I think it's safe to say that Jacob and I have officially gotten good at hanging out with each other in the OC.
The first few months of marriage were spent at our laptops looking around, saying, "What do you want to do?"
"I don't know, what do you want to do?"
"I don't know, there's nothing to do in the OC."
"Dammit. I miss LA!"
"I know, me too."
It all started with the 4th of July when noone wanted to hang out with us. Noone wanted to grill with us or see us in our bikini and speedo and go to the beach and prance around. Why, I wonder? Noone wanted to buy fireworks and light them up. Noone.
4th of July is a sad holiday to be alone.
We decided to make the best of it. We were determined to have fun on our first 4th of July as a married couple. So the first thing we did was get into the biggest fight we have had since tying the knot, complete with waving hands, the D word, rolling eyes, stomping off, getting space and canceling the whole thing.
Then we decided to be friends again and went to the beach. It was way too windy and cold and sandy, something Jacob realized as soon as he jumped into the ocean and ran out with a grin of alarming proportions. Yeah, all those other people in there, hon? Those are the crazies with insanely warm blood. If you were a southern california native, you'd know that.
We laid out on our towels shivering, getting sand in our Vernor's ginger ale and eating sandy Sweet Maui chips and unsuccessfully moving the umbrella in 12 different positions to thwart the wind. An hour and a half later, we decided to call it quits. I was wearing my navy blue swimsuit under an army green jersey spaghetti strap dress and the only thing Jacob had to offer me was this boxy white t-shirt with Chinese calligraphy and a dancing horse on the front. Important note: he took it from his Kansan grandmother's closet. The t-shirt collar came up my neck, the shoulders kept going when mine stopped, and it stopped short at my natural waist. The whole thing looked wrong.
Jacob on the other hand was wearing silky brown fisherman pants from Thailand and a retro button up light blue shirt with thick rimmed glasses. Earlier when we passed a Hare Krishna dude rattling a tambourine on the street corner, we both looked at each other and realized, umm, you look like a hare krishna dude, dude.
We went to the car and ate the rest of our snacks in the front seats. Then we rolled down the coast through the interconnected parking lots until we had to exit. We were quite proud that we had figured out how to cruise through all the state beach parking lots and find a bathroom with no line.
We proceeded to buy fireworks at a booth in the parking lot of Norm's. I detest Norm's because I have this very vivid memory of my brother's friend Chucky cutting into a steak late at night only to reveal fluorescent orange flesh. I kid you not. Well, Jacob luurves Norm's with a passion so we sat down for a piece of pie and coffee. And this is where my freak flag came out.
Ladies and gents, I lost it in the best way possible. I knew I looked like an idiot with a chinese grandma t-shirt, I had sand in my hair, we had at least 6 more hours to go of 4th of July celebration, and I was sitting with my hare krishna look alike partner in Norm's. I started tooling around. I began to sing, talk in strange voices, make up stories, and engage in inappropriate straw shenanigans. And at that moment, I realized I had come across something big, something crucial to the success of my mental sanity and emotional happiness here in the OC. It was the power to create fun when there's nothing to do--something I have long admired my friend Allie for being able to do but just thought she was like that because she grew up in Arkansas. I guess the OC is now my Arkansas.
The night proceeded. We stopped by the 99cents store across the street and bought a box of Tony Chachere's gumbo mix, El Pato hot sauce, and a book called Saints and Animals. We ran around our housing complex, we cut through the communal gardens and ran up the hill for a panoramic view of all the fireworks in the OC. Then we ran back down and cut through the communal garden only to have to pee really bad and well, I won't say any more about what happened to the arugula. Then we lit our fireworks, danced around, gave each other high fives, saw some leftover cheeseburgers in the trash and drove to In-N-Out for our 4th of July burger. We fell asleep utterly satisfied with our 4th of July.
So that's the secret folks... or is it still convoluted? The secret to the OC (sidenote: especially if you don't have money and can't shop) is treating it like the plains, the midwest, the upper peninsula, arkansas, any rural area if you will. You have to unhinge, fly the freak flag, and learn to be your own best friend, stand up comedian, dance partner, storyteller, and mischevious partner in crime. You've got to learn the art of tooling around.
As Allie's mother once said, "You're only bored, if you're boring."
Learn to not be boring and you will never be bored again.