21 August 2007

Ranting, mostly about California

Context: I'm in San Jose for a conference. Apparently I hate people and am more angry and bitter when travelling - or more likely, that comes to the surface quicker when I'm not in my usual routine and insulated by my nice job and my nice boyfriend and my nice apartment. Really, I shouldn't be so aggravated - I'm staying in a nice hotel (much nicer than anything I could have afforded myself) and this conference is all ideas about my profession which I actually find interesting and compelling so ... what the hell have I got to complain about, exactly? Let's see:

1. Directions from my hotel to the conference center were “follow the palm trees”. Heh. They have palm trees here! I suppose someone from Californai who came to Boston would be equally charmed by directions to follow the cobblestone path, though.
2. No one jaywalks. They all wait patiently at crosswalks for the signal to walk. It drives me fucking nuts. Where is the subversiveness? Are they all so stunned by the gorgeous weather they’re just perpetually happy and no one is bitter or cynical? You can’t cross diagonally anywhere either – you have to wait, cross in one direction and then wait to cross to complete your 90 degrees. It is deeply aggravating, especially if you’re in a hurry. Maybe Californians don’t leave late. Maybe the sun fixes that. Maybe they all drive some kind of temporal kool-aid, which allows them to time things perfectly.
3. the weather is perfect – 80s every day and sunny and not humid at all. I love Boston but this weather is pretty tempting. I don’t know if I can get behind all the happy non-cynicism, though. Maybe I just haven’t met the right Californians yet.
4. This fucking computer’s wifi connections is iffy – or the room I’m in is cut off on purpose – and it’s driving me fucking nuts. The imac wouldn’t be behaving like this – or if it did, I would at least know that the problem is with the connection and not the computer or the software. (UPDATE: it was the room I was in. Not like there was anything mindblowing being discussed but I think they probably blocked internet access deliberately.)
5. Everything is laid out on a grid – north and south and east and west – and all the streets are clearly labeled. If you turn left three times in a row, you’ll get back to where you started! Amazing! In fact, even if you don’t know where you are or how to get somewhere, you can figure it out using logic and orient yourself using street signs, instead of having to rely on passive memorization and a sense of direction. A revolutionary concept: if I moved to California, I might not be lost all the time. I could get places without having to build in an extra 50% of lost time.
6. Also, three hour time difference really is nothing – or ought not to be, considering what I’ve dealt with - but hauling this fucking laptop around makes me extremely tired, for some reason. That’s my excuse, anyway. Not jet lag, no sir.

So that wasn't just complaining, it was a mixture of observations and complaining. But whine-heavy, for sure. Speaking of w(h)ine ... really, I so shouldn't bitch about all the, um, free food and booze and stuff but it's totally making me feel fat.

I guess I like my life at home better than I realise. And again - I haven't been gone for very long, I won't even be away for a while week and yet I miss Dave. Even though we're on the phone as much as always. I am not quite in a good enough mood to reframe all those complaints up above as love for home, that feels a bit pollyanna-ish.

There. Enough complaining for a while.

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