Thursday, August 25, 2005
I'm somewhat restricted in my time and access to the wonderful computing machine that gives me life and gives my life meaning today, so forgive me if I'm a little off. There are people here. Visiting people. Instead of visiting with them, I'm here with you, so I'm a little relieved to know that my complete lack of social acumen is still intact. At least to the extent that something that doesn't exist can be "intact".
See, I told you I was distracted. I had planned a long, gruesome recreation of my anniversary evening out with my wife in complete, all encompassing, almost pornographic detail, but I just don't have the time or focus to give it the effort it deserves. Besides, now that I think about it, the pornographic details of my chile verde plate with rice and beans probably wouldn't be as interesting as it seemed last night. But then, everything seems interesting four or five margaritas along. It was some good fucking chile verde, though.
Today instead I'm going to let the focus shift from my home county of Riverside and let the spotlight shine on the glory-hogging vast emptiness that is our neighbor county, San Bernardino.
Someone somewhere at some time decided that our general region, the wide-open desert and semi-desert swath between he mountains and the state-line "the Inland Empire". I don't know why. All I know is the several applications I've sent to the County Board of Supervisors for the position of Inland Emperor have gone completely unresponded-to.
Just to give you all an idea, here's a map:
That's San Bernardino county in obvious, slutty red. Just underneath it, the longish, colorless one being crushed by SB's morbidly obese geographical mass is Riverside County, home of suburban sprawl, wild thundering herds of giant tortoises and Pops' Bucket Global Headquarters. San Bernardino likes to brag that they are the largest county in the contiguous 48 United States. That is, it is physically the largest. As counties go, San Bernardino is the Canada of California counties: a vast majority of the population is huddled around the southern border. The main difference between SB and Canada is that instead of the majority of the land being a completely useless expanse of permafrost, grizzly bears and frozen prehistoric bacteria waiting to be released to kill us all in a biblical plague, San Bernardino's land is mostly a furnace-blasted hellscape peopled almost exclusively by roaming packs of semi-intelligent lizard-men who hunt and kill what humans they can find so they might drink their blood in lieu of water, a substance totally foreign to that part of the world and that they worship as a mythical god.
Of course it goes without saying that any wide-open space in this country with limited motor vehicle access for, say, police to get around on means meth labs as well. As a region, it's what we do. We used to do oranges. The rumor is that most of the citrus industry packed up and moved to Florida, but I suspect the people out this way just got bored with it. The likelihood of either a) blowing yourself up in your 15x10 all-aluminum camper while cooking up a batch of your main export product and/or b) being cut down in a hail of bullets from a police helicopter is almost impossible when you're growing limes or grapefruit. Meth is so much more exciting.
The reason I've chosen to highlight San Bernardino is that the poor bastards almost never get mentioned in the news. All the good stuff like mulitple murders or illegal immigrants cooking to death packed into a panel van or a good race riot, they almost always happen here in Riverside rather than SB.
But this seems to be their week, so I'm giving them their due. First there was this runaway teen actress nobody ever heard of from San Bernardino County who ended up, just today, found safe. That's just San Bernardino's luck. It seemed like they were on the verge of a real national news sensation: pretty white girl in trouble. Looks like Greta van Susteren is going to have to stay in Aruba.
Also this week, the rumor is that President Bush is planning a visit to Rancho Cucamonga, in that part of SB County where everyone pretends they live in Pasadena, but don't. Again, bad luck for SB. If a president's going to visit, you want a star like Clinton or Reagan or something. What do they get? They get Squinty and his horrible, droning pro-war publicity tour. Five hours in the inland heat and smog waiting for the president to give the same canned speech he gave in Salt Lake City this week about how democracy is on the march and some other crap. I hope for their sake they get some of the veiled asides suggesting that that Cindy Sheehan is actually Moqtada al Sadr's little brother in drag, bent on destroying America from within by posing as the white grieving mother of a dead soldier.
It isn't much, but it's something. When you live in San Bernardino, you take what you can get. Any time spent not worrying about the lizard-people has got to be a welcome relief.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 4.6