“According to the America Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), ‘Racial Profiling’ refers to the discriminatory practice by law enforcement officials [and yours truly] of targeting individuals for suspicion of crimes [such as shallowness] based on the individual’s race, ethnicity, religion, or national origin.” – Wikipedia [mangled].
It’ll be good to get this out of the way, cos’, I’m sorry, this is probably going to offend you. Piss you off even. I’m gonna’ generalize, talk politics, gender, nationalistic tendencies, and possibly religion.
Last election, I was not American. I was married to one, am still married to the one I met during the last Bush’s reign. Back then, the world hated America and I hated consumerism (don’t look too deep–I was buyin’ plenty) and Hollywood. I didn’t understand why people talked at the speed they do here. It was a tough time to be sold on moving to not just America–I probably would’ve swooned over San Francisco, Monterrey or Seattle–but Los Angeles, the representative kingdom of every human behavior I abhorred, the armpit of burgeoning things in my mind and body I just didn’t want growing.
But lust has always pushed me into dubious situations. So I said, “Yes, I’ll move to LA for you, lover of my loins, child of my projections.” I moved from my New Zealand hamlet to not just LA, but freaking Santa Monica. I started courting every Los Angelean who fit my target audience profile (I was working for the NZ tourism board), even went to the Oscars (psst…I held Johnny Depp’s hand and told him, “I just think you’re…lovely”), the Hollywood Bowl, ate crappy roadside food and drank too many Starbucks. I also grew to fear the 405 freeway.
I woke up ten years later having birthed two girl babies and chosen to remain in SoCal (hand to mouth, squeal of provincial feminist disappointment), the place I feared most for the de-evolution of female minds and bodies, the loss of sisters marching toward freedom, so busy are they with body image issues and a disturbing lack of independent thought.
Wait, I wasn’t feelin’ it, my hatred and fear of what might happen to me and my girls. Something had happened–I’d developed a frenzied and devout appreciation for In-N-Out Burger, your national park system, farmer’s markets, and Peet’s Coffee.
Filter coffee, highlights, yoga pants, and the next president swept my heart up and crushed my will to judge. I danced and cried the night Barack Obama was elected, swearing I’d be around for the next election to help my compadres in what would surely be a tough fight.
You know what I love about y’all?
- You are shameless celebrators–of sport, beliefs, Halloween, Purim, other people’s festivals, your own random shit, independence, and more. Decorations collapse attics and bring down eaves, yet still, people sing, laugh, hold block parties, and embrace. Hardly anyone is hugging because they’re so wasted they can’t stand or want to get a leg over (well, maybe still that).
- You’re willing to try hard for things; you’re not ashamed to voice it and go for it.
- You’re moderate on the booze (compared to my binge-drinking antipodean experiences. I mean whole towns drinking in backyards, pubs, and clubs from after work on Thursday ‘til Sunday, not even stopping for church as I recall).
- “Fuck the Tall Poppy Syndrome!” say ye all.
- A big spiritual heart
- Into truth telling
- People are way into working hard and giving away a shitload of it, in time and moolah.
- And what about them mountains? Oh. My. God. The mountains. I like the added edge of potentially running into a bloody great bear or rattlesnake. It only heightens my wilderness experience (for someone with a 20-year phobia of cockroaches to shrug and pop preteen brown widows between her fingers).
Thank you, Southern California, for the wake-up. I bow to each of you, my teachers. I am humbled by this lesson in love and acceptance.
Parting tip: Cut your hair, girls. Go on! Feel that freedom! Who needs foot long hair?
Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/z5juYzSHGKI