As any native Stocktonian knows, the main objective for most of us is to escape from this cornhole of a city as soon as humanly possible. I have been plotting my course of action since sixth grade but, as Elaine would say, I am 27-and-0. I have yet to get out of this place for an entire stinking year. Not from lack of trying, mind you!
To date, I’ve developed & attempted to execute at least five exit strategies. For awhile, it was my ridiculous idea to move to Alaska (Anchorage or Juneau, since I’m a terminal urban dweller at heart). I researched all sorts of shit & read everything about the region that I could get my hands on. Mi familia was never actually convinced that I would pull off such a stunt, but I was whole-heartedly invested in the idea… until I remembered how much I detest cold weather.
Then there was my fixation with study abroad programs. I was hindered by my monolingual Americaness & my desire to spend as little dough as possible, so I focused on semesters in Northern Ireland (mucho dinero & kinda’ trendy) or English-Language study in Eastern Europe. After looking into dozens of study abroad programs, I realized that only rich kids with liberal ideologies & unlimited resources were equipped for over seas schooling.
After that, I was briefly entertained by the idea of volunteering in the Ukraine or in Austria. The plan was to devote as long as a year to a historical preservation project as a general laborer in exchange for room & board. The historical sites were run-down cathedrals or dilapidated castles & I figured the dramatic change in lifestyle, work habits, and cultural surroundings would do me good. I’m glad I snapped out of that bout of self-loathing! Why would I want to clean up someone else's mess on such a grand scale? I can’t even stomach tidying up my studio, let alone a fucking castle. Plus, it would suck to get kidnapped by some impoverished local that mistook my American accent as an indication of my wealth. Ain’t nobody gonna’ pay ransom money for me & I’d probably get caught up in some white slave trade shit – forced to turn tricks for some fat, smelly, Russian pimp. Scratched that idea, needless to say.
There was a period of time that I was considering a move to Washington state, as well. This one didn’t involve indentured servitude or taking on a second language, but it was eventually abandoned because I hate the way folks up there treat Californians. Having previously stayed in Seattle for a bit, I had been exposed to the intense loathing Washingtonians have for us Cali-folk & I’ll be damned if I put up with that shit everyday. I love my state because it rocks (in so many different ways) & I’m the type to talk shit right back to those attempting to antagonize me, so I assumed I would have a tough time attracting friends if I moved north.
My longest running dream has been to transfer to San Francisco State University, to live outside the city in whatever piece of shit digs I could afford, & to bask in the dingy gorgeousness that is the Bay Area while I worked on my History degree. Cost of living considerations forced this dream to be a team effort & it was for a handful of years. After my latest relationship dissolved into a worthless pile of debts, insecurity, and resentment, my San Francisco escape became harder and harder realize. So, I vowed to stay clear of serious emotional attachments until I got my ass out of the San Joaquin Valley. And that is where I found myself yesterday; still sans-boyfriend and sans-departure schedule.
I was having a long distance conversation with my sister, Alison, when everything changed. She suggested I move to San Diego (where she currently resides), transfer to the state school, and live at her place until I get my own thang going. This thought had never even crossed my mind, but it made such perfect sense! No ridiculous hoops or strings attached, a plan to finally finish school, life in a metropolitan area like I have always intended, secured housing with kinfolk, PLUS I get to remain in my beloved California. San Diego, it is! I’m outta’ here after the first of the year.