Jeff Smith 2 p.m., Dec. 9
I am surrounded by papers and books at 10:30 at night. I am trying to concentrate on writing a rhetorical masterpiece on the financial recession of 2008 that will hopefully get me an A in my freshman rhetoric and writing class at San Diego State University. But like any regular college student, procrastination reigns king so I haven’t even started it yet. But first and foremost I am a regular teenager, and like any regular teenager, getting away from home after high school ends is the ultimate goal. Unfortunately I am stuck at home, in the suburbs of the South Bay. I am stranded in a void of normal, plain, and mundane. Needless to say, patience isn’t a talent of mine.
The ever expanding area of East Chula Vista has opened doors to six schools in the past decade or so, to accommodate the ever popular image of American suburbia. Hallways of white walls line each school in the exact same fashion. Star Bucks are within walking distance of each other. Large warehouse stores, such as Wal-Mart and Costco fill family pantries for the week. The Otay Ranch Mall, the hub of all teenager life, is at the center of this suburban poster child of a community. The parking spaces of this community are made extra large for mom’s minivan and that kid who just got his driver license who doesn’t quite know how to park yet. It is the not so cool younger sibling of the Southern California image that popular TV shows portray.
It’s like Wally and the Beaver had an upgrade to the 21st century, bringing along the uninspired and colorless life of black and white. This is why everyone who graduates jumps in a car or a plane and tries to get as far away as possible, only to come back home during the holidays. During my last year at Eastlake high school, my peers and I discussed dreams of living on our own, away from our parents and each other- away from everything we knew. We wanted to find ourselves in the world. The books and lessons of those small overcrowded classrooms could only teach us about it but could not possibly allow us to truly understand what is out there. This place was the epitome of a love-hate relationship. I loved it, because it was my home for four years of my life. I hated it, because it walked the slim, sometimes questionable line between a family friendly community and a prison.
Now that I am out of high school and still here, that cliché graduation speech that I heard last June at Southwestern College is replaying in the back of my head . It is filled with over used quotes of “we are on the threshold of our future” and “the world is our oyster”. But I am trapped in the place of my past, looking in on my future. If finding who I am is like looking for a needle in a haystack then I am searching in a place where I have already looked. If my life were a tapestry, then it would be white- the only color I have ever known. It is the color of the walls that surround me and the paper I write on. If I were a book then I would have too many pages but not enough ink. If my past was my pen, then it is quickly running dry.
After writing the introduction to that rhetorical masterpiece I got a serious case of writer’s block. So I stopped writing and checked my Facebook, it is filled with status updates of the summer weather and studying for finals, but most of all the anxieties and joys of the school year ending. As the semester ends, my homesick friends start to trickle in from all the corners of the country. Their eyes light up when they see the slightly older faces of childhood friends, the fields of Sunset View Park, and the streets of Eastlake Greens that are lined with the familiar homogeneous cookie-cutter houses. It makes me wonder if they ever close their eyes, and click their heels together, and whisper the timeless line of “there is no place like home”. Their happy eyes make me believe that there might be a vast world out there to explore but there is only one place where I can call home. The quintessential suburban vice grip of boredom and motherly love known as San Diego’s South Bay is my home. Like any normal family, we might fight and test eachother's patience but I know this is my home, where I will always be welcomed with open arms. But until it is my chance to explore the world, my couch diving ventures and Coinstar trips will never cease. But maybe my prayers will be answered and the federal government will decide to bail out a poor college student for a change.