July 13, 2004


Irvine is like a dream. Someone elseís dream, and not an altogether pleasant one. The kind of dream where youíre driving for an eon down a wide road lined with palm trees and on every side you see big boxes of buildings and you think, ďIt canít be another industrial parkĒ and it feels, yes, it feels like youíve driven for hours and you havenít gone anywhere at all, your tires skid on the slick asphalt and spin in place for eternity.

When I checked into the hotel, the woman pulled out their pathetic version of a map of the area. She drew a star to indicate the hotel, then she highlighted the major streets and circled four other places. ďThis is where youíll go. To shop.Ē She smiled. Sheíd circled four huge malls in four surrounding towns.

Yup. Irvine, far as I can tell, has no walking streets. No city life. No heart. Lots of big wide boulevards. Lots of enormous building complexes and inside of each, acres of cubicles each with a few pictures, a calendar maybe, some attempt to personalize the space. But inside that sea of eternal slippage, how can you?

Iím more homesick than Iíve been since, oh, age twelve when I went off to camp and bawled into the phone the first night away. I donít adore Los Angeles, but at least itís a real place, for better and for worse. And thatís where my men are. And my cats. And my life.

Can I go home now? This sucks.

Posted by Tamar at July 13, 2004 07:49 PM

Gawd, I remember that exact set of enotions when I was there 11 years ago,for -- of all things - a James Joyce conference. (I also recall saying at the time that Joyce would have taken one look at Irvine, as well as a conference full of post-structuralist claptrap, and broken out for the nearest pub.) What saved my sanity--and I recommend it to you -- wa frequent walks on the beach. Does your workday allow it?

Posted by: Chris at July 13, 2004 08:48 PM

I wish I could go to the beach. But I'm beat after a day of work. Can't drive that far. But I'm doing better tonight. A good night's sleep helped. And the hotel room is peaceful. Irvine still sucks, though.

Posted by: Tamar at July 14, 2004 10:09 PM

Hey, no dissing Orange County! We like it down here in stepford country, where all of the lawns are green and the housewives smiling...

Posted by: Ambre at July 18, 2004 11:51 PM