Out with the Old. In with the New.

Time is an illusion but those damn toys aren’t. If I ever step on another piece of random Lego in the middle of the night in sockless feet I might just shut myself in a room. With all the Lego. Build a wall Lego around me: (like Trump’s Mexican Wall) to keep people out. Short labor intensive people for whom these toys were all bought. With a peephole. I’ll take enough books in with me to last the duration and my Barbie and swimming pool set from the eighties to keep me company. I’ll probably get my weights and do some free weights so I can emerge from my self imposed exile. Stronger. Fitter. Like Linda Hamilton. And with the conviction to gather and dispose of all the bloody toys from Christmas’s past. Except my own: My Barbies, My teddy bears and my pink Rainbow Rabbit.
Heck, the kids wouldn’t even notice the clear out. They live online these days. In a kind of virtual reality where they primarily interact with their peers on line and drop out periodically to take care of their physical needs.¬† ¬†Like all others of their generation, my children are obsessed with their screens. The best brains at this apex of human civilisation has spawned a game called Slime Rancher. Where you spawn slimes. And yup, ranch them. On a planet far from Earth called the Far Far Range. Sigh.

I’m not worried about my kids nor do I censor them unless they’ve really pissed me off or trashed property. It’s a hopeless exercise. Their Dad was on his first computer at the age of ten. He was teaching himself to programme. Not to ranch slime but he dedicated himself to teaching himself mastery of¬†¬†an ancient¬†PDP-11 made by Digital Equipment Corporation and especially imported to New Zealand by his Dad who passed the Thirst for Knowledge gene onto his son and hopefully some of our kids. And hopefully they will eventually wind up employable despite the unfettered screen time.¬† Or we’ll all be successful Ranchers of Slime. They may never move out of home but the boys will stop peeing on the toilet seat at some stage. That is all I ask for. A clan of boys that can pee straight and girls who can ranch alongside the best of them.
Note here: (It’s actually Legos in Northern California. (We say “toemato” and the¬† rest of the world says “tomato”!
We’re special here in these parts. All Californians are a bit special. At the extreme end on everything. Aspirational. Extremely political. Always on the take. It suits me perfectly! I’m political, intense and interested in money. I guess it’s natural that California is such a singular entity. It’s a State of bounty and extremes. ¬†Fires don’t burn, they rage. We don’t have seasonal droughts, we have five year droughts. We don’t have standalone cities. We have¬†a Megalopolis that is Northern California stretching down through the sparsely populated San Joaquin Valley and meeting LA and the urban surrounds. LA is the most notoriously built out and sprawling urban area but here in the San Francisco Bay Area we’re well acquainted with this phenomenon.¬† San Francisco joined up with San Jose a long time ago which in turn has stretched up through Santa Clara County in the time we’ve been here. Resulting in a burgeoning population as everyone realises we’ve got the best weather over here on the East Bay. This side of the Bay Bridge used be called the “bedroom communities”, as in it’s where you slept and San Francisco or San Jose is where you lived. Now we’re a thriving popular destination in it’s own right. Thanks largely to having a reputation as a good school district and great access to Mt Diablo and cycling and walking trails.
Like the bigger cities, here where I live is also borderless,
Walnut Creek/DanvilleAlamoSan Ramon. The cities all run together. All around the Bay Area. It’s like living in one big doughnut shaped city.
To me growing up, in New Zealand. In a village, a city was a bunch of houses surrounding a business district with an industrial area public amenities like museums, a library and parks. A municipal area  and a mucky part of town where the comedians hold gigs and prostitutes ply their waxed wares and entertain the politicians. Roads running into the town and out but there are distinct borders to normal towns and cities beyond which is bare land to the horizon or a natural feature like a Mountain Range or the Sea.
Here in the Bay area, where the cities have all merged together, I live on the border of two of the above cities. I shit you not. The cities are divided down a road. On one side of the road the residents are zoned for one city and on the other side, just like a miracle or using platform 9 3/4’s you step into a neighboring city.

Surprisingly. This doesn’t preclude the existence of wildlife. We’ve encroached on their territory and they’ve responded by¬†taking up residence in pockets of undeveloped¬† urban areas. I am told on good authority we have a family of bobcats living within a mile. They’ve made their home in a neighborhood gully. I went walking Saturday morning with friends and we took our dogs. An EBMud (drains, water and infrastructure service ) Guy drove passed, stopped and wound his window down and warned us he’d just seen a coyote off a local road. He was really concerned and a really nice guy. He offered us his pepper spray. “I’m like, wait did this guy just show us a can of pepper spray, fuck! brilliant”! Meanwhile he’s telling us wasp spray is the next best thing to deter coyotes. We chat for a while about the local who is feeding up the¬†local predators¬†by trapping ground squirrels and leaving them out for the coyotes because he hates those gosh darn squirrels. Shaking our heads about the fate of the squirrels, me and the other Moms continue walking unperturbed by the possibility of encountering a coyote. No bobcats before breakfast today. Just good conversation and the anticipation of great coffee here on the foothills of Mt Diablo in the Far Far State.


Your local friendly bobcat. But do carry pepper spray just in case. The smaller size not the bear size. Wasp spray works just as well.


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