I’m not even supposed to be here today! - Dante Hicks, Clerks
It’s funny how the best laid plans go awry. Right now, I should be settling into some cozy arts admin job in Ireland, making connections, meeting clients, getting a smart haircut, wearing a suit, etc. During the evenings I should be sitting in a pub drinking Guinness, getting ready for the craziness of St Pat’s Day with a home ground advantage.
But I’m not.
I’m in California.
This is my first time in the US of A and I don’t think the idea has concept has hit me yet. While driving between the border and where I’m staying, I saw American flags fluttering on the tops of buildings. I kept thinking to myself “that’s odd, why are people fluttering that flag?”, then it clicked, I’m in America. Der. I’ve been staying with Andy, the American guy I met up with while I was in Hungary. Andy has been a real champ opening up his house and allowing me to get eBay stuff posted there. I now have a replacement camera and a swanky new lens. I’ve met a bunch of his local friends, have been riding his bike around checking out the area and will be hanging out with his equally cool wife Laurie this weekend. Southern California’s dry, warm weather is pretty similar to back at home in Adelaide and for the last few days I’ve been hanging out on Andy’s front porch, laying in the sun reading and doing interweb stuff. This is new.
What does warm the cockles of my heart is the amount of Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid cars getting about the place. What disturbs me is that for every hybrid, there are at least fifteen massive V8 SUVs and high performance big block American sports cars clogging up the roads. None of which look like they’ve ever been near a dirt road or race track in their life. I’m hoping that owning a hybrid here in America isn’t just a fad, as being quite a difficult vehicle to secure, the exclusiveness of owning one seems more important than the environmental benefits. But you know the more the merrier. Apparently you get around the same miles per gallon with a VW Jetta TDI, but the emissions are much less on a Prius. Anyway, I’m not in the market to buy a car. Or am I? More on that later.
One of things that have really overwhelmed me a little has been the shear amount of choice one has here when it comes to what you buy, with cafes and fast food joints being the big surprise. The many different varieties, combination and configurations one’s breakfast and coffee can come in can be a bit confusing, especially after a night on the turps. This morning, when I asked “Can I have one of those bacon and egg sandwiches with a coffee please?”, the next 5 minutes was spent choosing what type of bread, milk, egg style, spread, sugar, etc rather than me eating my greasy morning saviour.
This range of choice has prompted more existential questions to spring up in my head. ie – does more choice give people freedom or just a greater false reassurance of freedom? What has prompted this thought has been the political debate in the comments section of a previous post, where an anonymous person and I have been discussing the merits of communism verses the evils of capitalism. Socialism fails because it relies on everyone getting on with each other, which as history shows, doesn’t tend to happen on the world-wide scale required for socialism to work. Socialism would work if all humans interacted on the same level as one another, with everyone living under the environment and controlled conditions. This would be also have to be a world with no emotions, no desires, no jealousy, no betrayal. Imagine all the people, living life in peace. You hoo hoo ooo ah oo.