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35. Sugar Coating On A Bitter Pill

Updated: Oct 24, 2020

And so my 72 month stay in California was inexorably winding towards its' end. But why did I start to literally count down the months to leaving? Wasn't this supposed to be the golden land of opportunity? Despite the abundance of work and 300 days a year of sunshine we had some undeniable issues with the environment. It had become apparent by then that I was right in the belly of the techno-beast and I had no desire to regard people as users.

First we discovered that we were unable to live where we wanted to near the coast due to the high cost of rent and the lack of jobs in the coastal communities. We also considered San Francisco but this proved unrealistic due to the transformation of the city to an ultra high priced tech hub. We adapted to these limitations and moved to Silicon Valley where there were plenty of jobs but the rents were still incredibly high and wherever we could afford to live offered little or no privacy. There was no private outdoor space, and since the walls lacked insulation due to the warm climate, they were incredibly thin and you could hear everything going on in the apartments above, below and on all sides of you. The air was polluted on some days due to being enclosed by the valley, and I learned to never drink water out of a tap because of groundwater pollution that had occurred during the early days of microchip manufacturing. On top of that, we dealt with drought, and never ate seafood from the Pacific because of radiation concerns due to the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Since the local emphasis was on technology, it couldn't compare with our prior social, cultural and artistic environments on both the east and west coasts. Commuting home after work was usually at least an hour and a half drive due to highway congestion, and it wasn't getting any easier due to the continuous construction and development that was occurring on every available inch of real estate. You get the picture.

I discovered that every time I tried to talk to anyone about any difficulty whatsoever, the inevitable response was, "Yeah, but the weather's great." This response was so universal that I finally came to feel that if you described the worst tragedy imaginable the inevitable response would be, "Yeah, but the weather's great." And so I came to view the weather as a sugar coating on a bitter pill. Some day I hope to remember where I got the "sugar coating..." phrase from because it sure fit the situation and I'd like to give credit to it's author.

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