Monday, September 19, 2011
Woman on the Verge of Paradise: Slurpage
Thanks for joining me on the verge of Paradise, as a new chapter of my life unfolds. This series can be found in the Paradise button to the left. While I alter some details as I see fit, I do my best to remain true to place and time. Mojo really is my housemate's cat. How could I change that name? Enjoy.
Its sweetness lingers on my tongue with tingling peacefulness. I lean back on the black metal framed patio chair, the sun’s rays generously warming my face. Slowly sipping a chocolate chai frost freeze at Chico’s T. Fusion Café, I’m in paradise. I’ve come home.
Wait, something’s wrong, terribly tragically undeniably wrong. I stare at the bottom of my cup. It’s all gone. How did that happen? Focused on the wide green straw, I slurp with all my might. Then I slurp again. Fellow customers snap their heads to glare at me, clearly offended by my explosive slurpage. I don’t care and keep at it, determined to elicit just one more molecule of flavor. I come up short. Damnit. Life is no longer sweet.
Alas, the dichotomy of Paradise vexes my soul.
Graced by majestic trees, exotic flowers, and glistening bodies of water, it’s an attractive place. People smile with sincerity around here. While jogging yesterday, a car pulled up alongside me. The driver rolled down her window, shouting “Hi Robyn!” She’s a neighbor three doors down. Strangers offer smiles at Safeway. Home provides a peaceful sanctuary, except when Mojo pummels through my locked bedroom door at 3am, which occurs at least once weekly. It’s unusual to have such attention in the middle of the night, so I don’t mind. I’m appreciating a refreshing novelty of life in a tension-free house. Steven’s friendly and easy-going. Work is good too, despite the need to unexpectedly readjust my course shortly after I moved. I bounced back and like my job. Moreover, I no longer experience an intense frenzy due to traffic, crowds or life in general.
Beneath the surface, though, Paradise isn’t my home. With a population nearing 27,000 it is home to 54 registered sex offenders. Social ills run rampant, hitting extreme levels of poverty, homelessness, substance abuse and crimes of all sorts. Chico’s stats aren’t as alarming, but gang violence has plagued the campus community for years....to be continued