Notes from Santa Barbara, Day 2
- People act funny if you offer them assistance. While it’s completely normal to hold a door open for someone in the midwest, when you do it at the fancy grocery store here, strangers mistake you for an employee. I helped a woman reach some sugar from the top shelf of an aisle, and she said “Thank you so very much. That’s why I come here, the employees are just so nice.” I told her that I didn’t work there and she looked at me as though I had just stepped off another planet. I think she thought I was kidding.
- The shopping carts were deceivingly small at aforementioned store, and while I think it might be impossible to shop for more than a family of two with one of these carts, I also noticed a distinct lack of junk food. This may well have tied into the distinct lack of morbidly obese people in sweatpants shopping there. I’ve never felt like such a worthless fat bastard.
- There was a mild rainstorm that blew through here yesterday, thereby sending local news outlets into gravitas-laden fits of predictions of doom. I loved it. Almost as much as I love the fact that in this town? Well heeled women wear high heeled rain boots. I didn’t even know they MADE such things. I know what The Wife is getting for Valentines Day next. (Didn’t you know about this problem I have? Read about it here)
- Go into a Border’s book store in Goleta, California, and then go into a Border’s book store in Springfield, Missouri. Same store, same corporate ownership, same layout (sort of) and guess what? Working on two totally separate worlds. In Springfield, people will line up for (literally) days when Sarah Palin comes to a book signing (albeit at a Barnes & Noble), and both chains feature her book, Glenn Beck’s loony tome and other assorted conservative pundits prominently. In Goleta they still have a large section devoted to Obama love anthems with titles like “Obamanos!” which appeal to the Hispanic Democrat in all of us. Of course, it’s marketing and product placement. Palin would no sooner come to sign books in Santa Barbara as wrestle Barbara Walters in a jello-filled inflatable pool; she prefers to go rogue on friendly turf.
- Speaking of bookstores, I went into a locally owned shop that carries really cool kids books, and I noticed that their cell-phone use policy is Draconian and clear. They hate cell phone being used in their shop, a fact that you can’t help but notice due to the half dozen signs stating this position. I can respect that, but there were a few obnoxious high-end ladies who felt that those rules did not apply to them. This led to the cashiers getting surlier and glaring at said ladies while pointing to the signs. This did not, in any way, slow down the mobile yakkers. I was happy to pay for the book and get out of there before the whole thing escalated into violence and the ladies ordered their assistants to attack. From their phones.
- Next up? A day trip down to L.A. with a good friend who happens to be an author. I told him I want to watch him “work”. I hope his version of work includes cocktails and bullshitting with others because that would absolutely cement my desire to write full time. I’ll let you know.