Friday, July 02, 2004


"Now I know what it feels like to surprise yourself with apathy in the afternoon when you woke up in the morning believing you cared."
Andrea Seigel
Like The Red Panda

Just started reading this book by this first time author, although I've been visiting her site for a while. The fictional Plain Layne linked to it a ways back. I love that her blog heading is the first line of her book. I love her post from May 15, where she writes a hysterical backstory for the photo on the front of a cereal box. So far I am loving her book.

Ms. Seigel is so droll and irreverant it's difficult to believe that she grew up in Orange County, a place that conjurs, to my mind anyway, perfectly tan Barbie and Ken Stepford type people, who are completely devoid of funk or flavor. Droll is not a word I have ever in my memory used to describe anyone from Orange County. In her book she nails the description of the neighborhoods completely - most particularly her description of Woodbridge, a place I got lost in two Thanksgivings ago. In the midst of all that pastoral calm I had a complete anxiety attack because of the fucking sameness everywhere around me. It was disorienting and I thought I was going crazy.

All of my friends who've moved to South Orange County to raise children are on Prozac and everytime I venture down for a visit I know why. It's like a slowly creeping half life that takes place in tracts of homes where you can choose from one of five models, painted one of three colors, built around large strip malls where you can take the kids to see Shrek at the Megaplex Stadium 22 theater, go grocery shopping, hit Target and pilot your Suburban through Taco Bell (where you can conveniently purchase Pizza Hut Pizza for the kid that won't eat Mexican food) before heading home to make an Atkins friendly dinner for your husband who will be sliding the Lexxus up the driveway around 7pm.

And on weekends you all gather at the soccer or baseball field for the numerous games, where you chat with other parents and the social hierarchy of high school is recreated only now the competition is about whose husband makes the most money, who's sporting the latest Rolex, and whose kid is the most naturally athletic. Catty conversation still abounds, e.g. wondering if so and so has had lipo and/or a boob job, and did you hear that her husband got caught with a hooker on his last sales trip. On Sunday the family gathers at the Saddleback Church with 15,000 of your pastel tract home dwelling neighbors for a little fundamentalist Christian worship before you hit Denny's for grand slam breakfasts for all.

Since that has been my experience of life in the O.C. - I have to wonder that the vapid show by the same name is a huge hit, they pretty much hit all the marks although I don't think they've written in the humongous church scene - I can totally relate to Stella's experience growing up there (the book is about Stella) and the decision she makes.

I think if I had to go live down there it would really be the only viable option.

And you'll have to read the book to find out what I'm talking about.

No comments: