The Walls Are Closing In

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.


When I was at SDSU (I graduated in 1984), I had my own apartment for awhile. I worked at the Welfare Department and took classes at night. It was the lonliest most dismal time of my life. Once I'd taken all of the classes I could at night, I had a choice to make. I'd have to quit school or quit my job so I could finish my degree with classes only given in the daytime. I figured I'd never regret getting my degree, so I moved back in with my parents which I thought was the equivalent of being condemned to hell.

Now, I'm 52. My dad is dead and my mom is out of touch. My home is at risk, my husband can't get a job (he's 61) and he's just made it to to finish line. He's qualified for Social Security but he has to take much less than if he'd waited until he was 65.

My daydreams include thoughts of living back home in the safety and security of my "rotten" parents who at least never let me fall. I never wanted for anything. As I've gotten older and experienced the Great Recession, I have wanted for much. What I wouldn't give to be back in my room, with nothing more serious to worry about than writing essays and hoping to graduate.

It gets much worse, my dear. Cancer lies ahead, if not for you, than someone you love. Poverty, gray hair and wrinkles, kids that don't love you--the works. And in conclusion, my trips to Coinstar have increased significantly since I turned fifty.

Appreciate what you've got. Kids in Africa are starving. They'd love to be in your shoes because they don't have any. They don't even have the luxury of boredom. So appreciate the good life. It won't last long enough, believe me.

P.S. I love your blog entry, regardless of your ingratitude.

May 25, 2011

That doesn't sound like ingratitude to me. I re-read it and it just sounds like a desire to explore a bit. Perfectly normal. I too graduated from SDSU in 1984, but it took me 9 years after high school before I enrolled. Before that, I had gone to auto mechanic's trade school, worked paycheck to paycheck, lived in apartments, joined the Army, (for the GI Bill benefits). Only then was I able to start SDSU. I agree with the writer's feeling of ennui (see, I graduated). He, or she, doesn't need to go far, just away from home. I wish them well. But don't give up on that degree, especially from SDSU. I got my best job, with travel, 15 years after college. And I wouldn't have gotten it without the degree. I suppose, if my parents had lived in San Diego county instead of Michigan, I might have gotten it a bit sooner, while living at home.

May 26, 2011

Thank you for your thoughts. Trust me I do apperciate what I have, as I expressed the value of my home at the end of the piece. If that came off as ungrateful or not, then those were not my intentions.

Nevertheless I really hope things turn for you.

May 25, 2011

how'd the paper turn out?

... having gone to a local school where my family was/is (brothers attended and mother works there) 'escaping' home never really happens. . . because home will always be home. and it will always be there when you need or want it and even when you dont.

May 26, 2011

i see ur a nubie

and whether ur a teenage daydreamer or not i hope u'll keep bringing ur ennui and post teenager angst to us here at the Reader

it is always thus for the intellectual with time on their hands to find the ordinary day to day activities of society mundane

but there is beauty and worthiness in the day...don't wait for it to come to u...go to it...nature is just around the corner or only a few miles away sometimes

running or even long walks can turn ur head off and open ur eyes to another more pleasant slightly different reality

my best ;-D

May 26, 2011

i knew it!!! i knew this would win for May. i just didn't want to jinx your chances.

Aaaand, Congratulations!

June 6, 2011

Sign in to comment

Sign in