Friday, December 6, 2013


A Plan for Dealing With This

My friend lives in suburban San Diego and he is not a fan. He lives here due to fairly random circumstances, which anyone who ended up without a chair when the music stopped during the recession might understand.

He’s been here for more than four years and likes it no more today than the day he arrived. But he has come up with a plan for dealing with this. “I call it the I don’t give a shit plan,” he explains, as we make a left off of West San Marcos Boulevard into the Albertsons parking lot. “Oh, see, there’s a guy on the side of the road that needs help. But you know what. I live in Southern California now, so I don’t give a shit.” He pulls his used BMW into a parking space. “Oh, there’s Yogurt World,” he observes. “They have Wi-Fi. Isn’t that wonderful? Isn’t that just so incredibly generous of them? If you worked in a an office around here, as a cost cutting measure you could just get rid of your Wi-Fi, and you’d be like, ‘Hey, guys, if anyone wants to talk to me, I’m just over at Yogurt World.’ Oh, and if you want to know how much I really don’t give a shit, you see the Supercuts, over there next to the Yogurt World? That’s where I get my hair cut now.”

Albertsons is empty. His wife has instructed him to get fruit. He throws a bag of oranges into the cart. “Fruit,” he says. He also needs razors. “16 dollars,” he exclaims. “How stupid do these people think we are? They must think we’re so stupid that we’re willing to work our asses off to live in hell and spend all our money on razors. Well. They are lucky because… because why?”

“Because you don’t give a shit?” I guess.

“That is correct,” he says, adding the razors to the cart. He finds generic contact lens solution. “Three dollars,” he says. “I feel good about that. Today is a good day.”

He’s also supposed to get long lighters to light the fake fireplace in his rather enormous den. “Five-fifty!” he exclaims. “Ok guys, that’s pushing it. Not on board.” After paying for everything with a $25 Albertsons gift certificate he got from his work  “to get a turkey or something” he sits in his car looking up dollar stores on his iPhone. “There is one, but it’s kind of far from here. Oh, wait, I almost forgot. I don’t give a shit.”

On the way, he gives a tour of the town of San Marcos. “There’s a pile of dirt,” he says, pointing to a pile of dirt. “There’s a restaurant I wouldn’t go to if I was dying.  See that place? It looks like 14 million people could get their car fixed there at once, doesn’t it?  But I don’t know what really goes on there. Oh, here is the high school. Look at that enormous football stadium. My tax dollars at work. I also pay some insanely high tax to our developer, so we can have signs that say stuff like 'Los Arboles' and 'Rancho Lindo,' just in case for a second I thought I actually lived in a real place. Oh, there’s the guy who fixes my car. He’s a good guy. That’s probably the best thing about this place. I found a guy to fix my car who’s not a liar. Oh. There’s a Home Depot. That’s a great place to get nails, if you were interested, just for example, in nailing yourself to a wall.” We drive past Mrs. Taco. “I feel like I should tell Mrs. Taco that Mr. Taco is cheating on her with Princess Pho,” he says. “But, at the end of the day… well. I think it goes without saying.”

The Dollar Store has long lighters for $3.50. “Awesome,” he says. “This is a great day.” Near the register there are other long lighters for $1.99, but he wants to stick with the ones he found. “These are BIC. They will last longer. I might be the cheapest person alive, but I also don’t want to spend all my time driving around buying lighters. Because that would take away from driving around buying other things, the activity which is the very heart and soul of my plan.”

Photo via Tricia/flickr

Sarah Miller is the author of Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn and The Other Girl. She lives in Nevada City, CA. Follow her on Twitter @sarahlovescali.

30 Comments / Post A Comment

polka dots vs stripes

driving around buying other things

Basically Southern California in a nutshell.


this is good.. @n


I like your friend's attitude.


Am I the only one who really digs Southern California? I could never afford to live there, but the pines smell really nice and you're right by the ocean. What's not to like?


@adorable-eggplant I love so cal. My friend hates it.


@adorable-eggplant I just moved here. You can be happy here. You can be sour and sad here. It's a lot like other places, just sunnier than most. But if you're the type of person who romanticizes a certain kind of grass-is-greener bullshit, it's not for you.


@adorable-eggplant Personally I can't stand the urban sprawl of southern California, nor the overall dryness, nor the weather. That last one might might sound strange but I am one of those freaks who really likes winter.


@TheJacqueline A land without winter! I could be down for that. It's nearing freezing around here and rainy and I've been pouting about being unable to feel my face. I truly am a cold weather wimp.

she came in through the bathroom window

@adorable-eggplant *raises hand* I was born and raised in Southern California. I've lived my entire life here, and I never want to leave. I don't have that much to compare it to -- but why should I bother comparing, when I'm so happy and all my family lives here? I love the urban sprawl. I love being able to go to the beach or out in the hills or to the desert. I love our amazing public university system. (San Marcos, the city that he's bitching about, is home to CSU San Marcos.) I love that we finally have a damn good Democratic governor and a legislature that is finally trying to fix years of Republican fuckery.

Maybe I'm not clever enough to get this piece -- I mean, maybe we're supposed to be making fun of this asshole guy? But I have gotten a little tired of out-of-state people moving to my beloved home solely to bitch about how pointless and shallow my entire culture is. I was born in Long Beach, the entirety of my education came from Southern California public schools and the University of California, and I am an INTERESTING fucking person and I DO give a shit.


So does The Hairpin just post half-assed essays written by friends of the editors now?


@TheGenYgirl That is a good question! Gave it some thought, think my answer is


@TheGenYgirl Why so many haters these days. Mannnnnn.

Whatevs. I liked this vignette. Bleak? Sure, so are the 'burbs. And so are people knifing comments out like the above, too. Was dude couched in his privilege? For sure.

But, really, more importantly: RAZORS. Whyyyyy are they so expensive?


It's not even the topic that's the problem. The writing is not good. I can handle reading about a shitty person (I read and quite enjoyed American Psycho, although I was in high school at the time...) This was lazy, self-indulgent, thesis-less, and structureless.

I just don't know where the standards are for internet publications. I don't do much writing, but when I have, I've gotten the shit edited out of me. And I think that's good for writers. Just because you have an idea and think it would make a good article, doesn't mean you should go and publish it. Learn to edit your work and throw it out if nothing comes of it.

I know The Hairpin is supposed to be a happy, friendly place where nobody says anything negative, but at what point does that just shelter and cultivate mediocrity?


@TheGenYgirl Yeah, no kidding. This article is completely devoid of content. I also find it incredibly tacky that one of the editors of this site posted a bitchy gif in response to a criticism.


@TheGenYgirl It used to be a place for good debate! Then they let the comment sections drive the content, and then the best editors/writers left, and then...well, thus is the way with any website I've ever read. Actually, minus 'The Awl', probably because their comments section is always dry as a desert, which I like.


People without a chair when the music stopped didn't end up in suburban San Diego, which sounds like a pretty regular and not-that-terrible place to live.


@muddgirl Yeah, many of them wound up in the rural South, or bankrupt Central CA towns, for just 2 examples. Many wound up with no home at all to live in, so hopefully this dude will excuse my having no sympathy for him and his used BMW and too-large home.


@Jinxie Maybe I just over-explained the joke? Although then we're just laughing at someone who's likely depressed.


Sounds like a real peach, this guy. I mean, I get how much it sucks to be stuck, against your will, in Darkest Suburbia but jeeeesh.


Really disdainful of healthy, BMW-driving, iPhone-toting, planned-community denizen. Read the story expecting something of value to "happen" to this dullard. Proof that not having any real problems makes one insane.


wait she's trolling us now right? After a "Sarah Miller only writes about hating things" comment she literally just wrote a blog post about someone who hates everything?

cordovan sofa

"It looks like 14 million people could get their car fixed there at once, doesn’t it? But I don’t know what really goes on there."

I hope someone follows this up, because I am now curious what is going on in there.


This was just depressing. See a therapist?


I can actually feel for this man. I have always been passionate about my work. But now I am stuck in a job situation where the only way to avoid driving myself crazy with frustration is thinking "Whatever". Sad. (Yes, looking for a better job,)


Mixed feelings here. Like Shush I can identify. But crying a river gets less sympathy from Yours Truly when you're leaning out the window of your BMW so as to avoid getting salt marks on the upholstery.

Pipi Longstocking

@Thick_Layer_of_Organic_Matter Yes, but to me that is why this is great. This piece is not asking for sympathy or 'crying a river.' It is not competing to have the most depressing, compelling sob story worthy of our attention (there's Upworthy for that, gag.) It just says "hey, sometimes everything is perfectly fine but I feel like it all just fucking sucks and so what." I also love me a good acidic tone!


my best friend's mother-in-law makes $86 an hour on the laptop. She has been out of work for ten months but last month her paycheck was $15291 just working on the laptop for a few hours. look here,...WWW.JUMP85.COM

Tran Tran

I just don't know where the standards are for internet publications. I don't do much writing, but when I have, I've gotten the shit edited out of me.cocktail ngon nhất And I think that's good for writers. Just because you have an idea and think it would make a good article, doesn't mean you should go and publish it. Learn to edit your work and throw it out if nothing comes of it.


My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can't believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do, www.Best96.com


I would also like to note that San Marcos isn't even really San Diego. It's about 45 minutes north from all of the nice, fun parts. If you're in the city of San Diego, or even some of East County it's great and not hellish at all.

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