Once we got over the novelty, we realized the sad truth: we were living in a much more expensive area, and surrounded by beauty, but everything just felt so hostile that we hated to leave our own tiny shoebox of a house. So maybe we just haven't given it a fair shot.

I have met some lovely people here, too. But I miss the affordability, the "hominess" of Fresno. I feel constantly judged here. I miss the friendliness and the diversity, and of course, the familiarity. 

And in the context of Paleo, I miss that real farm-to-table experience. My grandparents were ranchers. The stuff at the Fresno farmer's market is the real deal- grown 30 minutes away. Organic Pastures  is practically in the backyard. The growing season there is pretty much year-round. From a personal standpoint: I keep thinking of the gigantic backyard at the house we are renting out now. And how many fruit trees I could plant, and have room to plant veggies!  Ironically, when I got to Farmer's markets here- guess where all the stuff is from? With the exception of a few stalls from Sonoma, most of the produce is from the Valley.

As the end of the year gets closer: SG is still trying to figure out what to do on the job front, and I am trying to get all my ducks in a row and not freak out.  I feel like we are on the verge of something huge. We're both "late bloomers" in the sense that I only recently got a sense of "What I want to be when I grow up", and he's still working on that himself, but I can see the progress being made. It's terrifying and exhilarating at the same time!

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