Turning Into an OC’er

1 Dec

I met up with a longtime friend the other day. She glanced at me and said, “You look so Orange County.” Normally, I would have showed up in a t-shirt with some political image or slogan, jeans, and sneakers with my hair pulled into a ponytail. But because I met her right after work, I was in slacks, a blouse, cardigan, and flats. I also recently got a much-needed haircut at an actual salon, after several years of $10 trims in Chinatown. It probably didn’t help that I had her come to South Coast Plaza, the end-all-be-all of shopping destinations in Orange County, with an ALDO shopping bag in hand (I bought a cute pair of ankle boots on sale).

My OC look is indicative of the slower, more sheltered life I now lead, where appearance matters more than comfort. I no longer walk up 7 flights of stairs to get to work, nor need to move boxes or sort through papers on the office floor. I no longer rush to meetings in the evenings, running to catch BART or charging up the hills of San Francisco. I rarely walk alone late at night anymore, making sure I can get away easily if needed and not displaying anything that might prompt unwanted attention.

Every day I drive and take the commuter train to work, where I’m generally only expected to go to meetings or sit at my desk. Where it’s more relevant to look professional than be ready for anything. At home in the evening, I park the car in our carport and make dinner with my partner. Maybe we’ll go for a walk or watch a video. That’s it.

This is what I wanted when I moved. Reasonable work hours and time to enjoy being with my partner. But what I wasn’t prepared for is that I myself have slowed down. Removed from a Bay Area environment with many active people doing all kinds of interesting things all hours of the day, I now find myself wanting to spend a lot of time sleeping, playing Rock Band on Xbox, and seeing what’s new at the 99 cent store across the street.

I fervently avoid anything that challenges or pushes me mentally, emotionally, or physically. I don’t put effort into meeting people or making friends. My brain is slowing down and I don’t do anything about it except play Sudoku on my iphone. When contemplating recently whether to watch The King’s Speech or maybe Black Swan, I opted for Rush Hour.

Not only do I look more OC, I act more OC. I’m ambivalent about political issues, I prioritize indulging in superficial pleasures (hello ALDO), and I don’t feel the need to get involved with anything or connect with anyone besides my boyfriend.

A friend of mine recently went through a period where she dropped most of her activities and focused on spending time with herself and being at home. She called it “cocooning”. I like that term, but it implies that at the end of this reflective break, you’ll come out with something new and beautiful to show for it. I’m afraid that what I’m doing is more like “hibernating”, where I just eat a lot and be sluggish. Butterfly or bear? I’ll let you know what happens in the spring.

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6 Responses to “Turning Into an OC’er”

  1. Tanya Mote December 1, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

    Hey – they say that moving, changing jobs , moving in with your partner (even though this is somehting you really wanted) – are big transitions and some of the most stressful things you can do….maybe cocooning is also a form of coping – the Universe will shift again and you will know what to do

    • cil1977 December 2, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

      Thank you, Tanya! It’s a good reminder that shifts and changes don’t have to be permanent, and that things will always shift again.

  2. vietnamita December 2, 2011 at 9:06 am #

    I am coming to visit you, priscilla-bear, and i can’t wait to play rock band with you and cocoon together! (i’ll be in Irvine Dec 20-30, to celebrate my parents’ 35th year anniversary.) while i’m there, I would love to see you!

    • cil1977 December 2, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

      Yay! Yes! I’d love to see you, and thank you for not judging me for my OC ways. I leave town on the 27th, so it would be great to see during the first half of your visit. Keep me posted on your plans!

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