Posted by: jaime1010 | October 30, 2007

In my beginning is my end; so is California’s

I chose the title above because it was something I never understood when I was younger. Reading T.S. Eliot in Honors English (I wasn’t good enough for AP English… if only they could see me now! A REAL writer, a published professional one!), I came upon this quote and was completely perplexed. Usually when I don’t understand something I reject it. I think a lot of people do that.

Anyhow, I wrote it off as stupid and meaningless. Now that I am old and wise (jk) I realize how it applies to me. Anytime something changes in my life, whether self-inflicted or otherwise, a new door opens. Sometimes the door shuts, sometimes it doesn’t. Anytime I go through one of those doors, it’s a beginning.

Thus brings me to a beginning. A beginning I had shortly after I came across that saying.

I grew up in Solon, OH. Boring, small town but as a teenager it was the only thing I knew. And I knew it well enough to know that I wanted to get the hell out. I felt I was destined to find bigger and better things. Solon was a town divided in half: the Jewish people lived in north part of town, the rest in the south and middle. We had a few diners, fast food, and strip malls, a really good football team, and a really good community park – so I’m not talking small town with no traffic lights, but it was small enough where everyone in high school new everyone else’s business, everyone else’s family, etc. And it was small enough to have the typical chick cliques, etc (which I was never a part of). I spread myself around with my other two best friends and we often got “snubbed” by the “popular” crew for befriending their not-the-chosen-ones types. We were popular enough to be on Homecoming court, but normal and nice enough to be friends with everyone and not judge people. That drove the other girls nuts! (Ahhhh-haaaa.)

Anyways, the summer before my senior year of high school my wish to leave Solon and Ohio in general was granted. My mother got remarried and moved me to the OC. Yes, I went from teeny, tiny Midwestern Solon to big bitchy, intimidating Newport Beach, CA.

I had no idea how hard it would be to make this new beginning until I was standing in the airport clutching my best friend so tightly her teeny anorexic body almost cracked in half. I couldn’t let go and suddenly burst into tears which was rare for me.

It was the end of “the old me.” It was the beginning of “the me I don’t like.” The beginning of the latter was the end of the former. HAHA. (How’s that for wordiness?)

The first day of school I pulled into the Senior Parking Lot at Corona del Mar High School. I was SO excited because I was driving my Mom’s brand new Altima. (I never had my own car in Solon, we couldn’t afford it.) Imagine my surprise when I find myself in a sea of classic Corvettes and muscle cars, Mercedes-galore, and Lexuses. I was quickly humbled and got out of the car. A girl came FLYING into the spot next to me and immediately looked me up and down as she almost ran over my foot. She was driving my dream car:  a shiny, sparkling, black BMW 325-i convertible with a tan interior (the top was down so I could see inside). I looked it up and down and noticed the license plate. It said: “AS IF.” That was it. “AS IF.” This is straight out of the movie Clueless, and I soon realized the whole damn senior class personified this.

 Anyhow, I braved the first day without a friend as I expected. What I didn’t expect was to go 3 months without friends. The kids were so judgmental and impolite, they talked down to their parents and teachers, they were crude, they were impolite, and they had SERIOUS entitlement problems. Most of the girls I tried to make friends with called me a lesbian for talking to them. At school and anywhere in Newport Beach – the mall, the grocery store, the park, I said hi to people as is custom in the Midwest, and they would just look at me in amazement like I was interrupting the most important moment of their lives. The schoolkids made fun of my Birkenstocks, casual dress, willingness to participate in class and sit in the front, and God damn them for making fun of my fishing hat (my old boyfriend gave it to me and it was very close to my heart).  Making it even worse – I never wore makeup. I’m not blowing smoke up my ass – but I didn’t need it. Plus I didn’t really have any, and if I did, I had no idea how to apply it. My only armor was lip gloss and shiny nose powder. Simple as that.

The first day of school they sent home a Dress Code Manual – yes, a MANUAL – and the number two rule was: “All females are required to wear underwear at all times on campus.” These chicks didn’t even wear underwear!!!! I didn’t even know what a thong was at that point in my life, but didn’t wonder why it was necessary to have that rule, as I got flashed a cooter in homeroom from the girl in front of me. She was this teeny, tiny little Vietnamese girl dressed like a hooker (they all were – even the ugly girls dressed liked hookers) and she leaned up to talk to the person at the desk in front of her, and BOOM. The pink taco was out!

After eating lunch alone in the bathroom for a week I learned I was allowed to leave campus since I had above a 3.5 coming in.  Thank God because no one (girls) really ate.

The girls had $5k credit card limits on their Daddy’s AMEX every MONTH. They drove brand new BMWs and Mustangs and Suburbans. The girls got boob jobs for their 18th birthday presents, they got lip injections, eye-widening surgeries (the chosen procedure for the Japanese and Asians there – which there are a shitload of), and nose jobs. They surfed, skateboarded and played water polo and did all kinds of things I never knew about. Including druge. The very first time I ever saw weed, cocaine or Meth was at a New Years Eve party that year and I was scared shitless of it. Not only was I intimidated as hell at the party because I wore a simple black skirt and cute top and these chicks were totally pimped out in Gucci and Betsey Johnson, but also I was intimidated by the fact that everyone did drugs. I couldn’t understand it.

Throughout the year I would call my friends back in Solon, LONGING to return. I was SO close to moving back to live with one of my two best friends, but suddenly struck with a kidney malfunction (don’t ask) that required hospitalization and 6 weeks of bedrest so I wasn’t going anywhere…

When I came home to visit for the holidays (pre-surgery) it was like storytime around Jaime. It was like a TV show. You gotta understand that growing up in a tiny Midwestern town my world was very safe. Very contained. Very protected. So I was very naive. Very nice. Very confident and quite fearless. To teenagers (and actually to a lot of older people I know) California is like this big dream place. When you hear California, you think of Hollywood, Los Angeles, the OC (TV show), Laguna Beach (the TV show), and celebrities. You think of the Grammy’s anmd Emmy’s, Melrose Place and Rodeo Drive, Pretty Woman, Haight Street in San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, Jack Kerouac and the bleeding-heart liberals at Berkeley.

What people DON’T realize is how many freakin’ WANNA-BES there are there, how disdainful, immoral and unethical the people are. How materialistic everyone is.  How there’s no middle-class.  How minorities outnumber American caucasians. How there’s NO open space and no greenery. How residents don’t care about all the aforementioned. And how sad most of their lives really are…

 …to be continued

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