After much aggravation and heartache, I made my leave of SoCal. While I am thankful that I did spend some time there, obviously it was not a good fit for me.
Before leaving South Carolina, I sold a truck to an individual that turned out to be from California. I had mentioned to him that I was planning to move to the L.A. area fairly soon, to which he encouraged me to try “anywhere north of Bakersfield”. While I did not listen to him at the time, his words have been ringing in my head lately. After all of the bad luck I’ve had there, I figure he may have been right.
My drive up to Berkeley was stressful. Between not having confidence in my car making it due to the makeshift mechanical work and simply never having been in the area before, I found myself overwhelmed with thought. About halfway through, I had to turn my laptop on to have the movie “Moneyball” to turn my attention elsewhere. Sadly, I’ve seen the movie so many times, I can recite it line for line.
It took me two days to drive to Berkeley, as I had stopped at a rest stop to sleep. Due to the new drugs I’ve been on, I can sleep through most anything now and even went thirteen and a half hours a few days ago. When I arrived around 2:30 in the afternoon, it had been raining all day and was going to continue raining for the rest of the day. I was able to locate the local library and camped out there until closing.
During my drive through the town, I noticed that the town was unlike anything I’ve seen before. For a town with as many people as there are, the number of stores and restaurants seemed to be minimal. Hell, there isn’t even a Del Taco here, and there’s practically one on every block in Orange County. I found the local Trader Joe’s, my first time in one of their locations, and was disappointed with the selection compared to a more traditional supermarket. Afterwards, I located a Safeway, the first one I had seen in California to this point, and was immediately alarmed by their high prices. Thank God I have SNAP benefits.
This morning, I found my first McDonald’s here. Although people had warned me about everything being more expensive, this finally snapped me awake to the notion. I was also perplexed at the fact that a McGriddle meal was less expensive than the regular biscuit counterpart. Traditionally it has been the opposite.
The remainder of the morning was spent completing an intake for a homeless program and was advised that they will be able to do very little for me beyond offering me a place at an extended stay shelter. As I have said in a previous blog, homeless people often detest shelters, and based on my one stay, I can understand why. Besides, I’ll probably be more comfortable in my car.
Social Services was my next stop. Because I now reside in Alameda County, I needed to transfer over my cases for MediCal and SNAP. The wait was roughly twenty minutes and was pretty simple, although had I been there for an initial intake or for them to redetermine my benefits, I would likely have been there all day. I listened to a black woman complain about being there all day and was finally seen shortly before I was. She was pretty cute and I wish I’d asked for her number.
Finally, I had to visit Walmart for a belt and a garment bag. Unfortunately for me, when I last visited the gym, I forgot my belt out of the locker. I also needed to cover my suit from the odors one could expect in a car being lived in. After spending twenty minutes running around the store looking for a belt, I checked out and went back to my car. Before I got to my car, however, I remembered the garment bag, which forced me to look around the store for one and stand in another long line.
When I made it back to the car, I opened up the garment bag and immediately ripped off the zipper without effort. Angry about the cheap quality of the merchandise I had just purchased, I went in to return it. The line to the service desk was thirty minutes long, and the service desk clerk was an absolute bitch. Afterwards, I went and found another garment bag and then stood in yet another long line to purchase it. Of course, the zipper on this bag would break in the same way as the previous and leave me with no choice but to stand in another long line. Of course, the woman who was a bitch to me last time had to make some smartass comments to the clerk who assisted me this time around. I was smart enough to get the replacement bag before standing in the service desk line and lucky enough to not break the zipper this time around.
I hate that fucking Walmart, and although I would ordinarily write a blog specifically related to my experience, I’m too lazy and am instead just going to advise you not to go there and add it to Not-So-Secret Shopper.
I’ll mention as a sidebar that it was after this lousy Walmart experience that I learned that the company will be laying off 1,000 people from corporate positions. I happen to know one person who I hope this will affect. I’m talking to you, Aaron Baxter. Go fuck yourself.
So now I wait to see what happens next in my life, and I will update you as I’m able.