Sitting here at six thirty a.m., long before anyone in the vacation rental rises, I gaze across the recently saturated landscape of golf course grass. The sun lifts in haste and evaporates the dew from each blade of grass and the day begins. Tiny gnats and large flies dance and dart across my peripheral vision but dare not touch me. Not today. I came prepared. I brought bug spray and covered myself and probably got some in my coffee. My lips tingle with the disgusting flavor of the chemicals. I sip from my cup. This stuff should come with an ointment you rub under your nose to neutralize the stench. Nonetheless, I am on vacation.
There is something about the foreign sky and the clearly different construction of the local buildings that make me become aware of my attempt to remain in the moment. The unfamiliar would become commonplace within 6 months if I was to live here. People would come from all over the world to enjoy what I take for granted. Even those who live in paradise lose the nostalgia for their home. I know this because I recently experienced this.
I was living in Riverside county for so long that each time I would visit Orange County it was a place that held promise and wealth. Somehow cars were cleaner and the streets were lined with potential. After 13 years of living in a more rural environment, I became enamoured with the thoughts and dreams of one day moving back. Yes, back to Orange County California. The place that I would consider to be the real California. Just outside of Los Angeles and thirty minutes from Hollywood is the home of Disneyland and the Lad of Gracious Living. Yorba Linda, California.
I knew five years ago that I was in desperate need of change. I once tried to convince my wife to move to the center of Los Angeles to let me fulfill my dream of becoming a writer. Although, at the time, I had only written massive amounts of works that reside in a large briefcase under the stairs to this day. Yet, I could not shake the feeling that I was destined to be a created, dare I say self manufactured into a modern-day cross-breed between Charles Bukowski and Hank Moody. Minus the drunken womanizing.
I began feeling the desire to become a great writer long after I had written in journals for 25 years and hundreds if not thousands of short poetic stories. I never imagined that I would profit or even share my creations. Outside of a few small poetry readings, I just never wanted that. It was as if I was earning my rights to become a legitimate artist without the draw of the opinions of the audience or the attractions for a financial gain. I went from sharing my ideas with a pen and paper to submitting them to a still obscure platform like a blog. This blog. I refer to my lack of recognition as flying below the radar and I justify my lack of success to the gods of fate and chance. I convince my self that if I was to be noticed and rewarded for my unique creative talents and it led to fans money and fame that I would have ended up dying of an overdose of some sort like a Jim Morrison or maybe more a Jim Belushi. So it is as if I am giving myself an excuse not to share or promote this brand of me so as to not fail.
I will never forget the moment that my dreams of becoming the greatest creative mind of written thought and prose was diffused like a bomb in a Michael Bay flick. My wife was the slick know it all who was single-handedly responsible for clipping the green wire just in the nick of time. It was on the 10 freeway as we were returning from viewing a small, and I mean small, old, and I do mean old, apartment behind the La County Museum of Art. This place was about three thousand dollars a month for two bedrooms built in 1930 with a kitchen smaller that the master closet we had. It was on the corner and there was a small basketball hoop in the back of the building in an alley that the kids immediately began to make friends. I felt it though. The energy and the vibe. Naive and ambitious and ready to take Hollywood by storm. Then came the 10 freeway. I was online scouring the web looking for anything that was within earshot of Beverly Hills and Studio City. Then she uttered the four words that would revoke my hall pass to the future I was to manifest.
“What about Mission Viejo?”
“Orange County? What the fuck? Did this sound me trying to get out of Lake Elsinore or was it me trying to get into L.A.?”
I closed the lid to the laptop and stared at the passing freeway off ramps that one by one was ticking farther and father from the fantasy and into reality. This was the end of the longest orgasm of flow state that I had yet to experience.
It took a few more years for this to morph into a settlement of North Orange County. Because the beauty of the town we were in had gone from a 4 beer goggle, one night stand, to a case of beer just to allow a hand job from that ghetto whore of a town.
I still have a love hate relationship with the town that is mentioned in the opening paragraphs of my first publication. The town that adorns the lake and the mountains that roll into the Pacific.
To be in a home or to call any place home for 13 years is like marrying a high school sweetheart just because she was there, falling in love by proximity and then end up with a family before you got your first grey hair. Only to realize that the one was built on convenience and not passion. This in turn leads to a desire to run far away in a sort of midlife crisis in an effort to reclaim a false dream that even in the motion pictures never ends well. The moving always ends with the quarterback gone big coming back to the hometown only to reunite with the high school sweetheart that almost got away.
Now it makes sense. The beginning and the end remain part of the same. Like a ring of unavoidable tragedy and highly sought after ecstasy we will continue to elevate the cycle to higher plane of better times. Indeed these are the best of times and the worst of times. Yet I am in control of the perception of time. the great equalizer. Time. the one thing that makes me better than Steve Jobs and inferior to Elon Musk. One being dead and one alive and both leaving a legacy that which I too am working on.
The tin man found what he thought he lacked. The lion and the scarecrow too. I am also walking down the yellow brick road looking for what I want. What is that? If I could have one wish what would that be? It would be to capture that bliss that led me a blind faith and ambition so strong that I was willing to pack my family into a sardine can in the ghetto of the city of angels at the cost of three thousand dollars a month. I would be the ability to bottle the essence of that feeling which can only be described a a distinct and intuitive perception that this is the best possible wold and that this moment was the only one I have. The ability to live and exist in the now without any fee are fo pain or suffering. A sensation that selfishly has me staring at my children in awe of their potential and yet frantically creating content that will also fulfill my potential too.
The ability to become aware of that which is only reserved for high functions autistics and a few entrepreneurs and artists micro-dosing the interact with the responsibilities of the “real world” and yet coherent that the reality is a matrix. That the sense of timelessness that happens only after we die I can sense here.
This is why I vacation. I go to new locations and I get up early in the morning to write frantically and meditate on the potential of tomorrow and reflect on the successes of yesterday. In an attempt to engage in a flow state that will not only allow me to release the volcanic pressure to give more that I took and leave this place with a smirk on my face.
I met a man the other day who called me out on this intention. He led me to believe in my voice more than anyone has in a long time.
I sit here on the edge of a golf course gazing now across the awakening of the dawn in Indio. The flies are gone and the grass is no longer glistening. Just as I begin to hear the sounds of the family moving about in behind the sliding glass door that I deliberately opened and closed along with the night shades so as to avoid being jolted from this moment of authentic creative writing. The smell shifted from a misty waft of fresh-cut wet grass to a light breeze of dust and dirt not seen by the naked eye but distinct to the senses.
It is this sort of awareness that bring me to the intention of this writing. That I would be so captivated b the nothingness of a location that to some is a getaway and to others nothing more that just another Sunday morning. It is perception. It is an awareness of the moment and a never-ending vigilance to fend off the questions of the future that do not even exist and the answers that the past hold but are not necessarily capable of repeating itself.
Achieving the awareness of the beauty that is the present lies not in a question or an answer but in a statement that is by definition, undefinable. It is the ability to lift your eyes to look across the grassy knoll and not wonder about the days agenda but only the moments expectation. The ability to know that this is exactly what you want to be doing and that this location is the place to be. Like a child we must look to our immediate surroundings like a fun zone. You can take a child in the poorest of environments with nothing more that a full belly and plenty of rest and they will find entertainment and fulfillment in the way the dirty puddle of water splashes as they stomp. Yet, here we are, as adults grimacing at the LCD when we disagree with the mother letting the child play in the dirty water wondering why she is not providing. Meanwhile, her child sits ten feet away looping videos on YouTube of families having fun making videos and sharing it on the internet.
Perspective. For one it is never enough and for another there is not enough to give and for another it is plenty and for some they give it all away. The difference is in expectations and in perceptions.
Soon the wife will come out and tell me to hurry up and do my yoga so we can get to brunch. I will be woken from a slumber of complacency to join them inside as we woefully pack our belongings most needed into luggage and drag them to the car. I will begin to come out of my fantasy land slightly buzzed from what happened this morning and by tomorrow I will either forget that I can still be on vacation in may own home or I will just turn on the business phone and prod cattle through the field in an effort to build a nest egg meant to finance my future and a few vacations.
Perhaps this is why I am obsessed with endurance sports. The ability to sit on a bike for hours at a time or run for long distances is my way of forcing the mundane and commonplace of my abode to be throttled into a place where only the moment of stress can feed my desire to shut down and turn on that which escapes me behind the veil of the familiar.
Maybe I just don’t want to believe that a permanent high is possible. I wonder about those who have a belief in a god that has their back. I wonder if I too should attend a church so that I will chase this imaginary motivation coach that lives inside of me and guarantees me with promises of a heaven and that it will be hard but worth it. A god that will assure me that nothing I do can fail because with god all things are possible. But I cannot. Not just yet. Although I would think it keen to have a supreme being giving me permission to be myself, I would not be capable of being myself if I was not unable to confront the motivation behind my power. I am other to smart too believe or too stupid to understand faith. I suppose this would be the curse and the cure to my desire to become the best version of me that I can be.
Perhaps if I could imagine that I am on vacation from the afterlife then this world would actually be a far more interesting place to visit.