The dry, golden landscape stretched out to the horizon like a sour note. Before my first visit here Redding was formless, a concept that held no people, values or history. It simply was a destination, one where I would relocate my life to in total.
That’s not entirely true.
Redding was a map location in the PC game Fallout 2. And I played that game set in a post-apocalyptic landscape with its two-headed cows and mutant scorpions, where roving bands of raiders carried chains and knives, safe in my assumption that it was all make believe.
Imagine my surprise.
Okay, the real Redding is not a desolate place to live. There are giant bugs here though, Fallout 2 got that part right. I’m working and writing words here and maybe killing a few bugs here and there.
I’ve gotten used to the 105 degree weather now. There are days when it is only 100 degrees and the sun does not throw its weight around and we are all thankful for these breaks in the onslaught of heat.
I’ve been pronouncing Redding slowly for family and friends. I reassure them with, “It’s only about three hours north of Sacramento!” It’s as far away as one can get from Los Angeles while still holding on to the same driver’s license.
The name ‘Los Angeles’ is a toxic word up here. I introduce myself and feel the word hang in the air like a lead balloon.
There’s a definite adjustment period.
I’m tempted to start throwing out stereotypes, labeling the city X or Y, but I know that’s not fair. I can make observations and those are simply thoughts that have found their way to the keyboard.
* Redding is not without culture. It’s the American culture personified. It’s a heavy drink to get down, because there is little dilution to be found. Chinese or Spanish words are rare, but when I do hear them they float among the drawn out vowels and drawls.
* North State is not without Mexican influences, but they are found in neon painted restaurants, attempting to invoke some Baja California lifestyle motif. ‘I Heart Margaritas’ is the most Chicano art I have seen so far. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough. Maybe all the Latinos hang out somewhere else or shop at another store.
* I’ve seen more Monster Energy Drink car decals on the sides of lifted trucks than I care to count.
And why not? People gotta know a person’s energy drink preference. There is no waiting with bated breath to know how this person gets caffeine into their body – they’ve stated so on the side of their vehicle.
“What’s that son? A Red Bull? In this house we drink Monster!”
“Yeah Jim, I’m trying to quit the Monster. Switching over to Rockstar, doctor’s orders.”
Expect a change of scenery in this here photo blog. I’m calling Redding home for the time being. I apologize if you put faith in me documenting the Los Angeles landscape. Interpret this as a long detour. Shasta County is beautiful country, so something good will come out of this.